THE BARON AND ME

We will come when we're called to it. Cold golden elegance. Life for the baron and me. Deep beneath her red skirt, swimming in afterbirth. Beauty our children can breathe.

Don't leave me alone, because I'm dying, I swear. Wish for a kiss, not a whisper from me. But if you ever lie then I'm leaving, my sweet. I've no patience for you when you hurt me.

But what is the voice? Am I sleeping too much again? Dreaming too many bad dreams? And if I die tonight, I'll linger within her eyes and roll off her cheeks to the sea.

Don't ask me for answers. I swear to you, darling, I've nothing but questions for you. And if you ever lie then I'm leaving, my sweet. I can't stand all these things that you do.

CIRCUMSTANCES

So we get there, and the lock's broke, and the door's wide open. So I get out of the car, and he gets out on the other side of the car.

And the fighting resumes in the kitchen, and they're tying her up in the hall, and I'm hiding under a blanket, thinking of someone to call.

Secrets left unspoken, buried under the ground. Holy ways of being broken, of going too fast or being too proud.

And the fighting resumes in the kitchen. Now they're lining us up by the wall, and if I am not sorely mistaken, this could be the end for us all.

What could I do in that moment? Who was I trying to be? I only had hope that in going, there would be a better world waiting for me.

DEAD CITY SKYLINE

You were in your apartment when they gave you the call to say it's not our fault that you tried to dissolve into your bedroom floor, so composed and demure, but you spoke with such fear in your voice.

Just come back to my room, 'cause I think you're alright. We can sit on the carpet. You can have some red wine. You can sleep with my naked, our bodies entwined. You can know you're not dying tonight.

And here in the afterglow, warm breath and undertow. Just put on your clothes, then just go. My body is open wide, black steam behind your eyes, but I am yours, and you are not mine.

It's a tap on my door. It's an awkward advance. It's a kiss on the cheek. It's my hand down your pants. It's the son and the daughter that you'll never have. It's the way that we'll pay for our crimes.

From the lines in your skin to this dead city skyline, it aches with this burning design. There's beauty in emptiness, but beauty is drowning this. So take hold of me and just climb.

I dreamt of them in the water, how their backs looked like clay. And of you, and your ghost, how she kept me at bay. The remains of this longing, this hope and this ache, and I dreamt of my final escape.

THE FALL

Now this is the fall that I remember.

Embracing in the waterslide, the light and chlorine in your eyes. The twist and the tangle cries: "this is the preciousness of life".

And when I wake up tomorrow, when the sour apple autumn meets the full moon clear and free. Across the harrow and the hatchet, and the dolphins in the stream. Then I will tell you what I mean.

There is a better part of me.

There is a better part of me.

GYPSY SONG

All those hardened gypsy boys, running round with gypsy knives, take and leave their gypsy wives until there's not a dry wife-gypsy eye.

At the heart of this thing, the very heart of this thing, is the struggle to be what I cannot hold close to me. Not by force, not by cunning, not by begging or by running. Not by singing, or by sinning, or by reaching for my gun.

But by giving, and by living, me and mine may be as one.

So I breathe in a breath's worth of being, and I exhale the stars in the sky. And the inhale's the whole point of asking, but the exhale's not telling me why.

JOAN OF ARC

There's a fire in the schoolyard. All our children are ablaze. Standing in the dirty water, ashes mixing with the rain.

There were fires in the churches, now they say our god is dead. I know we're all alone here now, but I still pray at night in bed.

There was nothing that could save him. There was a crime, and he would pay. They hung him by the courthouse on our wedding day.

And the band played, quietly and slowly, some old funeral song for that baby she's holding. If I leave now, I would be more careless than carefree. But if this life has done one thing to please me, please tell me.

There's a fire in our hearts, love, and only blood can put it out. And there's static on the radio, and I think I hear the shout of a girl who swears she's dying, not of sickness, but of loss. She says the freedom that I've found comes at too great of a cost. She shouts: "if love is not the answer, then how can we be set free? How could you be unfaithful to a pretty girl like me?"

She cries: "I've lost my beauty the way you've lost your heart". And I said my father was a drunk, but my mom was Joan of Arc.

LET ME DIE IN THE MORNING

Between waterfalls of honey, you were wandering upside down, leering at the friends you left behind, trapped in that little town. Near the ocean, near the hillside, near the factories and the bars, where the people live so far apart, all stuck inside their cars.

Where you were loved by a prince with a love so intense that he took his own life in your honor. And in a different world, with a different face, it was I who could have been your lover.

Morning brings light by feet of the dawn to light those tired eyes, both crying out a warning. So please, for tonight, let me sleep in your arms. And if I die let me die in the morning.

Now I'm droning on forever, singing songs about your mother, drinking tea out in the garden where the flowers bloom forever, and she told you never ever go alone. Where the sun has been unfaithful to the moon.

Morning brings light by feet of the dawn to light those tired eyes, both crying out a warning. So please, for tonight, let me sleep in your arms. And if I die let me die in the morning.

MY BABY WITH HER CASTANETS

Does each starry night bring me closer? Does each starry night bring me closer to you? And if each starry night makes me brighter... if each starry night makes me brighter, you do.

Beneath every ache, there's a reason. Although most of us may have forgotten it now. I'm sorry to tell you I'm leaving, but all I can do is just get out of town.

My baby with her castanets. There's nothing I can do but sit and choke on cigarettes on this sunny afternoon.

And there in that infirmary, you were dressed in Mary's clothes. My dry cracked lips, your teary eyes, our secrets all exposed.

There are seven windows your head, and two of them are crying.

My baby with her castanets. There's nothing I can do but sit and choke on cigarettes on this sunny afternoon.

The doctor's clipboard papers matched your mother's pale white hair on the day she came to see me, with a candle and prayer.

Does each starry night bring me closer? Does each starry night bring me closer to you? And if each starry night makes me brighter... if each starry night makes me brighter, you do.

SEABIRDS

It crossed my mind like a flicker of greed on the shores of some far off Caribbean sea. Now I feel like a waterfall, cascading down all summer long. To where your voice crossed the ocean at night. Like some bloated seabirds, bodies halting their flight.

There is tension, I can feel it in the air tonight. Can I take it? Can I take what you are offering? If you don't want to be alone tonight, well, I don't want to be alone tonight. Oh, no.

If I had known you were leaving so soon, then I would not have come to this place. How can I signal to call down the moon when each breath fills my lungs with your grace?

These ceremonies sicken me. They celebrate obscurity, and sometimes simple words can mean much less. So take the people that you know and know them well. And say goodbye to all the rest.

COPYRIGHT © 2017 NEIL HOLYOAK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.