LYRICS

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CLICK TITLES TO SEE LYRICS

 

'you may hear footsteps...'

1 The First to Go

2 Ballad of the Winter Cowboy

3 House of Retribution (Matty Says)

4 I Won't Dance

5 Howling Dogs

6 Ain't it Funny

7 Two Steps From the Door

8 Not One Word

 

Live @ the Lass OíGowrie 

1 Between the Blessed and the Damned

2 Love's Lost and Found

3 Not Words Just Shadows

4 When You Talk Like This

5 Wail, Wail, Wail

 

 

 

Ďyou may hear footstepsÖí 
 

THE FIRST TO GO
 

I felt like Robert Lowell

thinking on the Union dead

and my mind went tripping back

to something she once said

when my road was lined with silver

and my heart betrayed few fears

and nothing but a shadow

marked the passing of the years 
 

And she said ďDonít leave me aloneĒ

ďyou donít turn me awayĒ

ďI will not be the first to goĒ 
 

then I was Chennault

chasing Madame Chiang Kai-shek

across the pages of a history book

where truths bounce like bad cheques

from a summer of indifference

to an autumn of reveals

and the winter of our discontent

like a mad dog at our heels 
 

and when I woke the room

seemed to double up in size

dimensions so unusual

through the strangers of my eyes

and I thought about the lonely road

I travel for the game

but as I mark the distance

did someone call my name? 
 

 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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BALLAD OF THE WINTER COWBOY 
 

Heís like a catholic cowboy watch him moving through the peak hour crowd

Like heís moving cattle Ďcross a mesa

Heís a walking Ďhow not toí; I can see it in his strange little shuffle

And the way that his eyes get so distracted

Somewhere over his rainbow

Monochrome road sign in some mid-western sky

Chasing what he thinks is an Indian maid

With his hands full of glass beads

And that look in his eye. 
 

Sometimes when I lay my head in sweetheartís naked lap

I get to thinking

And sometimes she responds and sometimes she seems so far away

Like maybe she knows him

When he pushed inside her

Why, she just disappeared into the night

Left him alone and aí wondering why

I never thought this cowboy

Would freeze up in fright. 
 

Now winter is upon us and we feel ourselves returning

Back to the wool, back to the leather

He gets back to the clocks and the routines but the signs

Only unguarded eyes could uncover

And she calls for coffee

And she buries her hand deep in her jeans

She pulls out some lint and small change

Why there it is

One lonesome, glass bead. 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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HOUSE OF RETRIBUTION (MATTY SAYS)
 

Hey, where you going I need a ride

Got my daddyís temperament

But not his way of flying

I was born near the river but I am not going back

But Matty says the house of retribution

Sits somewhere just beyond the tracks 
 

Iím open handed; Iím a ball and jack

Bend to me baby Ďless you want to crack

I havenít smiled in so long,

Not since I shed my alloy shell

But Matty says the house of retribution

Is the length of a scent from hell. 
 

Youíre slowing down now, Iím grinning wide

I pick my bag up, dust off my pride

Itís cool and inviting

And I slide right in

But Matty says the house of retributionÖ

Oh, whatís gone wrong with him? 
 

Hey where you going, I need a ride. 
 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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I WONíT DANCE
 

Welcome home howís it feel back on the bottom

Heart attacks now donít you wish that you had got Ďem

See the face staring through the window pane

No baby it ainít me 
 

You opened gates and you let the monster out

I told you once now I ainít got the voice to shout

Fistful of dollars thatís all you got to show for it

No baby it ainít me 
 

Cause I wonít dance

Get yourself back home

I wonít dance

Better learn to leave me alone 
 

You cast a vote just one in twenty million

That ainít sunset itís corporate vermillion

Your childrenís future you delivered to the devil

No baby it ainít me 
 

Two storey house letís hope the dollar holds

Two sets off keys one on a ring pushed through your nose

Mock the thoughtful but whatís that shadow on your lawn

No baby it ainít me 
 

Cause I wonít dance

Get yourself back home

I wonít dance

Better learn to leave me alone 
 

You smell the fires someoneís burning up the hate

Itís cars then books and then you know itís all too late

Not your fault so whoís that running up your stairs

No baby it ainít me 
 

Cause I wonít dance

Get yourself back home

I wonít dance

Better learn to leave me alone 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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HOWLING DOGS 
 

Howling dogs in the night, I swear Iíd know them by sight

I am lonely but it is not so clear now

Car lights grab at the signs; Iíve borrowed money and time

I am waiting like Chandlerís hero.

Shadows harden with light and given form that hurts my sight

It was clear once but now I have no black and white TV.

Age has stripped my world of rhyme I gather clues but blur the lines

Still bend my back now but itís not the pleasure it used to be. 
 

Here I stand a world away from the man I knew only yesterday

No map, no sign and no right of way

Just this dusty road which will fade like a lost loversí vow. 
 

