The street beneath my feet Has never let me down Unlike the people Who think they own this town I tried my luck But the cards were cut When I complained I was told to shut up Goodbye black, hello blue What happens next depends on you I miss the world I thought I knew Goodbye black, hello blue I gave myself to you But then you lost your nerve I was your army Always ready to serve You cut me off And you burned my flag I surrender In peace I pack my bag Goodbye black, hello blue I'll spend my life forgetting you I'll miss the dreams that won't come true Goodbye black, hello blue So I'll be off Until who knows when I'll see you in the stars Until the broken heal again Goodbye black, hello blue What happens now we can't undo I'll miss the love I never knew Goodbye black, hello blue (c) Frank Howson 2017 Title suggested by Chris Thomas.
Stop arguing with people who don't want to know. Look at the small print. Listen to your heart. Stop yearning for what is gone. Look out for children. Listen to what is not said in a conversation. Stop worrying about tomorrow, you may not be here. Look into someone's eyes to view their soul. Listen to the silence just before you drift off to sleep. Stop pushing for things you don't really need. Look and learn. There's a lesson in everything. Listen to your inner voice. If something doesn't feel right, it isn't. Stop the wars fought for nothing. Look after yourself. Listen to the warm. (c) Frank Howson 2017 photography by Vanessa Allan.
There is a toll for every virtue There is a tax for hearts like yours You didn't deserve your crazy childhood Or the loss of the brother you loved Cut down by animals in the night Those are scars that don't wash away No matter how many tears you cry When I'll think of you I'll see your smile And think of the battles you fought to be Let down by so many, we're only human, baby And both had rocky roads to bear You tried so hard to stand beside me You tried so hard to hold me close But you had too many ghosts to haunt you And they all got in our path In those hours after midnight When I knew I couldn't stay We were both two orphans We used to laugh and say But you got away, baby But why did it have to be this way? You were always such a loyal friend And you loved me to a fault Looking back you may've believed in me more than anyone And loved me more than I deserved But why did you have to prove your point like this? Gone, and taking all the laughter Gone, and taking all the kindness Gone, and taking all tomorrows And what may've been for you and yours The trouble with you was you cared for everyone Like a child in search of her own But too many things cluttered our space And we lost ourselves Too many things leave us alone Perhaps you got carried away by a foolish idea That all romantics exit like this But did you think of the pain you leave us? Did you want us to hurt so we'd understand yours? Too many questions without answers Just like those nights we'd argue until dawn I tried so hard to help you To make sense of what you'd been through But you couldn't understand me Your hurt was too deep to be cured Now every evening at sunset I'll look at that blazing sun and think of you It's going to take a lot to forgive The hurt you have bestowed us with So many took advantage So many manipulated behind the scenes They didn't realize how fragile you were Or perhaps they did And if so, they have blood on their hands I'll remember you pretty as a picture And a smile that'd light up a room With the excited joy of a child And those mad conversations that made no sense That ended in laughter or tears If you wanted part of my heart you have it But this was no way to take it It could've been yours for free (c) Frank Howson 2017
There's nothing more I need in a woman's eyes It's a lonely, hollow, comforting feeling Finally knowing that I am empowered and can no longer be conned With the promise of something wonderful That will ultimately be paid for In blood and tears I now appreciate all people without any agenda Other than to laugh and share some joy while we are still here And at the heart of it that's all that matters We hide behind so many veils in our youth Playing roles that can't be sustained Even the greatest actors can only summon up King Lear Once a night Free at last I thought God almighty free at last All I wanted was peace And some joy And someone to share the good times with But each candidate brought their carriage of problems Their hurt caused by another Their suspicions caused by another Their jealousy caused by another With no one to take it out on but me So what should've been joyous times were ruined Laughter replaced by tears Kindness viewed with cynicism Until it was turned into something nasty That could only be understood by them And this was called a relationship Others would deem it a prison Some, hell It reduced life to a death And made fools of those who had craved it I still believe in some things But less by the day I wonder how much of us must whither Before we pass away? I am not a killer And yet the faces of several people who have used me Flash through my mind every day I am considered a kind man By some, a strong man And yet I could kill a handful of people without a thought Maybe most of us could With a clear conscience As we would write it off As a public service Our act would save other good souls From being exploited and then Thrown away to be useless Having given them mansions So that we could settle down on someone else's couch While they rewrote history to alienate the ones you loved The most Yet they weren't charged with your murder? But perhaps justice is yet to be served And if we took it upon ourselves to render it Would the government not erect statues to us? They would've in bygone days Some people don't deserve to be called human They don't act it, they don't think it, they don't care They love to destroy other people's lives and values and then leave others to deal with the mess They are spiritual vampires Why should they be allowed to get away scott free Sipping their white wine Repeating other people's opinions Only to laugh And destroy another day Another life? I missed my calling I should've been Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson Riding the range With the power to take or give life Where and how I saw it But instead of a badge and a revolver I was given a suit and a tie And an expectation of what I had to achieve In a gentleman's world I failed Because of those I let into my life with their promises of "This will be fun" and "I will always love you" and "Thank you so much for your kindness, it won't be forgotten" But it was by the next day Which brings me back to the gun And why I am lost Between the cracks of right and wrong Watch your step Night is falling I'm considering becoming Jewish Just so I'll know where my home is (c) Frank Howson 2017 photograph by Vanessa Allan.
