Stations

Stations

I don’t know why, the lights, they never change
Been stood here far too long
It’s time to disengage

I don’t know why we’re better when it rains
I’m cold to your design
You’re cold to my embrace

I don’t know why I gravitate to loss
I feel too much inside
I cannot shake it off

I don’t know why you never hold a kiss
You snap it at the heart
It freezes on your lips

We’re stations, disconnected at the heart
Our rails are rusted veins
Our switches, torn apart

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

The Drowning Of St. Christopher

The Drowning Of St. Christopher

There’s no heart in the men who run these mountain bars
All love extinguished by location and cold fronts
Dogs in the parking lot surround the car for scraps of affection, for eyes not glazed over like black ice
Thousands of kilometres of roughage and terracotta roofs
Horizons replaced by horizons
We run the belly of rainclouds between Madrid and Valencia, with the radio tuned into the weather we don’t have
St Christopher drowns crossing the river
Firs blown onto the windscreen disperse like a pack of tiny black birds
Service stations are watched over from the hills by shepherds who spend all their days flooded by thought – a deafening meditation
The cowbells, like bloody church alarms, smashing the silence of grass, of the air
I am interviewed in a sleepy bar by a girl who wants me to explain “the warmth of nostalgia,” incensed that I “glamourise sadness”
And after seven hours on the road, I have lost all defences – they are roadkill, torn up, gutted
At night, tiny red beacons crown lonely antennas
Everywhere is shepherded in the absence of gods
Cities spoil everything : that there is somewhere to go and something to do, when the partition between sleep and awake in the back of the van features such happy accidents – hazed dreams in an unfocused Super 8mm
On rainy nights, we are docked in the harbour of circular ballrooms playing to the shadows, playing to revolving mirrorballs
Our harbours are in brandy glasses
Our music is swilled/In hostels, fourth floor, bare rooms but for a bed and a sink, we stare vacant at sleeping guitars, wondering how many fucks and violence and drugs have intervalled us staring at sleeping guitars
And the taps can’t be turned off
And there’s suspect movement on the stairwell
Small pictures of boats in storms
Watches and money in our shoes
We wake up and the building is still there and we’re still in it, like miserable captains

 

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

The Journal Of A Disappointed Man

The Journal Of A Disappointed Man

I slip and slide through my life, trying to get a grip on the rail. I’m grasping in the dark for a switch that’ll turn on some almighty bright white light and thus, illuminate the way, the path, make everything clear as day. And every breath I take seems to be quickly rolled up behind me and filed away in memory. Only a particular scent or dose of weather can pinprick the past and even then, the drawer opens flirtatiously for just a moment.

I have lost touch with everyone I went to school with, everyone in the village where I spent most of my formulative years, everyone I went to college with, everyone I ever worked with. They too, are filed away, often angrily slamming the drawer behind them, over something I said or something I didn’t say.
My lovers cannot be traced. I know. I’ve tried. I’ve taken trains to their cities and stood on street corners in the miraculous off-chance that they might wander by. But each time, I have returned home, defeated and had to force myself to sleep so that my heart didn’t kill me.

I began my autobiography at 23 years old, with the intention that I wouldn’t live ’til 25. But I’d done nothing, loved no-one, said nothing of any great importance by that time. The journal of a disappointed man.
I took a position at the Natural History Museum but left after only 3 months due to allergies. Whilst deluding myself that I could reinforce the scientist’s power of detached analysis with a poetic intensity, I would cough up my guts on the glass that held the giant stuffed man-o-war. I had a gift of incisive and candid comment, but I failed to ignite it when faced with the apple-cheeked Irish girl who served the tea in the basement canteen. Drunk most nights, in the Black Swan on Canal St, I would attempt to put my own complicated nature under the microscope of a beer glass. I walked home alone, opening the air with bolshy, slurred dictums against religion, ethics, love and life itself.

Lonely, penniless, paralysed by the guilt of never having told my father I loved him, I wander hospital corridors, posing as a visitor. I have wept, enjoyed, struggled and overcome but I remain disappointed.

 

 

(Words – GA Johnson)

This Heart Machinery

This Heart Machinery

Outside your house, 1993
I think I left some essential part of me
I try to trace my steps back
I try to play the playback
But when I see your face
I cannot breathe

And I can’t figure out this heart machinery
Sometimes it stops for days and really worries me
And I can’t form the words and often I can’t speak
And when I hear your voice
I have to leave

And there’s an actress in a film who looks like you
And I can’t watch that film the whole way through
I’d like to call you up
I’d like to get me straight
But 10 years on,
It’s just too late

The saddest photograph, a splinter in my heart,
Is one of you and me, right at the very start
And I can’t recognise the person next to you
The mirror fogs
It breaks in two

 

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

Vacancies

Vacancies

Well, you never asked me, so I never said
Though I tattooed the answer so I wouldn’t forget
Oh, there’s much I can offer if you’d open your eyes
The night is young but life is short, so come inside

On a council bench, on the Park Estate
I have carved our names with a carpetblade
“They came here often and they loved it so…”
The view is bleak so what’s to love, we’ll never know

Well, phone me if you feel the need
My days are vacancies
My heart, it tends to bleed
But I know a place where they’re kinder to our kind
Tonight, it rains a sorry drum
Come inside

If love would be so blind
The rest of us might blossom

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

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