Hey Clockface lyrics

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Revolution #49

Cold as stone
Hard as winter
She turned to me and this she said
"Kiss me once and you'll remember
Lay with me 'til we're both dead"

The land was white
The wind a dagger
Life beats a poor man to his grave
Love makes a rich man from a beggar
Love is the one thing we can save
Love is the one thing we can save
Love is the one thing we can save

Cold as stone
Cold as stone
Cold as stone


No Flag

I've got no religion
I've got no philosophy
I've got a head full of ideas and words that don't seem to belong to me
You may be joking but I don't get the gag
I sense no future but time seems to drag

No time for this kind of love
No flag waving high above
No sign for the dark place that I live
No God for the damn that I don't give

I've got no illusions
I've had no epiphany
Why should anybody listen to me
She said I'm tearing up the sheets that your love letters stained
All of your magic powers have drained

No time for this kind of love
No flag waving high above
No sign for the dark place that I live
No God for the damn that I don't give

There's a line in the sand
A word or two in the aftermath
I'm an arrow that shoots up and down on an advertising graph
I could write you verses and recite more than one
But they're not worth the paper that they're written on

No time for this kind of love
No flag waving high above
No sign for the dark place that I live
No God for the damn that I don't give

We want everything and we don't want to share
Out-o space for the faces we fear
Look in the mirror and see who I used to be
Made out of plastic in a factory

No flag
No flag


They're Not Laughing At Me Now

Tell me, how does it feel?
In the hour of deception and the moment of pretend
To be scorned by those rank and those unkind strangers
You were fool enough to call your friends
Will you say as the curtain descends?
"They're not laughing at me now"

When the last of the garlands and laurel crowns and fine bouquets have all been swept away
You were lost in the smokescreens of cavalcades and accolades instead of traitor's pay
Where will you find the courage to say?
"They're not laughing at me now"

You could shake my hand
If I could unfold my fist
If I were a gentleman
If I were a Christian
But I wouldn't risk it
Why would you?
You know my name now
And it's "Mister" to you.

Now we're back at the start, no forgiveness in your heart, you turned your coat and asked me to turn my cheek
And it's all in a language that I can understand but never bring myself to speak
I'll leave it to you, if you dare
It's a peal too appalling to bear
I wonder if you're here or you're there
They're not laughing at me now


Newspaper Pane

She looked at the pictures on a newspaper pane
That was taped to the window
To keep out the wind
To keep out the rain

To keep out the nonsense
And block out the needing
To keep up her spirits
With improving reading
But the ink from the columns
Dissolved down into the stain
On the bare wood floor
That extended to the door

Pictures of bright futures somehow ignored
That offered her finery she could never afford
Tempting out savings that she didn’t have or could never risk
Not a fashionable kindness, it was grotesque

The beaus with their fiddles played “The Rascal’s Release”
We toasted to valor
And wished there were peace
Six months later in a newspaper margin
They were all cut down in a cavalry charge
Weeping Miss Imogen said to her priest
"I gave him my virtue
It was the least I could leave him
On the eve of departure
Though I will long for him now and hereafter

And the child I’ll be raising may have his blue eyes
What if he grows up and dies
On some distant unnamable hillside or field
Because a king and a concubine put a mark on his shield"

Thomas tomorrow, Thomas no more
Father and sunshine, beyond and before
William who brought his drum home from the war
To beat it for young lads whose days didn’t even add up to a score

I don’t spend my time perfecting the past
I live for the future
Because I know it won’t last

A bent note on a horn I can’t play
The ghosts in the window
That I can’t wish away
Freedom to be reckless
Freedom to plunder
Freedom to dream
Freedom to wonder

When you get where I am now
You may feel differently
The cliff drops away sharply
Falls into the sea

No work today
No hope tomorrow
No bread for breaking
No wine for sorrow

Nobody is selling
No truth for telling
No work tomorrow
No work today
Look at that child bride and her ideal bouquet
Boys, pick up a rifle
That’s too much to pay
Count out her teardrops
Wipe them away


I Do (Zula's Song)

There's a tree at the crossroads
There's a nail in my shoe
Repeat to me softly
As you vow that we'll see it through
Let's go to the other side
And take in the view
Our eyes will see better there
Watching the river flow
You may say, "I don't know", but "I do"