Cities fall, they re-appear, the damned cry out and no one hears

But the hangman has no conscience, has no memory.

Nations slide to habits old, with new faces and new resolve

While the dollar feeds and forgives an ancient beast.

I wander among the ones I knew, whose colours change from red to blue

And theyíre contented to watch while their love is run aground.

With rationale the days the time will smear, they wonít pick up a voice unclear

But despair runs faster than the speed of sound. 
 

Howling dogs in the night, a symphony for a man in flight,

A midnight tattoo for this lonely passing out parade.

The years roll on Iím at a loss, is it the crescent or the cross?

Or is the wasteland the only place Iíll find reason for this age?

With pounding hands and restless heart and no idea of where to start

Iíll burn all I know and scatter ashes to this hungry time.

Iíll poison this well kept lawn; Iíll leave the keys hang in the door

You may hear footsteps but you may not see this moment shine.                 

 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
 
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AINíT IT FUNNY 
 

Ainít it funny how a story gets hungry?

Ainít it funny how the time slides around?

Now I hold you dear, in my memory unclear

While my faith hibernates underground. 
 

I remember when I sang for my momma

When I sang for my daddy too

But under the bridge in a songís secret code there for you. 
 

Now I stand on the corner

And wait for my bus in the rain

While my past jumps around like an unrehearsed clown

My mind and pockets they bulge with loose change 
 

And when I first saw you uncovered

Your skin had the lustre of milk

And just like a boy I reached for the hand that was dealt. 
 

The song of the lone gangsterís highway

Runs a rail beside the dark virginís sigh

And the ache for the taking has a life of its own

And strips the fat from the visions and signs. 
 

The full lips of youth they whispered

I love you now with every beat of my heart

But distracted I turned toward something burning and sharp 
 

Ainít it funny how a story gets hungry?

But I swear that I saw you last night

Cropped chestnut hair and a voice which made clear

Do not trust in this cold lonely light. 
 

Sometimes I still sing for my mother

Sometimes I sing for my daddy too

And sometimes at night, when reasonís in flight itís for you. 

 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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TWO STEPS FROM THE DOOR 
 

I sold the best of my bubblegum cards

And I chased a senorita across my yard

She said ďJohnny, Johnny come dance with meĒ

But Iíve done some things that you will never see

Down on the corner itís broad daylight

Some come running, some will take their time

Now Iíve lost the best but Iíve gained something

Roll over little darling and give me wings 
 

I ainít no fire on the plains

But Iíve been roped in again

Only two steps from the door 
 

Thereís a place I know where I can go to rest

Itís noisy and itís crowded but itís passed the test

She says ďJohnny, Johnny come and dance with me

Oh sweet darling, sweet memory

Iíve had some loving and Iíve had some fun

But Iím burning out now and time moves on 
 

She says thereís power in pain

And I fall for it again

Only two steps from the door 
 

Across my hall lives such a stupid man

He jumps and he hollers Ďtil he canít stand

Now Iíve been quiet but stupid still

Without barking and a jumping on my window sill

She says ďJohnny, Johnny come and dance with meĒ

ďIíll take you back then Iíll set you freeĒ 
 

She says ďCome back againĒ

And I walk out in the rain

Sheís only twp steps from the door 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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NOT ONE WORD 
 

Hush little baby donít look back

Itís just a whistle down a railway track 
 

But I will not say a word

No, no I will not say a word 
 

I canít comfort you like mamma can

But Iíll play a song from way back when 
 

If I had wings and I could fly

Iíd take myself to days gone by 
 

The woman I love is straight and tall

She moves her body like a cannonball 
 

But I will not say a word

No, no I will not say a word

Not one word 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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Live @ the Lass OíGowrie 
 

BETWEEN THE BLESSED AND THE DAMNED 
 

I am a worthless drifter from the shiny town Iíve come

Where the wheels of industry roll you aside as sure as night will move the sun

Where some still believe in future, some just turn to stone

Ainít no place for a man like me with nothing left but flesh and bone.

I can almost remember things but memory peels away like paint

And all that was important wonít fire the ashes in the grate

And I miss the sweet monotony of the factory and take home pay

And the back view of a hundred cars headed out to holiday. 
 

And we will all go down to the river together

Despite whatever we had planned

We will all go down to the river together

And drift between the blessed and the damned. 
 

I am a hopeless parasite from the farm I had to leave

With a government cheque in my back pocket and a habit up my sleeve.

And if you look youíll notice the hand is quicker than the eye

As quick as lightning as they flash to  surrender to the sky.

My daddy was a hard man he fought and played to win

No other strength could match his or escape his skull like grin

But when the creditors threw out the garbage it stuck to him head to heel

Then sorrow and the bottle brought the great man to his knees. 
 

I am a hungry sinner, a product of the age

I absorb all that you canít contain and I spew it back like rage

Be it country town or city, be it gutter or alley way

I lie quiet Ďtil evening comes and dark blurs right of way.

