Roger White

by Jon Hughes

/
1.
I'll Be Here 06:10
When I hear the thunder in Fairmount in spring Roll again, the passing years like drops in the puddle I was stepping in– And the squalls of heavenward trampolined cats Spin and land, and little man, the laughter your body Could muster then. Now I'm here, the bus coughing dust on the sash– The hydaulics hiss–and the sky is green in my avatar's Distant view– And the sun sets on oblivion town, The mountains burn for the time when I would have settled For less than this. And back in the world, The remnants of the ones that I once chose To do without... I'll be here, or where and when you need. And if you're lost and broken then I'll be Where you are. When I cross the bridge we once cycled beneath I hear the words from your mouth–they tumble out clumsy And meaningless. You say it slow–you say it under your breath– That I am a fool, but you know you could have settled For less than this. I'll be here....
2.
Horn sounds off, the gridlock doesn't mind. Offer help, he comes back swinging wild. I was the boy, he was the clown, And I was holding in the laughter when he was Trying to knock me down. Fourteenth floor–you cut me out today. Glass reflects the harlequin display. You'll be the boy, I'll be the clown, And I hope I leave you laughing when I Leave you on the ground.
3.
Wolves in Taksim Square Saw their wounded prey Lumbering through. Circled and pounced upon And took more than they knew. Spent your swollen knees Chasing your stolen notebook, With a picture from your past. And the man in that photograph Could have won it back. Found you underfoot On horseback sitting tall– Dissolving in blue sky– Looking so self-assured; Young and full of pride. All these trails of blood Stagger through these streets, Drip down and osmose; And I know if I followed them I'd find you hobbling home.
4.
At Nelson's Ledge I'm looking over that chasmic edge. Autumn sunset gathers the darkness Within. A rustle below I offer a stone (I say 'hello'). From nowhere, my greeting comes echoing Home. I feel the dusk creep in And I feel alone again. Nothing's been lost or won. Nothing's been said or done. Oh, leave me unsung. I stand within, A supplicant bending to the light let in. Shining whitely–washes the granite like Bone. And overhead In a fissure of sky I stand instead. Eyes casting blank in the dark where I've been. Silence of dusk intones And I am again alone. Nothing's been lost or won. Nothing's been said or done. Oh, leave me unsung.
5.
Temple Cone 03:25
Telescope sees me dashing through The maple-broken evening sun. An engine from afar; Like the thrumming of my Sparrow heart, I can hear him coming. Skin and bone rolling in the dust, Stops along the roadside weeds. I see him setting down; Hands of mercy lift me From the ground–give me what I Needed. Bottle fly, contemplating glass, Crawls along the cracked-salt rim. The driver's side reflects, Sees me here and in this Way again; Will I be forgiven? Temple Cone sees me sitting there, Washed out in the bright sunshine, Looked for a friend; That's the way he saw me Way back when, and I won't Deny it. Am I here? Am I really here? Is it really fair to be Living through the words Of the one who saw me At my worst when I hadn't Seen it?
6.
I wake in panic with sounds of my own making; Look round for movement–the funeral bells still ringing. Feel through the darkness the stiffness slowly easing. I hear, in clearing, I hear my mother crying. Sun fell and Lansing was cold And reminded of the past I was anxious to go Where I would be washed of the stains of the Man you have known. A glass of water–I douse the fire inside me. Women who loved me–their names come soft and slowly. Headlights from motorbikes, they stretch across the ceiling; And all is ending, and the rain falls over Inchon. 1954, You were standing over me in that apron you wore– Generous eyes that I never had Noticed before. I see myself–hotel mirror wall– I'm waist-deep, mired in the sheets, squat-small; The ridges below–I'm above them when I hear Farewells imparted and done, And standing over you is your prodigal son; Apologies and good-bye songs that never were sung, And standing over you is your prodigal son. Standing over you is your prodigal son...
7.
Evenings in the garden. Watch me grapple the mendicant bull by the horn. And all those 40 dollar dinners, Now you've got me wondering what they were all for. Cause every time the movie is over, Every time I touch you you're turning away. Make another phone call to nowhere. Hear you talking, I know you've got nothing to say. You're dialling Arizona– Some acquaintance that you haven't talked to in years. I'd get a 40 dollar lover But that wouldn't resolve what is happening here. Cause every time the movie is ending, Every time I touch you you're turning away. Make another phone call to nowhere. Hear you talking I know you've got nothing to say.
8.
Was humming over some moonless black When old reservations came flocking back. I saw three pillars that would come crumbling down In some small venture you'd run into the ground. I saw reflected with light from the display My head there hanging as if by noose or chain. And in this stupor, it came, some broken thing, Five hundred miles per hour into the wing. Glows the cluster of city lights in the oblivion. Drops the needle altimeter to say the time has come. Beats the heart that I'm hearing now, it could be anyone. Two gelid planets looked down like porcine eyes In through my window, and into my mind. And all those questions I took with truth and pain; All human wonder and thought went down the drain. See the green of the kitchen chair–the navigation light. Hear the creak of the fuselage, I hear our daughter cry. Floating into the sea of dark, all of the echoes die.
9.
Take you everywhere in the world with me because I know you're mine...
10.
Leaden sky At evening time, Going down these side streets– Walking through this lonely town. Meet you there– Some corner bar– You're passing me an IPA, Dripping on the barroom floor. Say how you're looking back. Now, I see you're looking down. Glaucous sky At evening time, Going down these side streets– Walking through this dream-lit town.
11.
In the Rainbow Casino hotel room Where the black, vaudevillian mirrors reflect the gloom; Mr. Kim is downstairs in the lobby spinning time; And me, I'm looking out over the mountains with worry on my mind. And I hear her say, "I'm here, The color of your heart." And who she is is not clear; She won't fall away When I'm standing in the shadows Of my better self And when I turn to the greying sunset She won't let me go. See my soundless, ticking wristwatch passing days. Feel the pains that came and haven't gone away. See the once-familiar faces, they're all nameless now; All of those who believed in me and how I've let them down. And I hear her say, "I'm here, The color of your heart." And who she is is not clear; She won't fall away When I'm standing in the shadows Of my former self And when I turn to the greying sunset She won't let me go.

about

This album started with a name. From the name, I found the person, the story, and I was able to construct the life and the identity. Roger White does exist, and he would probably identify a lot of the references that I have made in each of these songs, though I have never met him, nor have I ever met anyone by that name.

I hope you enjoy.

Jon

credits

released September 28, 2012

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Jon Hughes: vocals, guitars, bass, piano, lap steel, mandolin, violin, harmonica, melodica, theremin
Kate Curran: trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Hannon: drums

Drums and bass recorded at Clay Castle Studios engineered by John Burke.

Mastered by Dave Downham at Gradwell House Recording Studios, NJ, USA.

Words spoken over the second verse of "Temple Cone" from Temple Cone's poem "Mercy".

Contact: jon@jonhughes.org

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Jon Hughes Ireland

American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Jon Hughes, has been based in Ireland since 2005. He has shared a stage with Damien Jurado, She Keeps Bees, and the legendary singer-songwriter, Buddy Mondlock.

Hughes' latest collection of songs, "Sunshine Remorse", was released in January of 2019.
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