Every night will be starless
Every day will be fine
Each hour will be peaceful
As the reeds make the river slow
The earth will be broken
And will lie there below
I am yours
You are mine
To long for longer is a crime
You may say, "I don't lie", but "I do"


We Are All Cowards Now

Time has taught us
That they’re sending out their sons
To take away our guns and our daughters
We are all cowards now

Rivers rising
Darkness fell upon
People blotting out the sun
Disguising how
We are all cowards now

At least the Emperor Nero had an ear for music
But that’s history
Caligula said “God’s speed, my steed”
But that’s his story

They’re coming for our Peacemakers
Our Winchesters and Colts
The rattle of our Gatling Guns
Our best cowboy revolts and threats and insults
We are all cowards now

The emptiness of arms
The openness of thighs
The pornography of bullets
The promises and prizes can’t disguise
We are all cowards now

They're draping stones with colours
And a roll of stolen names
Except those we never cared about

And those we need to blame
We’ll extinguish that flame, just the same
We are all cowards now

Arms are empty
The pornography of plenty
Count commands from one to ten
Number sins from ten to twenty

There’s an illusion we believe in
There is honour in their need
Pretty confetti, chemical debt
And a necessity to bleed

My fears too fleet to scupper
My prayers too thin to scream
On my lover's back a zipper
On her limb a straightened seam

So, close the windows tightly
Lower lamps and shades
On the screen, silent rehearsals
For tomorrow's parades
For tomorrow's parades
For tomorrow's parades
We are all cowards now


Hey Clockface / How Can You Face Me?

Hey Clockface
Keep your fingers on the dial
You stole those precious moments
And the kisses from her smile
And now I’m living in these hours
Away we will while
I’m not wasting any more time

Hey Clockface
I really want to know
Why is it when we’re apart
You always take it slow
And when she’s here
You always say “It’s almost time to go”
You said you‘d be a friend to me
But time is just my enemy
And it is hurting me so

The moon comes through the window shining crescently and bright
The sun rolls round again
If I could turn your face back
Before all of this started
Forty minutes past four when her secrets she parted

Forty minutes past four in the faithless A.M
She wound up in his arms and not the man that I am
A spring that is sprung
A cuckoo-bird that sung
Now there’s a nail in a bare wall
Where your face once hung

Hey Clockface
Now I don’t feel a thing
You stole away the heart in me
And then removed my spring
The winding mechanisms shot
The movement is unwound
Don’t tick or tock or dare to make a sound

Hey Clockface
Well, don’t you ever dare
Count me down to zero hour
And keep me waiting here
A minute from departure
I will twist your key and have her come back to me
And have her come back to me

How can you face me?
After what I’ve been through
After you broke that vow
How can you face me now?
How can you face me now?
How can you face me now?


The Whirlwind

I came out to this town
To seek a new career
Or just another kind of whirlwind than one that brought me here
I stare up through the ceiling past the plaster and the paint
Considering the stars that shine
And flare and fall before they're spent

How could you know?
My common senses had deserted me
On certain nights
When other gentlemen have courted me
But in the light of morning they would turn to see me go

I've had my moments
But all too few
You think you know me
Maybe you do

But in the light of morning
You will turn to see me go
Nothing's lost and no one's won
It's over now and now it's done

I may be lying
This may be true
You think you know me
Maybe you do, maybe you do
Maybe you do


Hetty O'Hara Confidential

Hetty said if you ask me nicely
I'll write you up well
Don't tell me twice
Or quote you directly
Or you'll pay the price
I'll peel off your skin like a thin veneer
If someone tells me something that I didn't hear from you

Who's got the dope?
Who's got the potential?
Hetty O'Hara Confidential

Those were different days
Those were different drugs
From a gold-plated palace with the half-mast flags
To a chalk lined body that was full of slugs
She was trading favours for footnote plugs
Who's got the needle?
Who is fit to burst?
A morphine tattoo on an unquenchable thirst

Who's got your girlfriend?
And who had her first?
Reading her column was essential
Hetty O'Hara Confidential

She could kill a man with a single stroke
She is not the one you want to provoke
If you can't take the heat
Or you can't take a joke

