Lyrics:  Near and Far - EP  (2015)


Indiana Road


Five hundred foot radio tower on this Indiana road
Belting out its signal near and far
I’m hangin’ on to every last word of that lonesome song
Mandolin and fiddle, pedal steel guitar


Out on a dusty hill, church is goin’ up
Trusses stand like bleached bones, drying in wind
How can something new seem to be so old?
How can something familiar be a place you never been?


[chorus]
I’m headin’ home to you, got a long way to go
But I see your smile in everything around
Counting down red silos on this Indiana road
And passin’ through these quiet country towns
There’s nothin’ like being homeward bound


Trees warding the highway, broken by last year’s storm
Lives have been uprooted, there are still some who mourn
But there is hope, new bright smiles, in that devastation
People shoulder up, pull together, find salvation


[solo break]


I can almost see you now, by our blue kitchen door
Garden gloves set aside, meadows full of grace
And yellow summer dresses, fresh with your sweetness
Evening settles in to warm embrace


[chorus]


[outro]
And I’m headin’ home to you on this Indiana road


Livin' It Up


You’re out on the street now, feeling fine

Love turned you loose for the very last time
Swear that you’re never gonna go there again
Who needs the heartbreak, fair weather friends


So many people with their hearts on the line
Don’t see it comin’ when it sneaks up behind
No way to hide it, no way to pretend
Out there wonderin’ just where you’ve been


[chorus]
Livin’ it up, livin’ it down
When love just can’t be found
Livin’ it up, livin’ it down
What comes and goes around
Livin’ it up


Just let it go, it’s your time to shine
Freedom flag is up there, flyin’ high
Just like mighty trees have to bend
Better than breakin’ down in the wind


[chorus]


[solo break]


[bridge]
Throw down your gloves in that dust
Kick up your heels, there’s a blue bird above
Now you got time to figure it out
Leapin’ into life, finally unbound


[chorus]

 

Hand of Desolation


[intro]
He came out here with shining dreams
Freedom on bright prairie
Just a man of modest means
Out beyond Missouri


Rough board house and rusted truck
No money for wedding ring
Stout woman and steely hope
Life was good it seemed
Plenty of tomorrows
Dirt was dark and rich
Land lay deep and fallow
Crops would spring up quick


But too many people came
Tearing at this ground
Never thought about the danger
Savin’ what they found


[chorus]
Hand of desolation
Life beyond his reach
Hand of desolation
No place to retreat
Hand of desolation
Barely alive
Hand of desolation
Cursing at broad sky


Earth is tired under his feet
Wind is dry and lonesome
Dust strangles the buckeyes
Broken clay like shattered bone
Holes and cracks shot through his boots
Children cry for milk
Death, a smiling demon crouching
On a window sill


Can’t think about his troubles
Broken stalks of corn
Mouths to feed like baby birds
Always hungry, needing more


[chorus]


[solo break]


Took just about ten years for those
Black storms to subside
Government laid down the law
Nothin’ left to try
Lost and homeless pulled up stakes
Dyin’ slow and long
Starvation is true poverty
Cannot carry on


He came out here with shining dreams
Freedom on bright prairie
Just a man of modest means
Out beyond Missouri…

 

Chalk and Wheels


On Gillam Lane, in his old hometown

He tried new wheels for the first time
Stood on the curb, put his foot down
Waited for a wind from behind


Ten houses away, road ran out
Turned into a field like flaxen hair
In the middle, big farmhouse
Never really knew who lived there


[chorus]
It’s the world now, reachin’ out for bigger things
But that little boy still tries new wheels
Pushin’ hard to make it go
Tryin’ to keep his balance by feel


Sidewalk chalk, blue hopscotch
Jumpin’ through squares, one to ten
If you miss, take a walk
‘Til your turn comes back ‘round again


Dry up your tears, she always said
OK to cry at first, then be done
Got to get back up, you ain’t dead
Always remember, you’re not the only one


[chorus]


[solo break]


Chalk and wheels, simple truth
Learn to find a place in this world
Slip past your lines, see it through
Rollin’ on ahead, straight and sure


[chorus]


[outro]
Tryin’ to keep his balance by feel
Reachin’ for the sky with chalk and wheels

 

Into the Void - EP version (longer outro on "40 Miles From Midnight" album)


She walks alone on that evening road

So many miles on those shoes
Sun is low, and the fields sing
A sound that brings some peace


Last year her mama passed away
The only lighthouse that she knew
Now the boat is loose but the rope’s held fast
And she longs for some release


[chorus]
Into the void, she takes that first big step
Never knew how deep it goes
She's reaching out beyond herself
But it's too big, it's too far
How can anyone still hold on?


