Voices From a Broken Window

by Jon Hughes

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1.
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.
2.
Better Than You (1996) Lucia, 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. Love, R
3.
04:39
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....
4.
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?
5.
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.
6.
03:46
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.
7.
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...
8.
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.
9.
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.
10.
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.
11.
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.
12.
04:40
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?
13.
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.
14.
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...

credits

released July 2, 2009

Dave Deane: drums
Caragh Rotherham: vocals

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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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