Who's got the dope?
Who's got the potential?
Hetty O'Hara Confidential

If there was a gentleman caller
To a comely wench
And a snooping peeper
In a coat of trench
She'd place a line or two
At the foot of the page
A cue or a clue
To the latest rage
With your true dimensions
And your actual age
Trade a life of scandal
For a career on the stage

These little things seem inconsequential
Except to Hetty O'Hara Confidential

On the night he came home
From the debutante ball
Passed out drunk on the bathroom floor
Call-girl called after taking a peek
At the secret drawer of atomic secrets
Repeating something that I whispered about
They have to take it
But they can't dish it out

Who's cleaning up his act?
And breaking the bank?
But unfortunately didn't remember to thank me
But now the rumour is doing the rounds
That his only friends
Are villains and scoundrels
Her reputation curled like yellow smoke
She named the wrong man in the story she broke

She had an unfortunate character trait
The irresistible impulse to assassinate
But the damage she did was quite substantial
Hetty O'Hara Confidential

They've got witch trials now
With witches to spare
And a jukebox jury full of judgement and fury
With bright neon dresses and porn star hair
She was thrown to the wolves
Or the dogs or the foxes
Once they'd had their fill of shares and stocks
Their gaze is unforgiving
If your morals are lax
Pointing manicured fingers and making a mockery
With voices that sound like broken crockery
Hetty said "I'm powerless and I feel alone..."
Now everyone has a megaphone

Who's got the dope?
Who's got the potential?
Hetty O'Hara Confidential


The Last Confession Of Vivian Whip

Hear the last confession of Vivian Whip
If you're reading this
"My life was lonely
Never hurt a fly
Or spared a kiss
Never killed a soul
Except my own"

But when I took you in my arms
I wondered why it took so long
For me to recognize this precious song
Had it been playing all along?

Just when I needed it
When I couldn't conceive that it's
So hard to lose your nerve
To just get what you need
And not, not what you deserve

See the first impression of Vivian Whip
Still denied parole
He's etched in charcoal
"Never hurt a fly or killed a soul
Entertained a doubt
I cared about"

But now I fear we fear too much
I tried my best to keep my watch
To bear up in the light that strips
So stop my mouth up with your lips


What Is It That I Need That I Don't Already Have?

What is it that I need that I don’t already have?
Who was there in the past that I couldn’t seem to save?
But will I seem so smart, me and my broken heart
When I am pretending to be brave

What is there up ahead that I can’t already see?
Startling as it seems, well, it’s supposed to be
Where am I going next?
And if no one objects
Just close the door and that’ll be the end of me

What is it that I lost that I don’t really need
Some glasses for my eyes
And an hour or two of speed
My hands don’t blister, my hands don’t bleed
But I’ll never be contented, repent or ever be lamented
‘Til I’m planted down like rotten crops
And covered up with weeds

What is it that I want that I can’t already taste?
A damson from a tree
A girl that I once chased
A girl who ran away and wanted to be caught
Then bade farewell to my love like some merchandise she bought

Things are going up like blasphemous prayers
I burned up all my paper money on those London derrieres
Prayers and paper money will burn until you choke
The things I should have said
They were so easily left unspoken
I didn’t break you down
You were already broken

What is it that I need that I don’t already have?
Who was there in the past that I couldn’t even see?
But will I seem so smart, me and my broken heart
When I am pretending to be free?
When I am pretending to be free
When I am pretending to be free


Radio Is Everything

I'm sitting here wondering if this matchbox will hold my dreams
Will the red head in my arms go up in flames?
Or dissolve mighty regimes with her screams, or so it seems
She dragged my face from the eye to my lip on the rough side of the striking strip
To the port side of a sinking ship
Staring in a compact mirror
A siren calling from another era
While you made faces and then blew kisses
Drowned in a pool that hypnotized Narcissus

They say I have a perfect face for radio
And a trumpet for listening
A cheek to turn to you
An eye for glistening
Tear that tear from me
Hold it in your memory
Pull away the powder and pain painted dream
Of this and that disgrace
A silver band of marching soles
A button of brass an epaulet of gold
That lenten light, that slight fanfare that consoles
That trivial, sniveling rosary, that ring-a-ding rosemary,
Condemned a man, alas, at last, at requiem mass

I sound much better than I look
Like a hero in a book
Now there is too much at stake
But perhaps you mistook my mistake
For the tip in the print you dusted for
From the hand you forgot to shake

