Looking At Life




Black & White World

The photographs are faded
The people are long gone
From the windy English beaches
Family weddings and so on
We try to freeze the moments
But they’re not what they seem
They drift from being real
To feeling like a dream

I remember the cars
I remember the clothes (and the girl)
I remember life
In a black and white world

TVs the size of houses
That always seemed to fail
Just as your favorite cowboy
Was about to hit the trail
Tomorrow was a promise
We hoped that time would keep
Any disappointment cured
By a good night’s sleep

I remember the cars
I remember the clothes (and the girl)
I remember life
In a black and white world

Fumbling under blouses
As only a young boy can
Desperately trying to make
The boy into a man
We grew up believing
Every oyster grew a pearl
I remember life
In a black and white world
I remember life
In a black and white world

Now the girl cries in the mirror
For everything life steals
Nothing that she sees
Matches what she feels
And no one takes your picture
Standing by the grave
There’s nothing of this moment
Anybody wants to save

I remember the cars
I remember the clothes (and the girl)
I remember life
In a black and white world

 

The Beautiful Prison

Did someone buy you flowers
On Valentine’s Day
Did someone say I love you
Then just walk away
It wasn’t me but I apologize
For all the games we play
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison

Were you told the path was easy
Looking like you do
Were you told the doors would open
Like magic for the few
It wasn’t me but I apologize
Some get more than they are due
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison

We serve our time
We don’t know how long
What was the crime
What did we do wrong
What did we do wrong

Did someone try to tell you
The roads are all dead ends
And the worst of enemies
Can arrive disguised as friends
It wasn’t me but I apologize
No time to make amends
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison

Think of all the times you promised
Your heart to anyone
Who’d give your tired body
A moment in the sun
It wasn’t me but I apologize
For all the damage done
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison

No bars of steel
Only bars of sky
To hold us here
Always asking why
Always asking why

Did someone buy you flowers
On Valentine’s Day
Did someone say I love you
Then just walk away
It wasn’t me but I apologize
For all the games we play
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison
In the beautiful…the beautiful prison

 

I Know You’re There

(CONVERSATIONEM MORTEM)

Call me a loser
I’ve heard it all before
You’re no better than that wolf
Howling at my door
Oh I…I know you’re there
But I just don’t care

Say what you will
They’re only words
I raise my hands and they
Scatter like birds
Oh I…I know you’re there
But I just don’t care

I don’t care for your stories
I don’t care if they’re true
I don’t live on past glories
I’m not you

Sticks and stones
You know the rest
Even your names
Are second best
Oh I…I know you’re there
But I just don’t care

Call me a failure
If it makes you feel good
Your anger’s not real
It don’t live in the blood
Oh I…I know you’re there
But I just don’t care

I thought that I was dying
Now I think that I might live
No use sitting and crying
I got more to give

Call me a fool
If that’s what it takes
But don’t think that makes up for
All of your mistakes
Oh I…I know you’re there
But I just don’t care

 

Looking At Life

Looking at life
Through the bottom of a glass
The painless way
To help time pass
More behind me than what lies ahead
Nothing to say that’s not been said
No fear of death when you’re already dead
And just looking at life

Looking at life
Where I used to live it
Whatever you want
I’m unable to give it
Once I might have won your heart
Maybe back there at the start
Long before the whole thing fell apart
And left us looking at life

Looking at life
In its cold gray eyes
No sign of fear
Or compromise
I can’t see things the way I’m told to do
No right or wrong just points of view
And the young see the old as if it’s the new
When they’re looking at life

Looking at life
Looking back at the arc
I don’t really care
If I left my mark
Through open fingers sand slips away
What is truly ours nobody can say
The desert talks it all back one day
You’re left looking at life

Looking at life
Through the bottom of a glass
The painless way
To help time pass
More behind me than what lies ahead
Nothing to say that’s not been said
No fear of death when you’re already dead
And just looking at life

Just looking at life
Just looking at life
Looking at life
Looking at life
Looking at life

 

Wishing Ground

I’m tired
I can’t tell you all the pain that I feel
All I know
(All I know)
Is this pain is real

I’m learning
Learning all the world’s give and takes
All I know
(All I know)
Is I made mistakes

Oh I’ll never
Learn what makes this world go round
All I know
(All I know)
Is the wishing ground

I’m listening
Listening to the dreams of the crowd
All I know
(All I know)
Is silence talks so loud

I remember
When love was not a tired word
All I know
(All I know)
The heart is quite absurd

Oh I’ll never
Learn what makes this world go round
All I know
(All I know)
Is the wishing ground

