Lyrics

A Tincture of Tears

A tincture of tears and a triple cross for you
Enraptured by alchemic kiss our teeth dissolve to glue
Not holding hands but brushing arms while walking through the park
Your smile’s a heliolithic God that all men bend before

I gazed up at the Sussex Downs : a poem froze in clay
Enacting all those Copper’s songs as in some ancient play
Then further down in Brighton the sibilant sea did rush
I trembled like a Venetian blind remembering your touch

A nightingale choking on a worm
True beauty’s always tempered by the finger print of pain
So I’ll sing praise to your imperfect face
And never count on nothing but your finger nails

Andalusian Moon

It happened on one Whitsuntide
Neath the moon of Andalucía
And, low, my eyes were magnetized
By it’s celestial splendour

And all the airborne spores of spring
All trembled in the ether
The bourgonvillas as crimson as
The livid blood of Lorca

And all the earth’s sweet miscreant souls
Sang in gentle rapture
The Living Name of the Living God
No living man could utter

That name it bloomed inside my mind
As I drank from the fountain
Cathedrals rose from the soil of Spain
Hardening into mountains

And at that point where all the elements agree
In a universal system
The moon and I mirrored in the pool
Caused shockwaves of revulsion

I laid down on a rock to sleep
And my dreams were so painful that
When I awoke
The stone pillow had broke
Into a craggy heap

I am merely a man
And, though I recognise beauty,
I’ll never achieve it-
My nature limits and corrupts me.
But in that delicious abyss
Tween desire and attainment, I’ll abide
Tethered by the cold, gold chain of life
Until I succumb to oblivion
A rose-head tossed upon a hulking ocean
Between the welt and the lash
Tween the seedling and the sod
Here I shall mouth the Living Name of the Living God

The Wakefield Anthem

In Yorkshire near Bethlehem as I have heard told
There Eve was expelled from her evergreen grove
And as she passed by the birds stopped their song
She crawled out of paradise down the A61

She cried; ‘Welcome perdition
I’ve dressed myself in a hope so thin
And abandoned all ambition’

Remember this; The shepherd of men
Was dead once now has risen again
And at his side where the lances went in
Rejoicing was heard for his blood it did sing

It sang ‘Welcome perdition…

The most startling vision that ‘ere I did see
Where the Swale and the Calder meet the Dead Sea
With the face of a man prowling on all fours
The Lion of Judah on the north Yorkshire moors

It cried ‘Welcome perdition…

Now eternal Athens and eternal Rome
Have been relocated to eternal Denholme
Where the hawthorn and the lily wreath round every door
And perpetual gladness avails every soul

We sing ‘Farewell perdition
I’ve dressed myself in a hope so fine
And regained my ambition’

The Kingdom Within

I dreamed I’d dug a grave for the last highland piper
In hills as snug as knuckles and smeared in rape
And beat a tattoo for that departed brother
With a drumstick hewn from Adam’s remaining rib

An albino scorpion crawled over Britain
Moving at a deathly pace
It’s sting was poised over London
As Scotland wiped the blood away from its face

Please, please, please
Tell all the flowers to blacken their tiny whitenesses
And tell all the starlings to dull their diaphanous plume
And tell the pallbearer that no fairer corpse will follow him
For he’s gone, yes, he’s gone boys
And left us this song, boys,
Of our impending doom

Sing, sing McCrimmond
Though your mouth is blood filled
Bow down Cumberland
Though your mouth is fed

And sing, sing Cameron
From your thrown of glory
Bow down Campbell
From your thrown of death

And ever since the reign
Ever since the reign
Of Scotland’s treacherous son

Sing sing McCrimmond
Though your mouth is blood filled
Bow down Cumberland
Though your mouth is fed

My father was a general at Culloden
(twitching in the mud)
My mother was a tart: legs splayed like a wish bone
(twitching in the mud)

Sing, sing McCrimmond
Though your mouth is blood filled
Bow down Cumberland
Though your mouth is fed

Now, we’ll never forget till the Inver runs red-o
(twitching in the mud)
With Stirling the deathbed and Scapa as the headstone
(twitching in the mud)

The Golden Boat

I served my time in paradise
(On board the golden boat)
In paradise I served my time
(All on board the golden boat)
Then I sailed down the birth canal
That glistening abyss thru her to hell
Just labouring thru parturient mess
It turned my Blues from blue to red
And I was thrust into the weeping world
The bastard son of my bestest girl
I gave my mum the gay gold ring
It made her weep, it made her sing
Then I tripped down Great Western Road
Singing a pale, irresolvable tune
About the time when Noah sailed
All up the Clyde passed Annandale
Till he stopped at old Govan shore
And proclaimed the New Gomorrah
Where St Lucy and St Jerome
And El Greco and Sir John Soame
Crush ecstasy with penitent’s stone
For beggars at the edge of Rome
That’s burning in its perfect ruin
Just morsals in the mouth of time
Ripped as human flesh from bone
First snarl and scrabble in the womb
Then lifeless in their gothic tomb
And seated in that burning ruin
Cackling, wretched and alone
With eyes like eggs and mouth afoam
Saint Peter on a cedar throne
Ringing on a tongue less bell
The one thats calling us all home
And when I die and I’m ding dong dead
And left this world of joy and dread
Ill be ringing on that tongue less bell
That calls all us poor sods to hell
And tell my darling mother dear
That I’m crawling right back into her
For its there that all my passions formed
Of whiskey, books and hardcore porn
I served my time in paradise
In paradise I lost my mind

Christ Made a Trance

CHRIST MADE A TRANCE ONE FRIDAY VIEW
AND HE MADE IT WITH HIS OWN HAND
HE MADE THE SUN CLEAR ALL OF THE MOON
LIKE WATER ON DRY LAND

LIKE WATER ON DRY LAND, MAN-CHRIST
WHO DIED ALL ON THE TREE
WHAT SHALL WE DO FOR OUR SAVIOUR
AS HE HAS DONE FOR WE

WHAT SHALL WE DO FOR OUR SAVIOUR
WHO DIED ALL ON THE ROAD
WE’LL DO AS MUCH FOR HIM, MAN-CHRIST
WHO SHARED HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD

