Tag Archives: loneliness

It’s Only Dancing

I don’t even know your name;
it’s not important you know mine.
But since you’re sitting there alone,
I’d like a minute of your time.

It may seem forward, I’ll admit;
I’ll understand if you refuse.
But you look like you might agree,
so what have I got to lose?

It’s only dancing, it won’t do any harm;
two minutes and thirty three seconds pretending in each other arms.
It’s no long term commitment to true love and romancing;
just a spin on the floor for a song, nothing more.
It’s only dancing.

I don’t know the latest moves,
but I’ve heard this old song before;
and every time it starts to play,
they seem to fill up the dance floor.

I may not be your type at all;
I’ll understand if you say no.
But something in your eyes tonight
tells me you might just have a go.

It’s only dancing, doesn’t need to lead somewhere;
two minutes thirty three seconds pretending the world isn’t there.
It’s no prelude to forever, or the start of romancing;
just some turns on the floor for a while, nothing more.
It’s only dancing.

I don’t want to lead you on;
I’m not expecting any action.
But we both came in here alone,
probably could use the distraction.

It may seem an odd request;
I’ll understand if you decline.
But as long as we’re both here,
we might as well have a good time.

It’s only dancing, it’s not anything wrong;
two minutes and thirty three seconds together enjoying this song.
It’s no ever after, no foolish romancing;
just a spin on the floor for a spell, nothing more.
It’s only dancing.

22 JAN 2006

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Road Going Nowhere

On the south side of the road going nowhere
Winter wind letting the chill into my bones
Standing tall, as if I don’t care,
Acting like I’m supposed to be there
As if lost highways had a need to be somebody’s home

Nothing much out there for miles, only horizon
And power lines above that stretch on out of sight
Standing still, as if my motion
Would hurt the sky with its commotion
As if I could change the world but didn’t have the right

If you wonder if I’m leaving
How you’ll know when I am gone
Look for the ripple left behind me
on the surface of the pond

If you want to know the reason
Why nothing golden seems to last
Know that each thing has its season
And fades away when its time is passed.

On the south side of a road leading nowhere
Winter sun setting slowly over a hill
Standing here, as if I’m growing
Acting like there’s no place else to be going
As if I could stop the world just by being stiil

Nothing out there for miles in all directions
Just the echo from an airplane high overhead
Standing still, as its reflection
Fades slowly beyond all detection
As if the last word in a book no longer read.

If you wonder if I’m leaving
How you’ll know when I am gone
Look for the ripple left behind me
on the surface of the pond

If you want to know the reason
Why nothing golden seems to last
Know that each thing has its season
And fades away when its time is passed.

18 JAN 2006

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You Can Come Home

One winter’s night a number of years ago in Boston, I was huddled in my small studio apartment on Boylston Street near Berklee College of Music. It was a cold December evening, and as I recall I was broke and in fact sitting in the dark because the electric bill had not been paid. I did have a battery operated radio, however, and a squeaky and somewhat effective radiator in the corner, as well as a number of cigarette butts with a few drags on them. In other words, not rock bottom, but pretty near the shoals.

I was listening to some late-night Grateful Dead program (I think syndicated, but who knows now), and they were playing “deep” cuts. In the midst of my depressingly cold scene came a hauntingly beautiful song — probably one of the most beautiful songs, in terms of sheer lyricism and fragility, that I had ever heard. It was I Will Take You Home, words by John Perry Barlow and music by Brent Mydland.

I have heard this song only once; that evening, and never again. But as soon as it finished on the radio, I picked up my guitar and wrote the following song.

When all the sad Romeos you call companions
have found their way back to the night;
and all your engagements for debutante stages
aren’t coming as fast as they might;
when the crowd you enamored decides you’re a scam
and finds some other queen for your throne,
and you’re trying not to weep, trying to sleep, trying so hard
to forget that you’re sleeping alone,

when your circle of friends fades to lines on the mirror
that tell you the years have gone by,
and your social connections just send their condolences
(sorry, they just can’t stop by);
when the world outside your side of which you’re so petrified
just might be nothing at all,
I’ll be around when there’s nobody else you can call.

When you’ve played Cleopatra and Anthony’s gone,
and your lovers have found other roles;
when the rest of the blessed have begun to confess
they’ve no need for your broken down soul;
when your audience turns from compassion to apathy,
leaving the theater bare,
and you’re trying not to weep, trying to sleep, trying so hard
to forget that there’s nobody there;

when you’re shunned like a leper by all the pretenders
you thought were your very best friends;
and the children you’ve raised turn their backs on you,
leaving you to wander alone ’til your end;
when you’re old and turned gray, and they take you away
’cause you can’t seem to find your way home,
I’ll be around when you don’t want to be all alone.

