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)

This Life Is A Slow Death

This Life Is A Slow Death

Well, I’m not socially redundant
I’ll raise a glass to anything
But get me started on the hard stuff
And I will let the Trojans in

I am the toil of Solzenhitsyn
I am the beast that beauty mocks
I am the soul of Kasper Hauser
I am Pandora in the box

Well, I’m not allowed to say
But I’ll say it anyway :
This life is a slow death

I carry letters from the frontline,
Quilled in blood and sealed in wax
And I have orders from the generals
Who chink their glasses at the back

So do not ask me for my politics
Or I will pull you like a plug
My tongue’s a razor in the bath soap
I do not march to any drum

Well, I’m not allowed to say
But I’ll say it anyway :
This life is a slow death

Well, my song it is not dulcet
And this guitar, I cannot play
But I have friends in lower places
And they will clap just when I say

I’ve left my skeleton to science
For I am spineless and naive
I leave my heart pressed like a flower
For it did nothing but deceive

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

To Be Swished

To Be Swished

Your poetry is all blanks to me
Your words pass through courteously
I wish to be swept up, to be swished
I wish to be swept up, to be swished

Your delivery is all wrong
It freezes me

You are no poet
Go home and have a bonfire
Go home and have a bonfire
(Bonfire)

 

 

(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)

When I’m Done, This Night Will Fear Me

When I’m Done, This Night Will Fear Me

When I’m done, this night will fear me
Ghosts of ghosts of ghosts will hear me
Black just got blacker
Attacked became attacker
When I’m done, this night will fear me

The silent movie extra, left for trash on the set
Asserts his revenge
Calls in the debt
And when I’m done, this night will fear me
Ghosts of ghosts of ghosts will hear me
Black just got blacker
Attacked became attacker
And when I’m done, this night will fear me

Black star in a white night
Like a blue wave in a black sea

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

 

 

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

When You Leave Me Alone

When You Leave Me Alone

I’m okay for a couple of hours and then, like a fog, your absence erases all the details
And I can’t keep warm so the kettle’s always brewing and the cups pile up around the sink, marking the hours
I reposition inanimate objects so that they have a better view of the garden and I move ornaments so that their shadows are more pronounced
I stay awake until the early hours watching minor Westerns; anything to avoid getting into a cold, empty bed
I play the records you always find too melancholy – Red House Painters, Stars Of The Lid
Forget to take my medicine
And then I walk up the hill and stand on the street corner in all weathers as if, like a lighthouse, I can somehow miraculously show you the way back
The clock sometimes seems to hold the seconds and the sky sometimes seems to hold the birds
When you leave me alone, I become who I was before – a two piece jigsaw with one piece missing
I plug in to the old answering machine to listen to friends I’ve lost
Their voices are like nettles on the heart
And in the bar you don’t like, I talk about you too much and I know I’m talking about you too much but I can’t shake you ‘cos I don’t want to shake you
I wear the same shirt for days, don’t shave, sleep on the couch
I spend hours watching the dust in sunlight, thinking : will this dust last longer than both of us?
When you leave me alone, I retract
I’m okay for a couple of hours and then, like a fog, your absence erases all the details
And I can’t keep warm

 

(Words – GA Johnson)

 

 

 

Wintersport

Wintersport

A Charlie Brown snowstorm for 2.49
Snoopy drops dead in the snow
This is all that I can show for my time

With someone I don’t really know
I met you in mittens beneath London Bridge,

Killing your skateboard, angry like sea
I loved you in minutes, like people love Lucy
We spat in the snow, black coffee

A rollerskate waitress in Littlewoods cafe
A Raleigh bike builder, Pro-Plus and Park Drives
We kissed once – it was like e minor
Things could, I think not, be finer

 

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

Wrong French

Wrong French

And there were those films,
Made in the Seventies
Where dolls ran through fields, late at night, after men

His shirt is my dress
I lost my knees and hands
He drowned my make-up in the white sand

And I’m too tiny for a heart this big
It swells like an ocean
It’s breaking the jail of ribs

And he said it won’t hurt
And he said it won’t hurt
And he said it won’t hurt
A lie the size of the sky

And this hotel is dusty
And he’s locked the door
And the sea’s gone so far out
I can’t see it anymore
I was baking when he kissed me
I put flour in his hair
He rolled me like a bottle,
Whispering wrong French in my ear

 

 

(Words – GA Johnson)

You Can Hear The Room

You Can Hear The Room

You can hear the room on these long, Winter nights
If you’d just…
If you’d just…
If you’d just be quiet

Beneath the word
There’s the whisper of pipes
There’s the stretch of the wood
There’s the chink of the light

And the wires conduct
And the water runs down to the sea
But stay away from the drink
Stay away from the diaries

It doesn’t matter
It does not matter

 

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

You Can Never Get Lost (When You’ve Nowhere To Go)

You Can Never Get Lost (When You’ve Nowhere To Go)

I know nothing of tides
And I’m confused by the stars
But you can never get lost
When you’ve nowhere to go

And I’ve got space in my heart
For the next twenty years
So don’t think there’s a rush
Just come on over sometime

And I will haunt myself blind
Only sleep when I’m bored
And I will talk into space
And I will worry this house

And I’ve got space in my heart
For the next twenty years
So don’t think there’s a rush
Just come on over sometime

(Come on over sometime)

 

 

(Lyrics – GA Johnson)

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