THREE DROPS OF OUR SWEET SAVIOUR’S BLOOD
WHERE SHED ON CALVERY
FELL ON THE PRECIOUS GRASS, MAN-CHRIST
LIKE THE LEAVES FALL DOWN FROM THE TREE

THE HOLLY POINTS HER HEAD UP TO HEAVEN
TO SHOW HER BERRIES RED
THREE DROPS OF OUR SWEET SAVIOUR’S BLOOD
ON CALVERY WAS SHED

OH, HELL IS DEEP AND HELL IS DARK
AND HELL IS FULL OF MIST
WHAT SHALL WE DO FOR OUR SAVIOUR
AS HE HAS DONE FOR US

CHRIST MADE A TRANCE ONE FRIDAY AT NONE
AND HE MADE IT WITH HIS RIGHT HAND
HE MADE THE SUN CLEAR ALL OF THE MOON
LIKE WATER ON DRY LAND
LIKE WATER ON DRY LAND

Light of the Invisible Light

I care not for what happens around me
But immeasurably for what happens inside me
The lion lays down with the lamb
National anthems bursting in their throats like ripened suns
The trumpet sounds, hosannas strewn the ground

The spark that first set fire to the sun
Still exists within the sun
Calling itself home

How long, how long
Charm the light out of the sun
Let every beam be numbered and named
And let every man proclaim
From the bass note of his brain
The light of the invisible lamp (x3)

Glory immeasurable
Pleasure unquenchable (x2)

I go to sleep and wake up painting
‘The View Over Toledo’ in total darkness
A power unseen paints shapes unnamed
I am a mere spectator and my hand directed
The night it roars, buckles and falls to all fours

The force that first did blacken the night
Still exists within the night
Calling itself home

How long, how long
Charm the light out of the sun
Let every beam be numbered and named
And let every man proclaim
From the bass note of his brain
The light of the invisible lamp (x3)

Glory immeasurable
Pleasure unquenchable (x2)

John Ball’s Blues

For Cromwell’s pewter crown
The greenwood’s burning down
One vast orgasmic ‘yes’ (x2)

The dreamer is prisoner to the dream
The shoreline is warden to the sea
What once was hidden
Now is fully seen
We are exiles from eternity

For every man there is a bait
He can’t help but swallow
The dog returns to it’s own mess
For comfort and to wallow

Desires harden into habits
Once used you just replace them
I can’t keep track of every toll
Road I’ve ever taken

Reaching for the storm inside the eye
Mutilated birds fall from the sky

Examining the follies of a life
Difficult to miss and hard to like

When Adam delved and Eve span
Who then was the gentleman?
When Adam delved and Eve span
Who then was the gentleman?

A BOY’S DREAM

I WAS BORN UPON A CURSED MORNING
DEVOURING MY OWN TAIL ETERNALLY
I STAGGERED FROM SCHOOL ROOM TO BAR ROOM AND BACK AGAIN
FARMING WHAT FIRE FROM EVERYMAN
MY MIND IS A MEAT-COLOURED LOCOMOTIVE
MARAUDING THROUGH STATIONS OF NIGHT
EVEN IF THE VISIONS THAT I’VE FORGOTTEN
SENT ME MAD, WELL AT LEAST I’VE SEEN THEM

Duchess

It’s your bicycle bells and you Rembrandt swells
Your children alive and still breathing
And your look of loss when you’re coming across
Makes me feel like a thief when you’re bleeding

Duchess Duchess
Light up your candles for me
Duchess Duchess
Put all your love back in me
I come listening I touch touching

With the Persian sea running through your veins
You shed your names with the seasons
Still they all return with the last remains
And they lay them before you like reasons

With your shimmering dress it says no it says yes
It says I’ve nothing left for conceiving
Its your shiftless flesh and your old girls grace
Its your young girls face that I’m breathing

Duchess Duchess
Light up your candles for me
Duchess Duchess Duchess
Put all the love back in me

I am lying she is crying
(by Scott Walker)

Too Old To Die Young

I’ve been around the block
Yeah, I’ve gathered many scalps
I’ve breached more boarders
Than the entire towering alps

The traveler speaks of the world
The poet speaks of love
The mad man to himself
And the dead of the above

But the subtext was you
But the subtext was you
But the subtext was you

I read it on the toilet wall
Your beauty’s been enjoyed by all
So load my gin and hide my gun
Cos I’m too old to die young

Arrested by the majesty
Of the Aegean sea
You took me there in Spring
And brought the mythic out in me

The horizon line of your legs
Splayed like a Grecian frieze
With Venus as the master
And Eros on his knees

In supplication to you
In supplication to you
In supplication to you

I read it on the toilet wall…

The Bluster of a lion
With the manhood of a mouse
You were my sacrificial lamb
My beds the slaughter house

A veteran of yr bedroom
Where battle cries were sung
But the bedroom, like the battlefield’s,
The province of the young

I’ve been beat black and blue
I’ve been beat black and blue
I’ve been beat black and blue

I read it on the toilet wall…

I’ll Be Looking Out For Me (and I’ll be seeing you)

You wear your pain like flesh medals round yr eyes
A peacock fan of blue and black. A victim’s pride.

I wrote yr name in wine droplets on the bed
I said it was talismanic, you said it was a mess.

