Voices From a Broken Window

by Jon Hughes

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released July 2, 2009

Dave Deane: drums
Caragh Rotherham: vocals


all rights reserved



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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Track Name: Named My Find
Named My Find

Everything I’ll tell you is a lie
So don’t listen closely.
Everything I’ll give you isn’t mine
So don’t be so grateful.

Darling, don’t be so kind,
Cause I’ve lost out this time.

Everything I’ll tell you is a lie
So don’t be so soulful.

...and the dawn carries words
on the wings of a bird
to a telephone line
from a place in your mind
where the best-selling brand
on the newspaper stand
is yourself through the eyes
of a history of lies.
Track Name: Better Than You (1996)
Better Than You (1996)


An old magician said he looked inside himself and he disappeared. His humanity gave me a reason to believe I could do the same; but old superstition made me come to understand all my thoughts as fears and gave me a reason to do everything I could to avoid myself. This is only saying, for your information, that I would never hope to be better than you. I hope this letter finds you better than I am, cause I would never hope to be better than you.

Track Name: Factory

Café humdrum
Hot radiator hum, good enough to be the sound of
Someone’s lullaby
Impressions of someone near,
Lost and lonelier than us.

He’s all louder than life—
Thumping through the speaker towers
Higher than I’ve ever felt and
First off worth more—
Fresh from the factory, sounds like they’re making
More than me.

Play it safe—say you didn’t see
That it was me who you were stepping on—
So who else were you stepping on?
Playing your game,
Until everybody feels the same.

The quiet space to dream,
The melody shop is closed—
“Noise manufactures noise, you know?”
“No, I don’t. Tell me something please,
That doesn’t make me feel so cold.”

Play it safe....
Track Name: Your Antique Parasol
Your Antique Parasol

Can I be heartbreak for a change?
Can I sing to the morning sun?
Can I be what the people want?
Can I dream of what’s already been done?

Should I be looking for a name
In the fashion magazines,
Should I be fashioning myself
Into the king of the popular scene?
Should I be background for a while
Until I’m breaking through the noise,
Should I be unoffending words?
Should I be someone else’s voice?

I could be the walking theme to your
Local shopping mall
But I’d rather be nothing at all.

Was I bought or was I found,
Was I a bargain shopper’s vice?
Was I cheap enough to take
Without the wager of a sacrifice?
Was I a coaster for a while
Until I made it to the floor?
Was I too rolled in dust to stick
To the loves you created before?

I could be the thin white skin of your antique parasol
But I’d rather be nothing at all.

Am I the after-afterthought
Of ever thought I have of you?
I’m only two degrees away
From being the first thing that I ever knew.
Can I be heartbreak for a change?
Can I sing to the morning sun?
Can I be everything you want?
Can I dream of what’s already been done?
Track Name: Bermuda, the Girl
Bermuda, the Girl

When I was passing time
Counting every sparrow contemplating crumbs
Next to you
And May bees were buzzing off
From carbon-coated flowers...

And after you passed your time
Sulking over coffee with some older man
Next to you,
You dropped me a serviette
Folded like a daisy.

And back in my darkened studio
I folded back the petals to a number and a name:
“Bermuda” the girl,
“Call me if you’re lonelier than me.”

And you were passing out,
Phone rings out for blue sky--sunshine let her be--
That was me...
And you were ringing out
Tones of desperation.

Sitting on the edge of your hard hospital bed
You hung your medicated head
With every shamed apology,
“Bermuda, the Girl,”
Sorry for the name she’s come to be.

And now all your friends are gone,
Dying in abandoned warehouses I’d haunt
With thoughts of you...
And I won’t see you soon
To hold you at your bedside
Or to wipe your filthy tears dry
Or to feed off your pollution,
Bermuda, the world
Is filled with creatures lonelier than you.
Track Name: 403

6 A.M. Door slam.
And it’s me walking up the stairs.
Murder’s written on the jamb
Of apartment number 403
The neighbors aren’t living here,
There’s nobody living here.
It’s me walking up the stairs
To apartment number 403.