The corn is gone and the hay is in
And there's still so much to do
She thinks about how the seasons change
It’s life that does not cease


What came before cannot follow on
It hurts the heart so true
A bitter cup that’s supposed to heal
But it seems like such caprice


[solo break]


[bridge]
And she’s going far this time
Gonna find her way back home
Fire and rain often feel the same
On that holy distant path


She looks up, sees the birds turn south
They know just where to go
Long journey in the air ahead
Their wings are what she needs


[chorus]


[outro]
Sun is low, and the fields sing
A sound that brings some peace
Long journey in the air ahead
Their wings are what she needs



© 2015 Michael Henchman
All rights reserved



Lyrics:  40 Miles from Midnight  (2014)


Circle Back


He steps onto the platform

Wipes at tired eyes
Rails chasing darkness
Rain shines up pale night
Picks up his bag and heads across
Empty parking lot
Steps into a waiting cab
Hears that lonesome train pull out


[half-chorus]

Circle back, circle back
Life has a way of comin’ ‘round


It ain’t easy coming home

When you been away so long
Friends are lost or disappeared
Kids grown and gone
Leaving it all behind again
He takes a final stand
Hoping to find a little faith
Make sense of a jumbled map


[chorus]

Circle back, circle back
Life has a way of coming ‘round
Circle back, circle back
Blessing in disguise when you are found


Scent from all those linden trees

Something in him starts to move
Like morning fog slipping off long hills
There’s nothing left to prove
Nothing left to prove
Nothing left to lose


Mercantile wears an old gray coat

Wooden fans still turn
Screen door flees its hinges
He walks a little further
Can’t recall the name
Of a somehow familiar face
Memory’s a funny thing
Just won’t hold its place


[chorus]


Heartland


Pulled in to a Triple-A motel

It's nineteen sixty-two
Pool outside with a chain link fence
Painted aqua blue
There's a drawer in the nightstand
Gideon’s bible waiting there
Small welcome for a stranger
That someone placed with care


[chorus]

'Cause in that age there was a welcome mat
Everywhere you went
People smiled and shook your hand
And talked about good sense
Maybe it was a post-war time
We were tired of the strain
Picked ourselves up, put it behind
Found the will to live again


There is coffee at the office

It’s morning bright and true
Pack the car for another day
Soon I’m driving through
Birds up on singing wires
Echo melodies in their wings
Saint Christopher on my dashboard
With a prayer that he brings


[chorus]


Through all the roads that I've been down

I think about that time
Chasing back blue highways
Wondering what I’d find


Warm wind stirs the wheat grass

Waves move like water
Rolling towards a golden shore
Out across forever
And it's sunny in the heartland
Memories that we keep
Next horizon is just beyond
This one that we can see


[chorus]


40 Miles from Midnight


Tearing dust from desert floor

Darkness draped on billboard signs
City bursting out up ahead
A thousand points of light
Air slides cool around my neck
Moon chasing Galileo’s dream
Car been humming all night long
Sure is a fine machine


[chorus]

When you gonna stop your running?
She asked me
Come on back to this town?
But I’m 40 miles from midnight
And a million more from clear sight
No sign of slowing down


And you’re sleeping by that rumbling street

Where water drips and the door is loose
Couldn’t talk you into this trip out west
So much to feel, so hard to choose
How far back the memory goes
Truly hard to say, oh it’s hard to say
These old two-lanes from another time
It’s where I know my way


You wish that I could give up this wandering

But no place feels like home
Rocks in my shoes never bothered me
It’s better like this, I know


[chorus]


Yes I’m 40 miles from midnight

And a million more from clear sight
Ain’t goin’ back to that town


Seven Winds


The other day I saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul

Laughed so hard, now there’s a test of faith
How could life ever have such fallout?
How do we lose our sense of place?
Been a hard time waiting for summer
Bridge got burned and cables went slack
Sea change hit me like no other
This tumbleweed out on the flats


[chorus]

I never thought to ask the seven winds
Just where it is that I’m going
I never thought to ask the seven winds
About so much that tried to own me
Seven winds, seven winds
I never asked the seven winds


Got my divining rod and water pail

Used to dance with my own shadow
Clouds hold back pearl drops of rain
Watching now for that last black crow
Lessons learned come often hard
Stumbling through a looking glass
Running past those boundary marks
Translation lost amid the outback


Stony hill cuts a slant on the horizon

Knife blade drawn across red sky
Separating angels from demons
Bleeds the colors we deny


[chorus]


Straight On


Father had a dream, kept receding

Wanted to live at sea all his life
Worked a long time, held onto that feeling
Steady man, always did he abide

Many in those days said the same thing

Foolish dreams won’t help you get by
Never could agree with that reasoning
I remember the look in his blue eyes


[chorus]

Keepin’ it straight
keepin’ it straight on
Straight on down the road
Grab the steering wheel, look ahead
Feel it in my bones
Keepin’ it straight
keepin’ it straight on
Straight on down the road


Setting out to change the way I’m thinking

Years get shorter still, passing by
All that matters now is breathing
Leave those sticks and stones where they lie


[chorus]


Running through this maze, so deceiving

We all need just a little sign
It’s not true that seeing is believing
That’s the quickest way to end up blind


[chorus]



Fireflies


On coattails of spring

Fields breathing green
Sleepy day slowly unwinds
Two hearts will soon believe
More than just chance it seems
Perhaps the Fates improvise
Gentle smile and steady gaze
Felt like my home place
Taken by complete surprise