When all your imagined battalions of Galahads
fade back into the mist,
and you find your influence has faded to nothing
and you’re not so hard to resist;
when those princes on horseback find some other maidens
to seek out and rescue from pain,
and you’re trying not to weep, trying to sleep, trying so hard
to pretend that it’s all still the same;

when the dreams you were promised turn out to be nightmares,
and all of your hopes turn to tears;
when your vanity fades and you pull down the shades
and think back on the faraway years;
when you’re lost in the night, and even the cold moonlight
has left you, and you’re all alone —
I’ll be around when you need me to take you back home.

You can come on home.


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Hallows 1997

a remembrance

The flames lick against the side of a rusted drum;
Something rustles behind the apple trees,
And a dog runs barking into the lowering dark,
Joyously fierce as its sound echoes against
The walnut stand along the creek.
I flick a cigarette ash into the diesel stained air
And suppress a shiver from the night –
Another frost settling down on this October twilight.

A lamp inside the storm plastic window by the door
Glows incandescent warm and inviting;
I can hear the soft murmur of the evening news
As it rises and falls against the whisper of the furnace.
In the windbreak of the shed I watch the fire
Flash and caress the falling blackness,
Feel its heat flicker against my face in patterns
Of Hallowe’en orange and ebony.

The whine of the all-night combines reaches out
Across the half-barren land, exciting the young puppies
With its strange roar and threshing; while the Harvest moon
Bathes the rooftops with its slowing rising amber.
What dreams have found their way across this silent sky
To slip unnoticed into the great horizon of grain?
My shadow, cast against the peeled and graying barn
Rocks back and forth in quiet contemplation.

I lost my childhood on this spot, this faded hill of green,
And buried it among the weeds that grow unchecked
While my endless struggle wanes and wretches,
Shouting pleas to ancient timbers; when it wakes
Will I remember, once or twice more, the grasping cold
Ground and fight, desperate, its bitter memory?
Or will I turn, again, away, and looking back, forget
My lonely cries of summer tossed against this wind?

19 OCT 1997

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Gray Days #4

She’s waiting on the deputy, but he never comes;
got her finger on the trigger, sucking silent on her thumb;
and the ninety ninth caller has just been struck dumb:
like an old pair of stockings he just turned to run.

She’s waiting on the postman, but he’s just got advice;
got her hands on the counter, stirring tea in her spice;
and the TV show hostess is colder than ice:
like an old pair of shoes, she tries everything twice.

She’s waiting on the milkman, but he’s running late;
got her lips on the coffee cup, dripping stains on her plate;
and the radio spokesman has just sealed his fate:
like an old book of matches, he scratches the slate.

She’s waiting on the savior, but he never calls;
got her mind turned to worry, her eyes on the walls;
and the Jehovah’s Witness  sounds just like Lou Rawls:
like an old rusted needle, the pressure just falls.

She’s waiting on the preacher, but he’s been sent home;
got her hair in her fingers, pressing it to the phone;
and the roving reporter is standing alone:
like an old saint at twilight he’s trying to get stoned.


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Alone Again

Alone again or so it seems
and yet my street of broken dreams
goes on and on.

The moon has kissed the sun goodbye
and yet hello, a kiss with which
to build a dream upon.

Childhood wanderings in lands
of dragons’ wings and foolish fancy
now begin the slow and wondrous
journey to the dawn;

and all alone again I wonder
how much longer I can carry on.

Back-lit silver silhouette,
a shadow lighting cigarettes
in time with me.

Purple grayish ashen rings
lilt carelessly
as tender summer breeze,

floating through the evening sky
to unknown destinations,
ones that we can feel but never see;

and once again I am alone,
a child full grown
but lost in make believe.


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Chandelier’s Left Wink and Blinding

Ceiling now in staring anguish,
once the eyes I found and lost;
last few moments, caught myself
and wound my winding sheet about it.

Words are not the thing for speaking:
truth, in little hardened bitters,
shows itself as one with hopeless
causes, self-aversion dramas,
Lysistratic coffee conscience.

Why when said it natural felt
the need to press and fold?
Enfolded leipedoptera means
no beauty, pins and needles.

I hate this feeling, wanting
knowing nothing offered is worth taking; yet
submittal, anything for just two fleeting
words, both of contradiction.

Given it is gone, and yet while nothing
hurts its purpose, still expect
you’ll never see what pain is
in the place where you are not.


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