Willows, lilies, fig and cassis
And other graveyard smells.
We’d be married in June ‘neath a red Spanish moon
And a rapture of Pentecostal bells

Yr thighs are a portal to heaven
But I don’t intend to be going there soon
So from now I’ll be looking out for me
And I’ll be seeing you

A Tincture Of Tears

A tincture of tears and a triple cross for you
Enraptured by alchemic kiss our teeth dissolve to glue
Not holding hands but brushing arms while walking through the park
Your smile’s a heliolithic God that all men bend before

I gazed up at the Sussex Downs: a poem froze in clay
Enacting all those Copper’s songs as in some ancient play
Then further down in Brighton the sibilant sea did rush
I trembled like a Venetian blind remembering your touch

A nightingale choking on a worm
True beauty’s always tempered by the finger print of pain
So I’ll sing praise to your imperfect face
And never count on nothing but your finger nails

Bells of Oxford

One evening in June ‘neath a thickening moon
While daundering through Port Meadow
My love and I made Ovidean vows
To the sound of the bells of Oxford-o

I regaled my love with an old sea song
Of phantom galleons on the Clyde-o
And a flood of angels sang ‘Haul Away, Joe’
To the sound of the bells of Oxford-o

Moonlight dappled the Isis like a round of applause
As you said something about the stars-o
And I placed Long Purples in yr hair
To the sound of the bells of Oxford-o

Then we wandered on through that moon-flooded town
Past the birth place of Jane Morris-o
The midwife to a thousand brush strokes
And the sound of the bells of Oxford-o

And there is your father in ceremonial robes
Inventing rituals to a truant God
Who’s meanings been half eaten by time
And the sound of the Bells of Oxford-o

But that was in June when our love was new
Now the Long Purples all have perished-o
She’s gone, she’s gone
I’ll never speak of stars again
Nor the sound of the bells of Oxford-o

(there’s nothing nobler than) Yorkshire in October

There’s nothing nobler
Than Yorkshire in October
The falling golden foliage
The mighty flowing Humber

From Hull to Applethwaite
From hell to the pearly gate
Salvation Army trumpets blast
The anthems of the saved

But I was deaf to this
Into the glittering abyss I peered
Felt panic then epiphany
Cold comfort and warm beer

Christ contracted the world’s burdens
All from the Virgin’s hips
He faltered then accepted them
Upon the crucifix

And down in Scarborough Bay
All frolicking in the brine
100 pagan demi-gods
Drink sacramental wine

There’s nothing nobler
Than Yorkshire in October
The falling, golden foliage
The mighty flowing Humber

Tuning Fork Of The Earth

England’s unkept
Jerusalem’s neglected
The last paradisal realm
Is the Eden ‘tween your legs

Vibrate, vibrate, vibrate
All the orbs vibrate
You’re the tuning fork of the earth

In the palace of your face
Each gesture is resplendent
It’s there I am a king
Where once I was a servant

Vibrate, vibrate, vibrate…

Stupendous
Binges in the Berlin
Go to the edge of thought
And report back again

Vibrate, vibrate, vibrate…

Sunflowers
Survive the Scottish winter
And the song it sings itself
Independent of the singer

Vibrate, vibrate, vibrate…

Dancing On The Breath Of God

Breathing in
I held my breath so long
That in the throat revealed;
A silver circle spinning, spinning
Spinning up towards
A throbbing, silent force

Beyond the ground
Far beyond the sky
I held it in my mouth;
A million gilded angels singing
Within me without you
Within me without you

The sky only advertises ‘forever’
Patrolled by birds with gold and black feathers
Dancing on the breath of God
Dancing on the breath of God

I Made A Date (with an open vein)

I made a date with an open vein
But rain falls down on everyone
And with scarlet matter emblazoned your name
How long, shrouded stranger, how long?
I lived the life of an ascetic seer
But rain falls down on everyone
And made it to heaven but she wasn’t there
How long, shrouded stranger, how long?
So I bailed out of that gold fucking cloud
But rain falls down on everyone
T’was meat coloured wings that delivered me down
How long, shrouded stranger, how long?
If I were a vengeful God but you weren’t to blame
But rain falls down on everyone
I would build you an ark and then pray for the rain
How long, shrouded stranger, how long?
And when I die my tombstone will say
But rain falls down on everyone
He died mostly in Love and lived mostly in Hate
How long, shrouded stranger, how long?

How long? Not so long
Till death knocks at your door
As the rain falls on everyone

I Can Tell You’re Leaving

I can tell you’re leaving
You used to bring me things
Now you just bring me my own things back

It was a school boy’s move
You choked on every bone that I threw
So now we’re through
I used to be your universe
Your not even my Birmingham
But give me one more chance
You treat me like a child
I need a man

Still I can tell its over
You haven’t made our bed
For the first time since we met

Your ‘no’s not clear
So bring those English lips back over here
I miss them more with every passing beer
But this is just a kiss goodbye
Don’t mistake it for regret
Your lips like cigarettes
Intractable and bad for your health

Sorrow lines round my eyes like a prisoner chalking off the days since you left
You’re a prisoner of your own misery
You’ve condemned me to life
You couldn’t stand the fight
Like Merle Haggard you’ll see the fighting side of me

So one last dance
They’re playing our song ‘A Lonely Night in Paris ’
Les blues your chance
Gimme the moon, the wine, the music, the girl
And leave the rest to me
Au contrai, mon Cherie
You say you’re going but you never leave
You fetishise your grief
Like a clown nose on Bozo
Well I’m Piscean there are more fish in the sea

Sorrow lines round my eyes like a prisoner chalking off the days since you left
You’re a prisoner of your own misery
You’ve condemned me to life
You couldn’t stand the fight
Like Merle Haggard you’ll see the fighting side of me

A Ferrari In A Demolition Derby

Your love is like a butterfly
Mine for a day and then it dies
Just responds to green paper and blue skies
And then it’s gone

Your love is like a velvet glove
Crushing a lupine
Alluring then brutal to all it cannot have
So I’m gone
I built an urn to keep your love
For the dust that it’s become

The heart is on treacherous terrain
A Ferrari in a demolition derby
Or a wave on the eternally churning mane
When it’s not lost, it’s breaking

Do you remember Venice, love, when I read your palm?
Your love line was longer than the bridge of sighs
Prisons and palaces contained in both your eyes
Tio amore

I remember Venice as a sinking ship
Calamity and Titian
My love line was weaker than yr trembling lower lip
Pint-sized Byron