I’m walking
I’m walking where no feet have ever trod
All I know
(All I know)
Is I see no god

 

A Short Story

(For Raymond Carver, 1938 – 1988)

Black coffee and a shot of Jack
In the cup holder
A chip the size of the moon
On his shoulder
His foot down hard
On the floor of his pickup truck
Driving through the night
To anywhere with better luck

She gave the best years
Of her life to that loser
Regretting the very moment
He would see her and choose her
She knows she waited
Too long to walk away
Now she’s driving free
Into come what may

He’s a washed-up rock ‘n’ roller
She’s a one-time beauty queen
Now their faces are the roadmaps
To the sorrows that they’ve seen
Their windshield wipers wash away
The miles beneath their wheels
If you’ve never had a dream destroyed
You can’t know how it feels

They met where the freeway
Drops down to the street
At the corner of Hope and Baltimore
Was it always written
That these two should meet
And find what they were looking for
And find what they were looking for

They saw each other
A breath too late
Didn’t see the future
Crashing head-on with fate
Thrown like rag dolls
In the gutter they lay
Like lovers entwined
At the break of day

They met where the freeway
Drops down to the street
At the corner of Hope and Baltimore
Was it always written
That these two should meet
And find what they were looking for
And find what they were looking for

 

Never Came To Be

Like lonely pioneers
In the human zoo
We tried to find the limits
Of this thing called me and you
Were we just repeating
The same old midnight lies
The same old sordid story
I love you implies

Such a shame to see
It never came to be
Tell me are there times
When you think of me

I still see you sitting
On the wall by the school
Watching a teenage Romeo
Play the teenage fool
In the heat of the summer
Secrets were revealed
You and me making love
In a sun-drenched field

Such a shame to see
It never came to be
Tell me are there times
When you think of me

We moved in together
Ah…the perfect pair
That’s what everybody said
But everybody wasn’t there
A fortress made of flesh
Immune to attack
But once we looked outside
There was no going back

Such a shame to see
It never came to be
Tell me are there times
When you think of me

Is there a room in your mind
A door that I walk through
Do I visit you at times
You least expect me to

That winter in England
I see it so well
Each one of us trying
To put the other through hell
I remember living
Taking over from play
You and me growing up
But growing away

Such a shame to see
It never came to be
Tell me are there times
When you think of me
Tell me are there times
When you think of me

Clothed in all its glory
Or naked in the rain
I’ve seen life’s beauty frequently
Oh I cannot complain
Lonely nights – a few
But the crazy nights were many
But all these selfish thoughts
Well they’re not worth a penny

Such a shame to see
It never came to be
Tell me are there times
When you think of me
Tell me are there times
When you think of me

 

When The Money Runs Out

You walk a mile in another man’s shoes
When the money runs out
Every song you sing
It sounds like the blues
When the money runs out
Reality hits but it doesn’t hurt
No one knows what you’re laughing about
When the money runs out

You think of how it used to be
When the money runs out
You wonder how it all came so easily
When the money runs out
You had it good for far too long
Now you whisper you don’t shout
When the money runs out

It came and it went
It ran through your fingers
The memory lingers
Of breaking the rules
It came and it went
It flowed like a river
You were a giver
The Pied Piper of fools

You get to see who you really are
When the money runs out
It’s suddenly clear
You’ve not come very far
When the money runs out
You never stopped to think ahead
Never planned to do without
When the money runs out

When the money runs out
When the money runs out
It came and it went
It ran through your fingers
The memory lingers
Of breaking the rules
It came and it went
It flowed like a river
You were a giver
The Pied Piper of fools

Tired mask finally falls away
When the money runs out
Life is no longer a role you play
When the money runs out
But through it all you had her smile
True love is never in doubt
When the money runs out

 

The Empty Hours

Darkness steals all signs of light
Days give in to endless night
Sadness spreads like wild flowers
And we find ourselves here
In the empty hours

Nobody said it would go so fast
Seems that life is not designed to last
From dirty streets to ivory towers
We find ourselves here
In the empty hours

We loved and lost and loved again
The other women and the other men
Passions brief as summer showers
And we find ourselves here
In the empty hours

Looking back we can’t explain
Why we caused each other pain
Why love so sweet so often sours
And we find ourselves here
In the empty hours

All the hurt comes home at last
Dreams mistaken for the past
We hunger for what time devours
And we find ourselves here
In the empty hours

I cannot trust what I’ll say next
For reasons dark and so complex
The human heart gives up its powers
And we find ourselves here
In the empty hours

 

Wishing Ground 2

Instrumental

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