Tumbledown Dick said to King Oliver
"I don't shrink down at the thought of you
Give the people back their ringlet Prince just like you ought to do
Journey far from here like Gulliver
To lands at the edge of everywhere
That we have still to discover
Where there's a sole of a jackboot in a broken brace
Poised above a human face forever and ever"

You don't need to see my face
Radio Is Everything
You don't need to know my name
Radio Is Everything
The lie that I tell
It just doesn't matter
If I should deceive you
Or if I should flatter
If your bankroll gets thin while some kitty gets fatter
Radio Is Everything
From the straight to the narrow to the broadcast from within
Radio Is Everything


I Can't Say Her Name

How can I show my face?
I'm a mess
And I fear I may confess
I'm a fool with or without her
Make up what you will about her
It's part of the game
I can't say her name

I've been left in the dark
Shine a light
Right in my eyes
You'll never make me talk
Alibis I must protect
An alias you won't detect
I won't place the blame
I can't say her name

I whisper it so soft and slow
When I think no one's listening
No one knows
The thought of her so strong and slow
Stays on my mind
I won't ever let her go

How can I go to sleep?
When I know all too well I'm in this thing too deep
It's all I can do not to shout about it
I don't need your pity
I'm powerless and proud
And I don't feel ashamed
Oh, but I can't say her name


Byline

I read by line by line by line
Some words of yours, some words of mine
Some sentiments are best forgot
Some letters read then folded shut

The profile on a postage stamp
I traced it by my reading lamp
Remembered when I'd sit in wait
Then marked our parting from that date

I read by line by line by line
That old sarcastic Valentine
That you denied you'd sent to me
Then took it back

It's a thought that we shared, a careless phrase
A curse or a joke, some words of praise
But I didn't write
Did you wonder why?
It was the easiest way to say "Goodbye"

You'll see my photo beside the article
"That's just some guy I used to know
I was never his
He was always mine
But I wrote him off by line by line"
By line by line by line by line by line by line
By line by line


Phonographic Memory

"We have come not so much to a fork in the road
As a fork on the plate
Scraping the last lick off the gravy train of history"
There was nervous laughter from the dais
That rolled outwards through the crowd
On a breeze that rustled flags and banners
It was the voice of Orson Welles
His baritone coming to us over decades of dead silence
Through a metallic tannoy
Each word meticulously tape spliced
From various soundtracks and radio broadcasts
In the Library of Congress
It wowed the crowd
Before it fluttered and faltered
As the powder of lost oxide
Caused a catch in his voice
Just as the spool ran out
Curiously, the simulated address
Seemed to be delivered in the same strange stage-Irish accent
That Welles had possibly purloined from the actor Micheál Mac Liammóir
When he had bluffed his way on to the Dublin stage as a teenager
Now it was just one in a queue of immigrant inflections
That might have taken the day
It was also the voice that Orson had used in "Lady From Shanghai"
You know, the one with the shootout amidst the shattered reflections of funhouse mirrors
Few remembered that motion picture now
One man in the third row remarked to his wife
That he seemed to remember this voice selling him sweet sherry in his youth
But there were many in the crowd who knew nothing of this Citizen
And the Kane he had once raised
Back when the worst one could imagine was an invasion from another sphere
After the peace was negotiated
And the Internet switched off
Knowledge returned to its mediaeval cloister
In this and that illuminated volume
The jealous possession of the pious and the superstitious
Who might have once again wielded ignorance like a scythe
There were but dimly remembered facsimiles
After many of the public libraries had been torched
Untouched books now went for the price of a Vuitton handbag
Ever since the US Mint was sucked dry and spat out
Bookworms paid for rare tomes with wheelbarrows full of bank notes
Some of them worthless Confederate money
Stashed in plinths in various toppled statues
None of it helped the healing
Yet in the absence of a noble woman
Or a statesman equal to the task
A tireless engineer had magically assembled random words of Welles' oration
Into a speech worthy of the occasion
From the depths of the National Archive
President Swift gave a slight shy smile of pearl and pillarbox red
And began to sing a plainsong of her acceptance

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Hey Clockface
Hey Clockface album cover.jpg
studio album by
Elvis Costello
Released2020
ProducerElvis Costello & Sebastian Krys
LabelConcord
Length49:59
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