I built an urn to keep your love
For the dust that it’s become

The heart is on treacherous terrain
A Ferrari in a demolition derby
Or a wave on the eternally churning mane
When it’s not lost, it’s breaking

Ain’t Nothing Wrong With A Little Longing

What would it take to forgive me
For those dead flowers on our anniversary?
It’s just that I didn’t know that
You could have honesty without cruelty

Your timing was mercenary
Your brutality was mechanical
My resistance fell easily
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing

Ain’t nothing wrong
Ain’t nothing wrong
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing

I asked for your mercy
You looked at me like I was scraped from the killing floor
Then you slumped into a pregnant pause
But when the words came out they were still born

You’ve longed for clemency
And I’ve longed for gin oblivion
This I know with all certainty
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing

Ain’t nothing wrong
Ain’t nothing wrong
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing

In the age of Johnny Ray lovers drowned in a dozen lonely lakes from all the tears he’s crying
In the age of Gesualdo gods and demons fought a horror show for all the notes he’s writing
Now in this threadbare age the author of all things prepares his page for just a little longing

Excursions Into Assonance

I have trodden level sand
Along a reach of grey-
From dune’s top to sea’s end,
No breathing thing but me.
I have dropped the heavy latch
Against the rain’s tap,
And shivered by the fire, to watch
The dark hours slip.
The desolate beach, the midnight storm-
I dwelt alone with these;
But here, within your bended arm,
Is loneliness.

I walked upon a vacant shore
Beneath a low and thickening sky;
I faces the empty sea and swore,
“There is no lonelier one than I.”
I waited through a night of lead;
I heard the showers slide and hiss,
And started at my voice, that said,
“No loneliness as been but this.”
But here, my heart against your own,
Your kiss to silence me,
I know that I have never known
How bitter lonely I could be
(by Dorothy Parker)

Every Time I Close My Eyes (we’re back there)

The bitter taste of morning still lingers on your mouth
As the sun floods through the bedroom of our new bridal house
Your smile is the horizon line when the day breaks over France
Oh, every time I close my eyes we’re back there.

It wasn’t in the good book but I still believe it’s true
He rested on the 7th and on the 8th day he made you
In heaven they all held their breath in astoundment at the view
Oh, every time I close my eyes we’re back there.

I’m that girl from that dream
We used to dream together
Now I’m gone ne’er to return
Till the first of never

King Solomon told me truly in Proverbs 31
And I knew by his telling that I would lose your love
‘An eternal curse upon your breast, for woman is the rage of man’
Oh, every time I close my eyes we’re back there

The ultimate act of possession is homicidal love
The carrion caw of the raven has drowned out the dove
My hands are ever blood soaked for shame of what I’ve done
Oh, every time I close my eyes we’re back there

I’m that girl from that dream
We used to dream together
Now I’m gone ne’er to return
Till the first of never

The dead were walking in the open air
I saw angels in their underwear
Between the devil and the debonair
She’s gone from me

Love Is A Velvet Noose

As I rode out on Valentine’s Day
All down to Beachyhead
My liver felt like a suicide note
To Johnny Walker Red

Although I said I would be there
As a crutch each time you fall
Well, I want you to know I was thinking of you
Though I went home with him

Oh, oh, oh, oh love is a velvet noose
Oh, oh, oh, oh love is a velvet noose
A rush of blood to the head like Johnny Ace
Playing Russian Roulette
Love is a velvet noose

Well, I could have been a soldier
In some Napoleonic war
And my last chivalric breath would gift your name
To the air forever more

Oh, but now your a hamstrung vetran
In the unmarked trench of my heart
I found my feet, but you lost direction
Unhappy endings, false starts

So dress me in a winding sheet
While Blind Lemon he sings the blues
A dozen angels round my crown and feet
And round your neck a velvet noose

Oh, oh, oh, oh love is a velvet noose
Oh, oh, oh, oh love is a velvet noose
A rush of blood to the head like Johnny Ace
Playing Russian Roulette

My Husband’s Got No Courage In Him

As I went out one May morning
To view the fields and leaves a-springing
I saw two maidens standing by
And one of them her hands was wringing

Oh dear-o ! oh dear-o !
My husband’s got no courage in him.
Oh dear-o !

Me husband’s admired wherever he goes
And everyone looks well upon him
With his handsome features and well-shaped leg
But still he’s got no courage in him

Me husband can dance and caper and sing
And do anything that’s fitting for him
But he cannot do the thing I want
Because he’s got no courage in him

Every night when I goes to bed
I lie and throw me leg right o’er him
And me hand I clamp between his thighs
But I can’t put any courage in him

I wish me husband he was dead
And in his grave I’d quickly lay him
And then I’d find another one
That had a little courage in him
(trad/anon)

Riding

Where you going riding, boy?
I’m gonna ride on down to see you

Where you going riding, boy?
All dressed up and with that look of joy
Where you going riding, boy?
I’m gonna ride on down to see you

Who you gonna ride with, boy?
I’m gonna bring my sister Lisa

Who you gonna ride with, boy?
All dressed up and with that look of joy
Who you gonna ride with, boy?
I’m gonna bring my sister Lisa

Because I love my sister Lisa
I love my sister Lisa
I love my sister Lisa most of all

Don’t you know that that’s sinful, boy
God is what I make of Him

I’m long since dead and I live in Hell
She’s the only girl that I love well
We were raised together and together we fell
God is what I make of Him

And all I have I give to Him
All I own I owe to Him
All my life I pledge to Him
(by Will Oldham)

Lord Bless All

Lord bless all
Lord let all be blessed
And when you sleep
London streets are silent
All the world is full of song
And when you have woken, after dawn has broken
Snow filled fens will vaguely fill your eyes
You’ll be guided by good will
Now the bells in your town are ringing
Far away the joy of carols singing
Bringing all a song to share
Lord bless all
Lord let all be blessed
And when you sleep
London streets are silent
(by Robin Gibb)

