RIDICULOUS MAN

his face veiled in a kind of melancholy

crowds gather noisily, bluster about him

he steps on to the grand stage of history

mother’s kiss still tingling on his brow


with each appearance

he is a little older

and a little more detached

from this world

he is a ridiculous man

he is a modern day illywacker


a professional trickster, spieler

a weaver of lines

he follows the shows, where the money goes

a salesman conjuring infallible tonics

he pulls the wool over their eyes


it’s true, he is full of contradiction

but even this still renders his destiny

more beautiful, more clumsy than a first kiss

more beautiful, more clumsy than a first kiss


with each appearance

he is a little older

and a little more detached

from this world

he likes composing

his own history

from the most pitiful of lies

he is a ridiculous man

he is a modern day illywacker


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 

if he could reduce his life

to scraps of paper

half-truths and inkstained relics

an unreliable exhibition

of a distant time

pinned to a board

like butterflies behind glass


but you can’t pin memory

or thread it on a string

when it swirls and flutters

like ticker tape falling

ticker tape falling on the parade of life


if he could reduce his life

to all his liquid absorbed

to preserve his true flavour

an unreliable concoction

sweetened to taste and last

and shelved in the dark like jam bottled in glass


could you reduce his life

to secondhand stories

from the past

half-truths and ink-stained relics

an unreliable reflection

and fading with time

as he evaporates in his ward

like a butterfly caught in glass


let it fall and let it fall down


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

TICKERTAPE

so many times

we passed on the stairs

exchanged smiles

with a self conscious flick of the hair

pleasantries

at the coffee machine

your effervescence deceived

fast acting, temporary relIef


how could I have known that

inside you were dissolving

like aspirin

anything to kill the pain

inside you were dissolving

like aspirin


so many cc’d emails

small talk in subject line

sharing risque euro adverts

and powerpoint self help slides


the causes for which we rallied

signing petitions on-line

all the virtual chain letters

forwarded to pass the time



words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

ASPIRIN


GHOST TRAINS


all along the railway bridge

gazanias sprout from the cracks

in weathered redgum

so true and straight spined

like battlefield crosses

monuments to another time

can you imagine

their roots below

dangling free in the gentle breeze

above the bracken gully

where cows hidden graze

in the moonshadow


those hardy tendrils

tough as dog spikes

spring forth

while a hundred scented faces

crane north

to the waxing moon

and the rattling approach of ghost trains


the old signal box

with it’s weatherboards peeling

like skin blistered

from a hundred summers or more

lays haunted, strangled

by the claws of some noxious weed

and the rattling approach of ghost trains


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 


& SO IT GOES

fist-thumping poly

hair parted neatly to the right

what high hopes

what high hopes we had

softly-spoken crusader

hugging babies to his breast

like a self-conscious christ

what high hopes he had


eyesight failing

weak of heart

he strokes his majority

cautiously


he plugged his doctrine

at the meet and greet

on the abc

what high hopes we had

while every press release

and crisp shirt policy

paints a portrait

of times like these

eyesight failing

weak of heart

he strokes his majority

cautiously


eyesight failing

weak of heart

he strokes his majority

cautiously blood pressure rising

is he falling apart

and in the minority

cautiously


and so it goes

on and on

what high hopes we had

and so it goes

on and on


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 
SO REAL

there were some memories

so real

he could squeeze them

in one hand

until the juice

ran down his wrist

there was some evidence

concealed

truth was tortured

behind locked doors

and blood washed

from their hands


so real

so real

so real as the very life within him


there was a father

who steeled

and cast himself