And I know it could be nothing,
And I know it could be nothing at all.
Track Name: Found My Name
Found My Name

Saw her dancing in the hall
Through a hole in the bathroom wall.
I knew I’d be her favorite spy,
She was the hand and I was the eye,
‘Til she said something I overheard,
She could’ve said in fewer words,
“7:30, don’t be late.”
Don’t be anger, and don’t be hate...

She fell in love with a boy like me
Who couldn’t know what to believe,
He was writing some famous book
And all but my words is all that he took,
They took a train to New Mexico,
To the land of melted snow,
She promised never to return,
And she’d be sorry, I could be sure.

I bought a ticket to Amsterdam.
She said she’d be my only friend.
I’d return as my former self,
Still loving her as someone else.
And through the bathroom wall I’d see
A strange face looking back at me.
He said he’d like to tie me up,
So I’d disappear for both of us.

Made my way past the armored guards,
Through the gates to the House of Cards.
Behemoth said I could find him there,
Nestled in a corner chair,
And he said she was heaven sent,
He should’ve said an accident,
He should’ve said a vacancy,
But I was him and he was me.

Found my name on a ticket home
To Margarita’s stolen bones.
I could make them walk around,
Or dance a tap without a sound,
Until the door slam brings me back
Through the smoke of the whistle stacks,
To a murmur in the hall,
I hear her voice, I hear her call...
Track Name: A Future for the Day
A Future for the Day

Jukebox is playing the hits.
The tattoo-face who’s talking to his gin couldn’t resist
Strumming his guitar.
And down at the opposite end
A barstool statue shrinks to rest his head to still again,
Elbows on the bar.

And old stray is taking the heat,
Nestled on the broken factory stairs across the street
With nothing to be made.
I’ll say I was looking for peace.
Bottles with bucolic labels stand facing me,
A dream to kill the day...
The cameraman is focussed on Lillian White.
She’s looking rather famous, all smily and bright.
She talks about the things she’d like to do with her life,
But everybody wants something better to say
Than a future for the day.

Black sky’s crawling over the roof.
If he says rain then I’ll say creeping smoke
Smelling of booze, here to knock us out.
I’ll say I was looking for warmth.
Strangers at the corner table slump
In each other’s arms
And the other corner shouts,
And everybody knows what the noise is about...

An ambulance is crying for help,
Tearing past the window for a chance at anyone else
Too far off to hear.
I’ll say I was looking for hope.
The rusted through collection tin was left without a home
And found its way in here...
And the bourbon on the left says it’s greed we should fear,
And the whiskey on the right is all clouded in tears,
And the bartender is saying that the weather will pass,
The economists are saying that the money won’t last,
And the foreigners are saying that they’ve come here to stay,
And the nationals are saying that they’re stuck in their ways,
But everybody wants something better to say,
Than a future for the day.
Track Name: Sweet Negligence
Sweet Negligence

Out on the patio
Of some small midwestern home
Where the property is cheap,
In a part of town
Where the broken sidewalk runs
Along the cracked and broken streets,
And the cityscape
From the old museum tower
Is obfuscated by the heat.
And the neighbors sing
A song of hatred for the sun
In a broken harmony.

She writes a letter to God.
With every sincere compliment,
She says she’s still not happy here.
“So what do you want from me,
Sweet Negligence?”
The negative of Me.

Over the radio,
Over the hammer-falls on stone,
She hears a tired woodwind squeal
To a hygienic voice
Selling health or selling love
In a once-off package deal,
And the daylight falls
Without a reference to the source
Like a dimming memory,
And the summer sky
Is hanging open like a mouth.
She sees the stars fall out like teeth.