Just as the Rainbow

Just as the rainbow leaves no lasting glare on the sky
So the tears graze not my face after I’ve cried
Yes, the only lasting victim after you said ‘goodbye’
Was the door when you slammed it to kindling

Azalea’s your eyes and magnolias your teeth
And henbane your heart all wilt into a wreath
For beneath every blood red rose the thistle bears it’s teeth
Just to laugh at the lover who clasped it

I long for that nameless shrouded stranger to appear
Rest his hand on my shoulder and I’ll sleep for ever more
Oh, but heaven’s too much effort so it’s a-helling I must go
But the fire alarms all keep me from sleeping

All My Favourite Mistakes

Love came and hit me like a sucker punch
And I fell smiling like a sucker does
I wrote a love song called ‘All My Favourite Mistakes’
I was a pushover you were an earthquake

Poor Saint George he could never shake that dragon
He had a walk-on part in this Disney armageddon
And Saint Peter he asked ‘could you bear this life again?’
I was a gentle breeze you were a hurricane

I auditioned for the doo wop death squad
I butchered songs by the Ink Spots back into bloodspots
I had a wrestling match with a wrist and a razor blade
As the ambulance sang ‘All of My Favourite Mistakes’

You made a real mess in the cemetery
Your bucket and spade and your bolo knife did a number on me
I’m just 21 but I feel like I’m 58
On my grave she inscribed ‘All of My Favourite Mistakes’

Love came and hit me like a sucker punch

Colour of Night

Some days I collect the dew in the morning
Some days I inspect the contours of clouds
But with night comes the bitterness I’ve been abating
The moon like a mirror; that milky gloom bringer
Shows me I’m alone

The colour of night brings to life yellow candles
As petrified tears on their wicks run down
But me and the moon we know so much better
Seven years to remember when I cracked the mirror
And tear the night down

Love burns brighter after dark
Like that cipher Joan of Arc
Leaves you cold and charcoal hearted through the day
Those nocturnal, drunk desires
Music, moonlight, rum conspire
And I’ll cling on to your memory like a rosary

The stirring of birds brings to life the dawn morning
A message from bells I longed to receive
As I did my best to remember the omen
In the dreamer’s confession the night knows no bottom
But the bed where he sleeps

Love burns brighter after dark…

Cold Heart of Mine

Cold heart of mine
Let me celebrate your losses all the time
Build a monument out of bitterness and goodbyes
Cold heart of mine

All of my life
I’ve drank up my calamities like wine
A marauding king, I took everything that wasn’t mine
All of my life

All the boys ’round here
They are enough to turn
Innocent girls into loaded guns
Oh, but heads will roll
From Chicago to Glasgow
Winter in July
Cold heart of mine

Don’t raise me high
The pieta was an image I despised
While your drink was spiked by a life sized Christ
Though the drug was good still you paid in blood
Now your weeping sons were the guilty ones
Last friday night
Don’t raise me high

All the boys ’round here…

Where Do I Go From You?

Announcements from the mountain
I’m stranded by your side
I took you for a cut-rate Madonna
You took me for a child
And the loser takes his prize

I heard it on the battle field
Your beauty’s ruined lives
Pin poppies to the victim’s glistening limbs
Who’ve fallen for your thighs
And the loser takes his prize

This town’s bloodied gallows block
And these are revolutionary times
I decapitated love, sleaze and treachery
And gave them to your eyes
And the loser takes his prize

So waltz me to the ambulance
My hearts a collapsing mine
I showed you all of life’s most poignant moments
You never even cried
And the loser takes his prize

Where do I go from you?

Otley Rock Oracle

Once I saw a severed head of gold
While walking through West Yorkshire
It spoke a thousand tongues to dust
About what I’d be doing ‘ere after

As I walked through Mytholmroyd
Along the cairn covered pasture
Saluting cauliflowered clouds
A message fresh sent from my master

I etched my name on Otley Rock
Along with my desires
They rose like fires in the sun
A bold starry system of fire

My mouth rang out from Otley Rock
With every available answer
Give my words to the atmosphere
But bury my body in Yorkshire

Goathland

I put paid to days in Robin Hood’s Bay
Drinking real ale in the shadows of greats
There songs as substantial as newly bloomed clouds
Ghosting over the harbor mouth
I knew their tunes right through to my bones
But wasted my days in watering holes

The route back to Goathland was littered with flowers
Who sang of themselves through trumpeted crowns
I held their songs in the back of my mind
Then offered them up to the North Yorkshire night

When time held me green in infancy’s bliss
I roared like the sea with chains at my wrists
Roaming ’round Goathland and Robin Hood’s Bay
Eavesdropping secrets of waves that won’t break

The letters of lovers all plaintively state
Their inner most hopes when hearts first awake
So I am compelled to detail the voices
In whose tender presence my heart first rejoiced
Their songs sublime as Peak District walks
Or Hopelessly vast as the North Yorkshire Moors

I’m aware very well of the salt complaints of boys who don’t look past their nose
But I left that extra-canonical mess a long long time ago

When time held me green…

To See You Again

Athena emerging full formed from the head of Zeus
So you sprang forth like a truth
My neck veins straining in songs of praise for you
I’ll go down in flames, glory too

Burn all my letters
Them to sender
To see you again
I would have been defeated
But for a guiding light within
To see you again

A weakness for moonlight. ‘The moon’s only half full’ you said
A pessimistic view- you’re weak too
Take me to Berlin in 1922
If I get out alive, so will you

Burn all my letters…

Torn Between Loves

That all roads lead back to you
Like some flesh-coated Rome
My heart was a foreign landscape
‘Til you called it home
Now I’m waiting for these Holy Roman walls to fall
And I wonder if you ever think of me at all

That all flowers bend towards you;
The point of all light
That all mornings break for you;
I’ll stay up all night
And in the morning will you still remember all the vows, I do
I’m a pilgrim and all lonely roads lead back to you