against the tide

until the water

lapped round his neck

but he wouldn’t go under


those memories

so real

when they’re all you’ve got

and all you can feel

and the trade offs

and the deals

life’s sacrificed

under corporate wheels

and the stain

won’t wash from their hands

we won’t let the stain

wash from their hands


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 


WELL SUNG


waking with an attitude

checkin’ out the cannons dude

fixin’ my invisible stare

then the world intervenes

slippery as an infomercial

impossible as bert newton’s hair


the dark forces

them’s the causes

the dark forces


here’s another verse

things are spinning in reverse

my aspirations

take a turn for the worse


sometimes i’m the singer

sometimes i’m just well sung


70 in a 60 zone

you’ve left your run

to late from home

bet there’ll be

a fine in the mail

boss is waiting at the door

please explain the week before

who said that justice

always prevails


just another story

from my twisted inventory

is life about toeing the line


i’ve got an everpresent feeling

the parrots set the ceiling

i’m a circus flea in a biscuit tin

in the de cafeteria

there’s no mass hysteria

they’re safe

in their cotton wool skin


they’re lowering

the monkey-bars

airbags on the dodgem cars

the only scars you find

are within


no ego in my stance

no socks in my pants

can’t you see i’m well sung


words: Steve Lane/John Holton/Chris Townsend

music: Steve Lane/Aaron Wales

 
LITERARY MAN

her sundress swished

white straps on brown

a hint of peppermint

as she brushed passed


he read the first chapter

of a norman mailer biography

just to share the same sq. metre

and forgetting how to breathe


he was normally a literary man

but he lure of non fiction can

blur the lens of truth and fiction

so briefly

everyman’s affliction


her red lips kissed

brown straps on white

a hint of sandalwood

back home at last


he forgot to get

the latest isabel allende

she wanted to read

when you share

the same square metres

the air can be sweeter to breathe


he was normally a literary man

but he lure of non-fiction can

blur the lens

of truth and fiction

so briefly

everyman’s a fiction


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 
LOVES NO WAY

that’s no way

to treat a friend

you knew that more

than anyone

there was no sense

that you could mend

you drank the warm

montana sun


your path was fixed

let’s not pretend

that love’s no way

to treat a friend


the secrets of past tense transcend

all the good

that you have done

the poet’s heart

the stories penned

but you could never be the favourite one


and you never rode the trend

cause love’s no way

to treat a friend


a shotgun blast

and time suspends

the nation’s long

forgotten son

truth and history gently bend

you write your end

akin to donne


oh, the manuscripts

you’ll never send

cause love’s no way

to treat a friend


a phone rings in san francisco...the end


words: John Holton

music: Jimmy Williams/Steve Lane

 


SONG  FOR A NEW YEAR

done and dusted

leave the pain of the year

the hope of tomorrow

the promise of a slate thats clear  


is there such a leap

between 99 and a century

new year’s day from new years eve

and who is to believe

another set of numbers could set me free

leave caesar to his own reality


the ebb and flow of time

tamed to make the numbers fit

it’s embedded in our psyche

our stories march to it


what ever may

let it come

let it go


those days will fade away

let them come

let them go


whoever may

let them come

let them go


you can have whatever you want

but there’s a price

and can you pay


words: Steve Lane/John Holton

music: Steve Lane

APRIL TUESDAY

it’s the saddest thing

between the depth of love and it’s reflection

this deficit needs correction

we long for things we cannot know


our generosity

and how we choose to receive it

the leap it takes to accept what love is

for longing and giving is what we do


even when we know

our dying

must be done alone


it’s the maddest thing

to hold it all inside you

and wonder why love is misconstrued

for grasping and consuming only deepens your want


if our philosophy

was to give and give until you had none

to focus on the needs of someone

would we find we had all we need?