[chorus]

We were fireflies
Blazing a path toward one another
We were fireflies
Flying across gold spun summer
Lighting… lighting up the sky


Rustling sheets

Quiet sound so sweet
As you turn to look in my eyes
Tear on your cheek
And I cannot speak
No need for words to imply
Like cool water in a brook
This love that we took
With lightness in being so alive


[chorus]


Now years go by

We’re still side by side
Never lost fond memories
Bright season so fine
That impossible time
When love grew patiently
Melody rings true
Always with you
This song has no goodbyes


[chorus]



Motel Dog


He’s been scratching at back doors,

trying to make a living
Sleeping on any old couch
Been out in the weeds,
just a little bit of sinning
Walkin’ with that kind of slouch
He’s tough as nails, got a nasty bark
Watch out for that bite
Take off your hand, hold it out too far
Then he’s gone from sight


[chorus]

Motel dog, where you been running?
Motel dog, what you been hunting?
Motel dog, who you been gunning?
As you slip away


Out on his own in cactus and sand

Wind sweeps over the curb
Eats whatever’s left from the frying pan
His life’s always been a blur
Marks the fencepost wherever he goes
Nobody calls him friend
Doesn’t really care about the seeds he sows
Got nothing to defend


[chorus]


Never gonna change, that’s the way he is

Never took to a leash, that’s not for him
Sooner or later, young dogs get old
But right now he’s got it cold


Struts the boardwalk, gleam in his eye

Picks his teeth with a broken glass
Spooky look when you walk by
Best to avoid his glance


[chorus]



Into the Void


She walks alone on that evening road

So many miles on those shoes
Sun is low, and the fields sing
A sound that brings some peace


Last year her mama passed away

The only lighthouse that she knew
Now the boat is loose but the rope’s held fast
And she longs for some release


[chorus]

Into the void, she takes that first big step
Never knew how deep it goes
She's reaching out beyond herself
But it's too big, it's too far
How can anyone still hold on?


The corn is gone and the hay is in

And there's still so much to do
She thinks about how the seasons change
It’s life that does not cease
What came before cannot follow on
It hurts the heart so true
A bitter cup that’s supposed to heal
But it seems like such caprice


And she’s going far this time

Gonna find her way back home
Fire and rain often feel the same
On that holy distant path


She looks up, sees the birds turn south

They know just where to go
Long journey in the air ahead
Their wings are what she needs


[chorus]



Canyon Bones


Wind and water ever tug

Tumbling down these canyon spires
Washing out their flesh and blood
Bones under vermilion sky
Sleep now, stones from above
In peaceful rest now lie
Dream primeval yellow sun
Passing over channels of fire


[chorus]

Canyon bones, canyon bones
Carry me to my home
Canyon bones, canyon bones
Out here all alone
Canyon bones, canyon bones
Deepest place I’ve ever known
I’ve ever known…


Running rivers fast again

Water lifts my spirit high
Ancient voices around each bend
Echo life long held desire
Drinking down desert heat
Shimmer vision in my eyes
In this copper land revealed
Truth beyond all time survives


[chorus]



Asters in Paris


You are dressing now at the break of dawn

Snow falls, white linen, and coffee is on
Out in the city, winter is cold
Stillness like sleep we used to forego


When all over Paris there were asters in bloom

Wrought iron balconies and a hot air balloon
You wore that chemise, it was lighter than air
In morning sunlight, all I could do was stare
Tea on the terrace, orange marmalade
Remembering the best love that we ever made


You come and you go like weather and wind

Whatever this is, will there be no amends?
Love’s silver cup waits to be filled
Left on the nightstand to ward off the chill


But all over Paris there were asters in bloom

Wrought iron balconies and a hot air balloon
You wore that chemise, it was lighter than air
In morning sunlight, all I could do was stare
Tea on the terrace, orange marmalade
Remembering the best love that we ever made


I wonder what arises this day and beyond

Now that you’ve come and soon will be gone
Here in the dark, time moves so slow
You’ll appear once again, and that’s the way we’ll go...



Isn't It Time?


He’s been sleeping on the sidewalk

With a ravaged mind and a heavy heart
How’d he ever come to this?
How does anyone fall so far?
Hardly remembers his life before
Sometimes lives in a broken down car
Dreams of a child if he dreams at all
And he wishes on a star


[chorus]

How do we forget them
and go on about our way?
How do we forsake them
and live with that every day?
Isn’t it time to show them
we’re all one family?
Isn’t it time to hold them
in our hearts and set them free?


Stands on a corner while cars go by

Cardboard sign is falling apart
Bad place to be ‘cause no one stops
Traffic is just too hard
Someone yells “Why don’t ya get a job?”
He’d sure love that, but how to start?
No one hires a broken down man
Reeling from the scars


[chorus]


It’s raining now, his skin is soaked

Barrel fire don’t keep him warm
He lives out on the edge of night
So far from coming home


[chorus]



© 2013 Michael Henchman
All rights reserved


 

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