She writes a letter to God.
Track Name: Sans Lucia (1999)
Sans Lucia

Let’s go make some steak and eggs
And let’s sit in a soundproof room,
Watch our tired, inky shadows climb
All over the wallpaper like sea crabs, black and silver,
Your fingers like scissors.
Let’s share regrets for the things we’ve done
In the empty elevator shine
Along your painted figure’s swoon
Down under surface shadows like a goddess of the ocean
In an empty coral mountain.

Here I write and there you are,
Lucia, my darling, in your inky black stockings,
I draw you on paper.
Track Name: False, False Caroline
False, False Caroline

Someone made me think that
Your were like no other
Person I had ever seen,
Until someone told me
You were just another
Alcoholic drama queen.
And these words I took as truth,
Cause I knew him better than you
And what I called you wasn’t right...
False, false Caroline.

Then I saw you sitting
At the corner table
With a book I’d also read.
Then it came a sudden
Nauseated feeling
At the words that I had said;
Not because you stopped and stared,
But you were sitting in my chair.
No, I wasn’t right,
False, false Caroline.

Someone whom I’d never met,
He said that you had flown,
Or so I overheard.
Supping airport brandy
Alexanders I could
See the errors in my words.
In this issue unresolved
Was only one of us involved.
No, I wasn’t right
False, false Caroline.

So I’ll see you when I’m
Finished waiting for someone
To tell me something true.
Track Name: Over

Didn’t somebody say it was over?
Then why you still hanging around?
And you’ve shopped out all your secrets to every
Sleazebag in this town--
A circle that was drawn by you
In the shame of having nothing to do.

In every police car come creeping up by you
Is a dark and mysterious face, out of mind, out of place;
A cold heart to drag you down and out of the way.

And if there’s any hope of leaving here,
Than why you still hanging around?
And the eaves of every stop-shop are pouring down
Pitchers, all for you.
The barometer never bends
For the kid who doesn’t have any friends.

A dozen nebulous alarms play to the sound
Of the night becoming the night when it feels like the day,
The silence to put you down and out of the way.

Didn’t somebody say it was over?
Track Name: You're Not Here
You’re Not Here

Six o’clock, bells ring out
In a dream forgotten now
And all that’s left is the rooftop rouge
Of a sun just set from a sky still blue;
The colors mix and evanesce--
A figure first from head to chest--
And there you stand, the impression’s clear,
And I notice then that I’m still here.

Sixth of June, a corner house,
Memory rubs the rainclouds out,
And I will play, eternally,
A broken chord in a minor key
On a porch across the street,
Light rains down through the eaves,
And a dear old friend (he used to be)
Says, “Settle down, dream yourself away...”

Where chimneys take the sunset rouge
And bells ring out, ringing out the day...
And no one says with reason clear
It’s in my mind and you’re not here.

Don’t quite know what I’ve become,
Not quite proud of the things I’ve done,
I walk these streets all black with rain
And carry looks of remembered pain...
Knee high drifts, a snow-white moon,
A sleeping pill I took too soon,
A raven dons a magpie suit,
He sees me fall, he sees me drift away...

To future days of sunlit streets
And half-sung words, the words I couldn’t say...
And up to now, a different year,
The same dark day and you’re not here...

Six o’clock bells ring out
A figure stands at a corner house
With a face like mine, a younger year,
And I notice then
That I’m not here.
Track Name: February Found Me
February Found Me

Happiness can find me over Greenland
Sinking in a red wine hazy head,
Heavy with the memories of myself
With all of those people I called friends.
All the fishing boats are snowflakes melting
On the surface of the ocean, painted blue;
And all of the switchboard houses blinking
With all of the voices I once knew.

And the noise on the radio sings,
And the walls are listening...
When voices from a broken window call you,
Can you hear them?

February found me at your mercy
After January found me at my own,
Following the streetlamp chains to places
Void of any vestiges of homes.
Then one of the lamps began to flicker
Underneath the warehouse, painted blue;
And all of the windows filled with terror
In faces of the people I once knew.

And the noise on the radio sings,
And the walls are listening...
When voices from a broken window call me
I am the only one who hears them...