And at night I swallow my mouth as huge as Ahabís whale

I can take more in one go than any high flyer in Spain

And those who pray and those who pay will marvel at the sight

Of this back street avenging angel building chaos from the night. 
 

I am a worthless drifter, from the shiny town Iíve run

With my hand outs and my plastic shoes spread out like bones in the sun.

And I carry every name that hard times pitch and throw

My skin has pockets just for them over which a callus grows.

I am a worthless drifter, who now drinks without excuse

I can no longer tell the difference between affection and abuse

And I wish youíd called me sooner, wish you had loved me like a saint

I wish you were a long dark wall and my hands were dipped in paint. 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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LOVEíS LOST AND FOUND
 

Let me take you across this dusty, creaking floor

And weíll remember what it was that we both came here for

Not just a party, itís not just a dance

But we could turn it around on the wing of a chance

And thereís a hint of a waltz, a quickstep and a two-step

In this hallway between loveís lost and found. 
 

Way down in yonder valley lies a place that I call home

One day Iíll be beside her and I will have no cause to roam. 
 

Iíve thrown out all the pretenders and the debutantes

Iíve carved a line between what I need and what I want

And Iím careful not to judge too hard,

Iíve seen the mess out in my own backyard

But Iíll haul it away before the sun disappears

Behind the go-downs of loveís lost and found. 
 

My baby cries at night and tells me she feels so alone

Even when I lie beside her itís like Iíve never come back home. 
 

Perception hovers like a bird of prey over this great divide

And it rides the winds of change over a lonely night

It sees every stumble, it sees every fall

And at the moment I lose sight of it all

You hand it back and the dance starts again

Ďround the corner from loveís lost and found. 
 

Way down in yonder valley lies a place that I call home

One day Iíll be beside her and I will have no need to roam. 
                    

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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NOT WORDS JUST SHADOWS 
 

St. Christopher Ave. ainít worth a dime

When you spared the hours I was not inclined

It took all that I had just to get out of bed

As the delights of the evening poisoned my head 
 

But for you Iíve gone further than I thought I could

Iíd stripped the ornament from off of the hood

And in the icy cold lake I would linger for days

Waiting for you to go change your ways 
 

Now the light beats down as the summer rolls by

Ainít healing ainít warming just shows up the sky

And explains the fractures that should not be revealed

Youíve no words just shadows to close up the deal 
 

There is no other and there is no excuse

Though Iíve tasted love that smells like abuse

In the twilight purple somethingís dragging a load

I can see its great headlights as it pulls down the road 
 

I would run I would hide if I thought it would count

Iíd call out your name and hide near your mouth

But nothingís been spoken that would keep us both safe

So Iíll stand my ground until daylight breaks 
 

So the light beats down and summerís now gone

Itís not like the old days itís dry and it deformed

I hope youíre healing I hope youíre on the mend

But it ainít words just shadows that wait round the bend 
 

I long for something thatís as funny as sleep

With a taste of the beauty I used to drink deep

But right now it appears Iím under the gun

Of your bounty hunter whoís too much in the sun 
 

St. Christopher Ave. seems so far away

As I head into town at the breaking of day

With my thoughts in my pockets some change in my hands

A tune in my head and nothing else planned 
 

Now the light beats down and summerís a ghost

Iíve a vague thought Iíll head up the coast

And maybe youíre lonesome and maybe youíre free

It ainít words just shadows that connect you and me 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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WHEN YOU TALK LIKE THIS
 

Like a gold watch ticking in a dead manís hand

A gold watch ticking in a dead manís hand

When you talk like this baby I just donít understand 
 

Iíd walk a thousand miles just to kiss those lips

Iíd walk a thousand miles just to kiss those lips

Now I know why Helenís face launched a thousand ships 
 

I come a long way baby, take me to your room

I come a long way baby, take me to your room

I know itís late but I swear that itís none too soon 
 

Whatís that darling I smell another man

Whatís that darling I smell another man

Come over here and Iíll show you whatís in my hand 
 

Night is long but the moon wonít rise

Night is long but the moon wonít rise

They wonít see nothiní from the light in your eyes 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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WAIL, WAIL, WAIL 
 

Wail, wail, wail, catch a story by the tale

Wail, wail, wail, catch a story by the tale

Well the bones of this lie

Ainít tough enough to make it fly

Wail, wail, wail, catch a story by the tale 
 

Cry, cry, cry, oh sweet water running down

Cry, cry, cry, oh sweet water running down

Youíre so soft and youíre smooth

I forgot to make a move

Cry, cry, cry, oh sweet water running down 
 

Goodbye, bye, bye, itís just a sound along the trail

Goodbye, bye, bye, itís just a sound along the trail

This house is cold as hell

And thereís no water in the well

Goodbye, bye, bye, itís just a sound along the trail 
 

© words & music Ė Mark Lee 2007 
 
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