Torn between loves
Vultures and doves

New Year’s Eve’s the Loneliest Night of the Year

It’s the 31st of December
‘Round midnight, I suppose.
I’ve been drinking since September
And the time just kind of goes.
No party mood, just room for two;
Me all alone with my last beer.
New year’s eve’s the loneliest night of the year

Your leaving left a bitter taste-
Like lithium in a stream-
But I wouldn’t change you
For all the stolen Roman marble
In the British Museum.
All gone, it’s lost. I’ll count the cost:
One lonely night for every tear.
New year’s eve’s the loneliest night of the year

It had to be in winter
When the night lasts most of the day
I haven’t smiled since summer
When I mistook the world for OK
Guess I’ll spend another year that way

Now my only resolution
Is to stagger through this day
Somewhere Sinatra growls low
And a dog whistles ‘My Way’
The death knell strikes; it’s now midnight
And all so painfully clear;
New year’s eve’s the loneliest night of the year

Adieu, England

When I set sail
On drunken waters
The christened ship set forth
Wine bottles crack the hull.
Mark well the day
And mark the hour;
The time I tried to die
A good Hollywood death.

All the banners all said I was leaving
And the colliery band played Adieu, England
Oh, I’ll sing for the sunken who wait on dry land.

Pirates patrol the ports of Yorkshire
(Adieu, old England, Adieu)
Tatooed masts and a red wine rorsache
I saw sirens with rust tongues drowning
Ploughing through pale blue oblivion
Sing me a song for a sea-sick sailor
One more pull for the port of Yorkshire

Man is as a Garden Born

I married my obsessions
Of girls and bells and flowers
Those golden, stone-age powers
Most present in my mind.

I implored my darling mother
To unfog the scrying mirror
And tease songs undiscovered
From the unsuspecting air.

So sing to me you rolling, golden everlasting
They’ll roar your songs in stadiums where lions dine on Christians

Baby, Lay Your Burden Down

When I held you in my arms like lovers do, I’m told
I was reminded of a shipwreck victims hold.
While a million distant suns illumine darkest night
I will nominate you polestar of my life.

So baby, lay your burden down
Baby, lay your burden down

(oh, lay it down and hush your tongue, let loose the drum)

Baby, baby, baby lay your burden down
Baby, baby, baby lay your burden down
Hush your tongue and let loose the drum
Hush your tongue and let loose the drum

I used to think that I was some kind of ancient Greek
Raging from the pages of Antiquity.
Oh, you were just a mortal caught between my teeth
A parasite by any other name.

Baby, baby, baby lay your burden down…

I met you in the private, velvet country of night
After praying all day to Johnny Ray.
Oh, the night is just a door that leads to darkness
Prayer is just an old fashioned game.

Baby, baby, baby lay your burden down…

When I held you in my arms like lovers do, I’m told

Did you sing Together?

I was better off last night
Groaning on the floor.
I was a hero in some unrecorded war.
But just as Ovid said;
The mouth that bears the wound
Shall open to a thousand lovers more.

Every mouth contains a sigh
In each sigh a song.
Mine was A Feather Resting on the Breath of God
The bird that gave it up is choking on a worm
And I can only sigh for his lost song.

Over on the other side of the night
I will answer to the calling dawn

So are you at your best again
Since you left your lowland singer?
Did he sing his best for you
Abandoned Love, Desire too?
Did you sing together?

September is the Month of Death

September is the month of death
(Sing for the love of the earth with your dying breath)
With weeping trees and leaves bereft
Men prowl onyx-eyed with priapic desire
And waltz through woodland the colour of fire
I gazed at Autumn’s illumination
And sat at his feet and took dictation
Broadcasting prayers with every breath
September is the month if death.

Love Made An Outlaw Of My Heart

We wrote love letters in the sand
On the beach we walked hand in hand
But your kisses were as cold and as hard as marble stone
What’s wrong?

Oh, shake the sand out of your hair
Let it fall down on your breasts
Your wistful kisses are in vain cos I just don’t feel the same
It’s the end.

So long, love was a dirty word
So long, I’ve found another girl
Love has made an outlaw of my heart.

Love made an outlaw of my heart
Red wine and an old guitar
I asked you if you felt remorse
And I answered; well of course. I got caught.

So long….

Ravenna

All the airborn spores of spring
Poppies smear the fields like lipstick kisses.
I held you like my last £10
And drew you like sunflowers towards the sun.

I caught the sun…. Ravenna
And gave it to your eyes…. Forever

All the harlequins of Venice
Couldn’t stop the streets from returning to the sea.
I played piano while the town went down
I played Rule Britania perfectly from memory.

I caught the sun

All Good Men Come Last

Back again, in the church of your arms I’m back again
An addict lapsed in your absolvent charms

And I’m back in your arms again.
When we were young we scaled the Heights of Abraham.
Discussing plans to tear the planets down
Way back when we were young

But don’t feel bad
You know all good men come last.
And I’ll get over you
When the grass grows over me.

You were right, all good men come last you said
And how you laughed as I stumbled by
I’m left and you were right.

But don’t feel bad…

Darling

Darling, I know I’ve disappointed you
I’ve been serving the king of England
Gathering flowers for the crown
And I’d just like to say, I picked some for you

My lover, my gold oriole in the morning
Golden-throated song thrush singing
Eidetic finch first spied on by Darwin

A lover’s arms, a child’s smile, a man’s good gift of love
She gave them to me, I gave them to you

I want you so bad
And I need you for all time
Cos you look so good
After so much red wine
But now you’re all gone
Like that bottle of wine
Now my glass is half full
And you’re on my mind
Goodbye

You Are On the Bottom (and the bottle’s on my mind)

Solitude’s a good cure for sadness
When yr drinking yr blues into reds
Just like Christ in Galilee where 5000 stood
I’m changing my woes into wine

Well, it’s true that yr leaving but I’m not grieving- there’s still more to imbibe
And yr face turned fast into alabster when I said that I’d survive.