words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane


 
THE SADDEST THING


as your birthday  approaches

i thank the stars and the tides

the summer breezes

and winter storms

from sunrise until dawn


all the happy accidents

of time and space and lore

and coincidence, sliding doors

that bought my path

to collision with yours


april tuesday


oh the outlandish science of it all

beyond calculus, beyond reason

and the lives we have created

from ripples that begun

on an april tuesday morn


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 
FEWER THINGS

she got herself a boyfriend

tho she told her dad

she wouldn’t need one

until she was a t least 17

going to watch him play football

on the weekend ‘cause that’s what you do

he hopes the boy will return the deed sometime


you are

so beautiful

capable

inspirational

all i hope for you

is to be all that you can be


‘cause the world can be a cruel place


she got a bullet

because someone didn’t like what she was saying

or that she talked at all

that she should be free to go to school

choose a career, dream big dreams

an obscenity for a girl


you are

so beautiful

capable

inspirational

all i hope for you

is to be all that you can be


‘cause the world can be a cruel place for a girl


words/music: Steve Lane


 
THIRTEEN

most facts are just a wild, wild guess

like half of what you read on-line

88% of statistics are made up on the spot

just like that one

like the speed of a cheetah

or the odds of being eaten by a shark

or being mugged in an alley after dark

chances are

someones quoting this as we speak

jamming the airways with their own wiki leaks


Rogue data, infiltrating everywhere

every atom, every ion

terabytes of numbers

petabytes of noise


there are fewer things in heaven or earth

than you ever imagined

but we cant bare

the sound of silence

when ther eis nothing at all


most meditation is just sedation of a teeming mind, unable to unwind

or so i am told, cause I always hold

a million ideas in my brain

tick, tick ticking away

drip, drip dripping down from my ears

salty like tears

there’s a traffic jam

in my neurological pathway

night and day


rogue impulses, infiltrating everywhere

every electron, every neuron

exabytes of numbers

zettabytes of noise


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 

there are so many things

I want to ask of you

small details there to note

and gaps left to fill


but you are not a catalogue

just the women beside me

as this train hurtles through tunnels & cuttings

to a goodbye in a station carpark


this is not a love song

this is not a love song

this is not a love song

already i miss you


I know that there are questions

that you have of me

and there are many many more

that are best left unsaid


for i am not a menu board

all my wares are not on show

what we share is something never sold

and worth more than the finest gold



words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

NOT A LOVE SONG


SIDE TRACKED


the universe

always

takes its time

 

only humans

create competition

for its own sake

 

the fastest

the strongest

the peoples’ choice

 

while you extend

your hand

in quiet acceptance


no matter  how convoluted

the more side tracks the better


replace speed

with steadfastness

a place to be

 

we are all somewhere

between here and home

a point and a line


words: John Holton

music: Steve Lane

 

sometimes, I think of you

in your one-room apartment

folding paper poetry cranes

the legacy entrusted

a shadow cast 

by candle light

changing the world 

one crease at a time


just you, your words and birds taking flight

just you, your words and birds taking flight

it seems absurd but you never lose sight

that you, your words and birds are taking flight


there are easier ways

to make sense of this world

but none more poignant

than your finger pressing a line

a protest more startling

than a street full of placards

a ripple

with no logical end



words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

BIRDS TAKING FLIGHT
THE NIGHT SHIFT


it could be just you and I

alone in this world tonight

floating in a sea of opiates


pleasure punctuated by pain

like nothing I've ever known

& a disconnect between my left and right brain


you ask me for a rating

a scale from one to ten

you're talking pain, but I'm drifting

off-shore again


you’re a twelve baby

and rising by the second


Billy Clinton, he's telling me

about Monica Lewinsky

says she's a twelve... baby


I see Adrianna and her boxes

baby John Burgess, a TV colossus

and he knew a twelve, when he saw one


do my pupils betray

come fly away.... honey

no need to stay

I'm a waiting just off-shore


you’re a twelve baby

and rising by the second


just off the richter scale

and I lived to tell the tale!

just off the richter scale

oh yeah

words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 

we spin like tops

until momentum betrays

and gravity cannot hold us down

then emanate

through leaves of trees, lover’s breath

sons and daughters, cells and blood


you can cut all the flowers

but you can’t keep the spring from coming

count down the hours

but you’ll never predict it’s end


love is so short

forgetting is so long


ilay in my bed

southern cross in my window, perfectly framed

but the boldest star. steals my gaze

could all your years be absorbed

into a light so bright

hanging in the darkest night



words/music: Steve Lane

FORGETTING IS SO LONG


A THING I CANNOT NAME

all my life my heart has yearned

for a thing I cannot name


I used to think that the surrealists

like their melting clocks, had no soul

 

that the longing I felt

(the scratch I could not itch)

was an affliction, so personal

 

but the mention of those words

brings a wistful nod

from those who ache secretly


measuring days by degrees

for a thing we cannot name


all my life my heart has yearned

for a thing I cannot name

 

for we are all like andre’s horses

galloping across a tomato

 

that old guy in the park

the stationery shop girl

all longing for something we cannot name

 

measuring days by degrees

for a thing we cannot name

our hearts yearning, souls thirsting

for a thing we cannot name

all my life my heart has yearned

for a thing I cannot name


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane

 


FAR, FAR AWAY

i miss every minute of you in the long long days

between dripping canvas and life’s salty haze

the longing of sea and mud and mosquito coils

and soft, soft flesh pressed

in a poem far, far away


the pipers and the fidlers played

on the village green

like something from lawrence

something long foreseen

like bit players  in a seaside tragedy

cast there as love’s bait the briefest reverie


now kiss by kiss, we disappear

between the lines of fading sentences

our misplaced souvenir

beneath the filaments of an unreliable memory

to a tent by the ocean

in a poem far, far away


i never saw a wild thing sorry for itself

but this song  keeps on singing me

and I ain’t gonna sing nothin else

still bit players  in a seaside tragedy

cast me there as love’s bait

throw away the key


a hammock slung between venus and mars

leaves you plenty of space to dream

give me that crescent moon

on a midsummers monsoon

and i’m back at the scene


words: John Holton/Steve Lane

music: Steve Lane