And so it goes Once again I gave my all Which wasn't enough When I was happy I was too happy When I cried There weren't enough tears To please everybody When I broke It was so quiet No one heard I died that night That night you ruined my Christmas Alone in my room Well, what was left of me But still I went on Not wanting to let anyone down I was expected at so many events And people are so easily offended So here we are Going through the motions Of an impersonation Of a man in control Of nothing There were no obituaries Only slaps on the back Some a little too hard And hollow For a sensitive soul Some hadn't been felt like this Since the murder of unsuspecting Julius But they got the wrong man I didn't set out to conquer Rome Or live for praise Only to make my mother proud And a safe place Where I could do my work In peace And not be envied Or pitied Or slandered Or made to stand trial Sometimes I think of the frightened boy I was And lost And shed a tear When someone notices I say I have something in my eye I lie And they believe me I am a fugitive of your heart Misjudged Miscast Misplaced Washed ashore Writing stories That turn out to be premonitions For those who have tired of happy endings About men on the run From a society that too readily believes The worst in us Cursed with too good a memory It is impossible to forget Every scar Every betrayal My face lined with lessons learned The hard way And there's nothing you can take to change that As Elvis found out Looking back Perhaps my only lasting friend has been the night And that glimpse of heaven That moment just before dawn When the world is so silent You can hear God's breath If you listen close enough That long night When I forget to sleep Because I'm addicted to the clarity Of each rushing thought That won't come again And my job is to capture as many As possible Before they are gone Like the women Stampeding over the edge And free falling Into the darkness of the abyss Joining my dreams of a happy home And all those beautiful things I didn't say to the right one Who withered from waiting too long And has now gone to Florida To teach people how to act So they can at least get things right in their art And be convincing enough to pass as a human being Without an alarm I awaken to find All victories shallow All risks ill-timed My laughter too loud to be acceptable My critics misinformed and better suited to The sports page Where the results are more easily ascertained My women merely visions That fade too soon Building residue in my heart That heart that is too strong to break Even by experts But weeps For missing persons Beneath the burden of searching for resolutions It may never find Not even at 3am I too gambled for our savior's clothes Winning only his crown of thorns And the identity Of a man who travels by the light of the moon Some say he is based on a true story (c) 2017 Frank Howson
Harold Davies had finally made it. Well, he’d been famous for a lot of things in his life, coming in and out of fashion over about 40 years. But now he was back with a bona fide smash. It was familiar ground but had eluded him for long enough now to be truly grateful for its unexpected return.
Early in your life this sort of success feeds your ego and you expend that on women who don’t really care and parties that all merge into each other until they resemble a Fellini nightmare. Pretty soon the money goes and so do the people who pretended to care.
Then you vow that next time success comes you’ll be so much wiser. But you never are.
Harold had learnt much. In fact, people came to him to ask for his wisdom in the hope that it would solve the problems in their lives. Harold tried to explain that he wasn’t born wise – in fact, he’d been an idiot – and that his wisdom was based on having made every mistake in the book during his life. But unlike most, Harold had learnt from those mistakes and this is how wisdom is acquired.
He had regrets. He’d been married three times because he was a hopeless romantic and so eager to find true happiness he kept on committing to the wrong women. Some of them were the most beautiful women in the world until you got to know them.