Well, they say that love is blind
But I’ve watched you thru my wine glass eye
And now you, you are on the bottom
And the bottle’s on my mind

I LISTED ALL THE VELVET LESSONS

I LISTED ALL OF THE VELVET LESSONS IN A FOLDER MARKED ‘THIS DAY’
AND SCOURED THROUGH THE MOODS THAT CHANGE CHILDREN INTO LEGENDS
THAT PRAYERS PARACHUTE FROM MOUTHS ALL THRU THE BOUNDLESS BLUE
AND GOD NODS HIMSELF TO SLEEP WITH A BILLION BREATH HOSANNAS
 
PILGRIMS OF THE SKIN
WEARING WOUNDS LIKE TATOOS ON THEIR TONGUE
IN THE NOOSE OF YOUR LEGS WHERE I HUNG
IN THE GULF OF LOVE
BUT I AM A SOLDIER TOO
IN THE BATTLE OF YOUR BODY, I LOSE
IN THE TRENCH OF YOUR BREAST, I SURRENDER
TO THE GULF OF LOVE
 
I WANDERED THRU THE SNOW KISSED FLATS OF THE OLD CAMPSIE HILLS
AND INCANTED VOID WORDS TO KEEP MY BLOOD BRIMMIN
THE MEMORIES OF OUR MELDING BODIES HAVE BEEN CONDEMNED TO BLURDOM
AND ONLY A FOOL WOULD THINK TO REVIVE THEM
 
PILGRIMS OF THE SKIN
WEARING WOUNDS LIKE TATOOS ON THEIR TONGUE
IN THE NOOSE OF YOUR LEGS WHERE I HUNG
IN THE GULF OF LOVE
BUT I AM A SOLDIER TOO
IN THE BATTLE OF YOUR BODY, I LOSE
IN THE TRENCH OF YOUR BREAST, I SURRENDER
TO THE GULF OF LOVE

I TOOK TO YOU (LIKE CHRIST TO WOOD)

I FLEW OVER THE TOWN AT NIGHT
IT SPREAD LIKE A FIREWORK OF FROZEN LIGHT
POSTED BELOW ON THOSE ‘WEGIAN STREETS
WAS A GIRL THAT I KNEW SO WELL
HER CRIMSON LIPS PREPARED FOR CASTING SPELLS
OVER BOYS SO SICK WITH LOVE
THEY WOULD ACCUSE THE MOON OF OGLING HER
 
I TOOK TO YOU LIKE CHRIST TO WOOD
OR LIKE FLOWERS TO THE GROUND
WE LET THE SPRING SLIP BY AGAIN
WHILE NESTING IN SOME OTHERS ARMS
 
I WANDERED THROUGH THAT CIVIC WOMB
LIKE A SERAPHIM IN GLASGOW’S GLOOM
I GAZED UP IN THE BRAZEN DARK
AND SAW A LIGHT I KNEW WAS YOU;
THAT AMBER GLOW OF GOOD, LIKE A DUAL MOON.
AND I WAS CONSOLED BEYOND ALL CARE
THE SAME SKY I SAW WOULD HOLD YOU THERE
 
I TOOK TO YOU…..
 
DISREGARD THE FEELING AS AN ADDER DOES HIS SKIN.
I’M GOING TO CARBETH WITH THE CRIMSON LIPPED WOMEN.
WHERE NOTHING SHALL DISTRACT ME SAVE FOR THE LACK OF LIGHT.
I’M GETTING OUT OF GLASGOW INTO THE ENDLESS NIGHT.

WHEN I WAS YOUNG

WHEN I WAS YOUNG I CHARMED THE LIGHT OUT OF THE SUN.
GROPING AT THOUGHTS WITH A RABID THIRST. ALONE.
BUT I WAS AS A CHILD, PARALYSED, TAKEN BY ANY THOUGHT THAT CAME ALONG.
SOLD MY FUTURE TO A GAMBLER BY THE RIVER WHEN THE WATER WAS HIGH.
GAMBLER STANDS WITH HIS BACK TO MY FUTURE AND THE RIVER RAN DRY.

RAGE AGAINST THE DIEING LIGHT (x4).

I HAD A DREAM WITH ALL OF ENGLAND IN A RUIN.
I RULED OVER THAT DISMAL KINGDOM.
BUT JUST AS HISTORY TELLS, FOLKS REBEL, KINGDOMS FALL
AND MY PRINCELY HEAD DID ROLL.

TOLD MY DREAM TO A DOCTOR BY THE RIVER AND SHE SHOOK ME AWAKE.
SHE WAS WRITING A PRESCRIPTION ON A RIZLA FOR MY KING-SIZED MISTAKE.

RAGE AGAINST THE DIEING LIGHT (x4).

DOCTOR WALKS WITH THE GAMBLER ACROSS THE RIVER WITH A SCALPEL AND DICE.
THEY’RE DISSECTING MY REFLECTION ON THE WATER INTO MULTIPLE LIVES.

RAGE AGAINST THE DIEING LIGHT

THE ENDS THE BEGINNING BORN KNOWING

I WAS ROLLING IN
I WAS READY
IT HAPPENED LAST FEBRUARY
OUT WITH OLD BILLY
IN THE FIRST CITY
WHERE THE DUAL MOONS ROLLED
AND WE DANCED SLOW
TILL THE COCK CROWED
WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.
BUT I COULD NOT GAIN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE NIGHT.
 
(THE ENDS THE BEGINNING BORN KNOWING).
 
SAW THE SEPULCHRE
BATHED IN LAMBS BLOOD
SOLD MY CLEAN CLOTHES
BOUGHT A NOTE BOOK
SKETCHED SENSATIONS
FROM CAR WINDOWS
FELL LIKE JERICHO
STAINED GLASS DANCE FLOOR.
THE LAST OF THE STAINED GLASS ENTHUSIASTS.
 
(THE ENDS THE BEGINNING BORN KNOWING)
 
OH, WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WS BORN?
BORN ON FIRE, WET FROM CRYING.
DRANK UNTIL I HIT THE FLOOR.
CRIED BY THE WAILING WALL.
 