He came to feel that there needed to be a rehab for romantics. Women weren’t Madonnas and men weren’t Messiahs. We were just people stumbling around in the dark carrying all the baggage of our childhood and shattering other people’s lives in the process of sorting it out. Unless you were one of the lucky ones. Harold, clearly, wasn’t. He had a friend who’d been married for 40 years to the same woman and that man and his wife were as in love today as they were when they first met. Every time Harold saw them it brought a tear to his eye and he used to always tell them, “Never let each other go. You don’t realize how hard it is to find what you’ve had.”
Harold suddenly had fame and money again and beautiful women were once more noticing him and laughing at his witty conversation. And although he could’ve gone home with any of them, it didn’t matter anymore. His best was behind him and he was smart enough to know it. He no longer had the time to go through the motions. Every second now counted. This year alone seven of his friends had passed away so he was constantly being reminded of how precious time was.
He had nothing to spend his money on anymore. Maybe a few new clothes, some CDs, books he’d never find time to read, dinners with friends, and paying the rent. That was it. He could no longer be tempted by wild women, or booze, or drugs, or parties. They were all illusion and it was too painful to wake alone.
There were now plans to do a documentary on his life, even talk of being honoured by the Government, Lifetime Achievement Awards, etc., etc. But it didn’t matter anymore. Sometimes Harold was sad that some of these things would’ve meant so much to him when he was struggling and still believed, but now he had no one to impress anymore. And realized how hollow it all was.
Projects and offers were coming in daily and yet all Harold wanted to do was go home to his little apartment that he loved and put his feet up and watch mindless TV. He’d come to believe that the most precious commodities in life were peace and joy. And joy came from finding beauty in the most simple things in life. A walk in the park. The smile of a child. A bargain on the shopping list. Running into an old friend. It was certainly not found in regret, or fear, or beating yourself up over things that could no longer be changed.
He had forgiven those who had conspired to damage his career. And in the process he has forgiven himself for playing the game in the first place.
He was happy to go now. He’d lived through the greatest period of music ever – the Sixties – had met many of his idols, and no longer saw the lasting value in anything new. He’d been ruined by giants whose like we wouldn’t much see again. The pain in being too smart is that you realize all this and know you’re damned to a wasteland that doesn’t cater for you anymore.
Yes, Harold’s true friends were so pleased that he had made a comeback and was now the flavor of the month again. And Harold was pleased to see those who were pleased for him.
But there was a price for looking too long into the abyss and reporting to the public what it was like. A price for feeling things too deeply. A price for loving a son who’d been fed lies and now shunned him. A price for loving with all your heart. A price for being kind to those who betrayed you. A price.
And, as the Scriptures say….”If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Harold appreciated his new found success. But not too much. He had been taught some time ago that the road to God is through humility.
Sometimes when he thought about the wasted years and all the great things he could’ve done he felt angry but mostly sad for that young man who’d been shut out of the industry at his prime. Oh, the things he could’ve done. But now it was gone. Gone, gone, gone. And this was all we had. And in everyone’s life there is the same story.
While Harold was busy making his dinner he received a phone call from a prestigious magazine that wanted to do a feature story on him. But he declined. The editor was so stunned he phoned back to ask why Harold would refuse such a sought after honour?
All Harold could say, in his cracked voice that reflected his broken spirit, was that it was “Too late. Too late.”
The editor was still talking when Harold hung up the phone.
(c) Frank Howson 2016
I hear the trumpet sound
But is it of the sky or ground?
It’s hard to find without a link
When the world’s forgotten how to think
And women dress for Babylon
To glow and bloom and then are gone
The devil moves you like a pawn
You’ve been played like that since you were born
We misunderstood the Judas kiss
And now it’s come to all of this
Where sex is love and hate is fine
And to tell the truth is to cross the line
Where information is at our fingertips
And yet ignorance springs from our lips
We kneel to say our prayers
And pray to God that someone cares
But just like that tale of Ruth
We get persecuted for the truth
We never found the promised land
It was a myth like the helping hand
So we freeze in our winter of discontent
Where there are no replies to our letters sent
I live in a house of lonely men
Where you relive it again and again
They say when it finally makes sense
We’ll be reimbursed for all our expense
But while Billy and Joey think it’s a crock
I sit staring at the clock
There’s a Pilate waiting to judge us all
And he’ll wash his hands and try to stall
Because it frightens us to the core
To know the roles we’ve been cast for
But maybe one day when I’m through this phase
I’ll call you to talk of old days
And not to take anything you don’t want to give
Or to tell you how to live
But just to rest my head on yours
And tell you I love you because…
(c) Frank Howson 2016