SPENT THE SUMMER
LOST IN RIGA
FORTUNE TELLERS
DRESSED AS PHOEBUS
I FOUND BUDDHA
ON A BLACK HILL
JUDGING PEOPLE
DROWNED IN RED BULL.
AND THE RADIO PLAYED
‘THEME TIME RADIO HOUR’
BUT I COULDN’T SLEEP
‘NEATH THE BELL TOWER.
AND THE BELLS WENT ‘DING DONG DING DONG DING DONG’
 
(THE ENDS THE BEGINNING BORN KNOWING)
 
OH, WHERE WERE YOU…

SUMMERS WANING

SUMMERS WANING, I WAS DRINKING
TO YOUR HEALTH WHILE MINE WAS FALLING
THE SILVER SMOKE OF MARLBOROS ROSE IN RINGLETS THROUGH THE AIR.
I WAS THINKING OF A TIME
WHEN I HELD YOU IN MY ARMS
BUT NOW I’M GROPING NOTHING BUT THE CIGARETTE STAINED AIR.
 
AND JUST LIKE THE SONGS OF WILLIE AND WILL,
‘YOU WERE ALWAYS ON MY MIND’.
AND I COULD NOT HAVE LOVED YOU MUCH MORE THAN I DID
BUT GOD ONLY KNOWS, I TRIED.
 
BUT I WOULD NEVER CHANGE THIS PAIN
EACH TIME I HEAR YOUR NAME IT ACHES
LIKE KISSING BROKEN GLASS
LIKE A ROSE WITH JUST THE THORN
AND JUST WHEN I THOUGHT IT PASSED
YOU CAME BACK

WILLOWS OF CARBETH

WE WENT OUT WALKING IN THE EARLY MORNING
IN CARBETH AND YOU WERE NAMING TREES.
AND HOW I DELIGHTED IN YOUR HAPPY KNOWING
AND I STOLE A KISS BUT FELT LIKE A THIEF.
I SAID OF ALL THOSE OLD BRANCHY BROTHERS
THE WEEPING WILLOW WAS MY FAVOURITE ONE.
THEY WAIT BY RIVERS TO SHADE YOUNG LOVERS
FROM THE GAZE OF THE ENQUIRING SUN.
BUT YOU GREW SO QUIET AS I GREW BOLDER.
I TOUCHED YOUR SHOULDER AND I HELD MY BREATH.
YOU SAID YOU’D FALLEN FOR SOME OTHER.
I STAYED ALONE IN MY DEAR CARBETH.
 
ALL THE SONGS I KNEW COULDN’T HELP ME NOW.
NO MORE SINGING LOVE SONGS THEY’RE STRANGERS TO ME NOW.
 
I WALKED BACK TO MY LITTLE CABIN
AND STARTED DRINKING TO DULL MY MIND.
OH, BUT I REMEMBERED THE SLIGHT INFLECTIONS
YOUR FACE WOULD MAKE WHEN YOU CRACKED A SMILE.
AND HOW I WAS BURDENED BY SUCH SAD SORROW,
SUCH SAD SORROW AS I NEVER KNEW.
THOSE HILLS OF SCOTLAND, THOSE LONESOME MUNROS,
SUCH GREAT THINGS REMIND ME OF YOU.
AND NOW I AM LIKE THOSE WEEPING WILLOWS,
I AM STATIONED ON THE RIVERS EDGE.
WATCHING LOVERS AND WRITING LETTERS
TO EULOGISE THEIR TENDERNESS.
 
ALL THE SONGS I KNEW….

Your Head is the House of Your Tongue

The darkest part of the sea, that’s where I’ll be
The parts of oceans only drowning men see
I’ll strike a match for all sea-eaten souls
And pitch my lungs against the inquisitive deep
But I am dumb to tell the enquiring tide
My impatient praise of your imperfect face
Where once longing on your lips did dwell
Now only scorn for my too eager embrace
Your head is the house of your treacherous tongue
Though we’ve kissed many moons down over Linlithgow.
 
The ocean spoke;
‘How endless my chest and my rhyming stride!
That cultures cascade over wind-aided waves
And motionless boats with heraldic masts reside!’
 
But I contest;
‘How can one weather such emptiness?
That lovers have gazed at your fathomless bowel
But not one could enter with ten manly breaths and caress’. 

Garlands Of Stars

I’m looking forward to the morning
When my first thought doesn’t fall on you
I’m looking forward to returning
To my old concerns again

I’ll eat blood oranges on that day
With fennel, spice and red wine
And toast a glass to photographs
Of us dancing to that Breton band

How I held you as we stepped in time
The polestar of my waking night
That ancient song of love forelorn
came tripping through that sea side town

But that was Cornwall in the Spring
And I’ll swear by any viol string
That hearts will break to the songs they make
Even hearts made of precious stone

But what was that feeling
When you gazed up at those sallow stars?
I knew you thought of me though you were in someone elses arms
For we spoke of stars to many times
And wondered at their throbbing eye
Now the ones that find me in Carbeth
Find you down in Derby too
Garlands of stars for you

The morning brought a probing storm
To the south west of England
We drove in cars down country roads
I was knuckle deep in love with you

We marvelled at the sound of starlings
In secret trees in Gloucestershire
I understood their song to say
‘Never let this storm blow itself away’

But that was Gloucester in the Spring
And I’ll swear by any starling
That hearts will break to the songs they make
Even hearts made of precious stone

But what was that feeling…?

Seven Years a Tear Drop

All the lives I have led they have led me to this
I abandoned the plan at the age of nineteen
And acted on impulse to contract new skin
In the land of my birth I’m a long way from home

So it’s drain your glasses dry
Place faith into the night
To deliver silver visions of an alphabet of light
To me she was an instant
To her I was eternity
Seven years a tear drop and seven years the sea

Inebriated children of the Mediterranean
They knew nothing of curses they knew nothing of cures
So I posted a hex on a dress that she wore
But couldn’t cure sadness with bottled liqueurs

So it’s drain your glasses dry….