Jack Hardy — Lyrics for White Shoes

Copyright © 1982, 1998, 2010 Jack Hardy Music (BMI)

  1. Broken Heart
  2. Under the Bridge
  3. Lady-O
  4. The Circus
  5. Woman of the Road
  6. Femme Fatale
  7. White Shoes
  8. The High Line
  9. Incident at Ebenezer Creek
  10. Subway

Broken Heart

it is only a simple fact
a fact you simply need
you can place it where you like
in your personal history
you can drag it all behind you
and hone it till it's sharp
you can call it your wall of china
or your favorite work of art
but i like you far better with a broken heart

i will let the secret loose
i have watched you long before
forging a common truce
in that childish teasing war
the girl next door whose fun
was phony false alarms
but you were so very young
and our dreams were worlds apart
i like you far better with a broken heart

carefully peeling apples
biting close down to the core
collecting all the feelings
of closing all the doors
that saucy little smile
tucked behind a scarf
throwing casual glances
to upset the apple cart
i like you far better with a broken heart

the water poured so careful
before the pitcher fell
you never even winced
and i would never tell
that you edged it off the table
like something to discard
then collected all the pieces
your renaissance to start
still i like you far better with a broken heart

Under the Bridge

i saw her once again today
looking like the wispy witch that she is
but it was only a poster the words torn away
as though the wind was jealous of what wasn't his

i wanted to pick it up off the ground
and piece it together with cellophane tape
uncrumple the anger the years left around
and trace all the lines that had taken her face

this is as close as you come as close as you come
this is as close as you'll ever be
though there was a time by the sea
when the waves knew more than we

there was rust on the chainlink fence by the door
under the bridge where we always hid
and we always talked of crossing over
though we never did you know friends never did

(repeat chorus)

all those wicker wine bottle promises
the fragmented words that rattle like bones
rattle the keys that lead to your room
and your starry misery all alone

(repeat chorus)

spider plants and a wandering jew
spanish moss and a cat declawed
you can place them all on your window sill
where they don't talk back and they don't applaud

(repeat chorus)


the princess had a locket
and the locket had a key
the princess had so many things
she would not let them see
so many cursed the locket
though many held the key
many is the open book
with print too large to read

oh... lady-o
where do they come from
where do they go
and if you have a heart
do not let it show
oh... lady-o

strike while the iron is hot
he heard the soldiers say
marching in formation
to guard the palace gate
though he had seen those soldiers
fall along the way
they line them up and shoot them
for the heresies they say

(repeat chorus)

but he was not a soldier
in his torn and ragged coat
resembling the jester
he came across the moat
and all the guards of kingdom come
would have let him pass
with eyes that looked right through them
and songs about their past

(repeat chorus)

she had always pictured it
on a sunny afternoon
in some secluded forest
with the flowers all in bloom
it did not look at all
like this god-forsaken room
but the thing that's long awaited
often comes too soon

(repeat chorus)

The Circus

we got a new owner to the circus
and we are in fat-city at last
what used to be called family fun
is just a way to make money fast

we got a brand-new ad man
and he's a former military man
he's going to make the people like us
while we camp out on their land

we're gonna close all the schools
gonna make life a holiday
we don't need so many books
just to follow his way

we're going to take a lot of pictures
gonna bring back black and white
we're gonna burn the midnight oil
until the price goes out of sight

we used to run free buses
but now we ride in limousines
we're gonna raise the price of admission
and let the poor stay home and watch us on tv

don't worry about a work force
'cause we don't have to pay them a thing
kids always run away to join the circus
and they're happy just to dance and sing

we gotta brand new girlie show
it's gonna put women back in their place
it's gonna take us back to yesterday
when they were just another pretty face

we don't need no corn fields
'cause cotton candy grows on trees
if you limit all the choices
people aren't quite so hard to please

why talk to the clowns
when you can talk to the owner of the circus
but when the owner's a former clown
the town may have need to be nervous

we got a new owner to the circus
he's gonna make the trains run on time
and if there's any trains left
he's gonna take us all for a ride

Woman of the Road

any port in a storm
you've heard it before
from those whose lives are storm
the eye of the storm
to keep the heart warm
the hurricane shield and the torch
all the waves come crashing through the door
electric heat upon the veins
all the clothes go tumbling to the floor
when will i see you again

ball and chain
you've heard it before
that things aren't right at home
they're planning to leave
they already left
they can't live without you or with
all they say is old and stale
these are not honorable men
yet you light the candle the same
when will i see you again

old and gray
you've heard it before
when as a child you played roles
but all of the men
were boring "good friends"
and all of their love was cold
please don't stay please don't go
i am the woman of the road
night and day are much the same
when your eyes have closed
when will i see you again

Femme Fatale

you always wanted to be a femme fatale
with no one as fatal as you
the only thing you had to reconcile
was your fatalistic attitude
for if you want to be a collector of hearts
and expect to collect quite a few
be careful someone does not steal your part
and wind up collecting you

it's all such a casual complex
of a complex casual thing
but i never said anything casual
i meant every damn thing

step on a crack and break your mother's back
and there are so many cracks in the world
sooner or later you'll step on a crack
but it'll be your heart that'll break little girl
and your father who art in heaven
who criticizes all that you do
he's your sugar daddy with your daily bread
but he tells you where to spend it too

(repeat chorus)

he don't need no girl with snakes in her head
who always tries to amuse
a spinner of tales or of spider webs
who has already caught quite a few
you can never keep up with the pace he has set
he is years ahead of you
you can try if you want to be his femme fatale
but he's twice as fatal as you

(repeat chorus)

White Shoes

margaret wore white shoes when we first met
they're not so white now, since she got them wet
and all those noisy people with too much to say
shining up their shoes, saving for a rainy day

i'm in love is hard to say
come again some other day
will you say i'm in love

the last rose of summer is still a rose
bent by the weight of the late-autumn snows
margaret took the time to take it in her room
counted off the days waiting for that rose to bloom

(repeat chorus)

so many road signs that point in both ways
some follow both roads in their younger days
'til all they're afraid of is coming true
frozen in decision wondering what to do

(repeat chorus)

margaret sang a funny song of a girl who spilled her wine
the neck she held too tightly it was vinegar in time
and all the little children who laughed at every word
did not hear the sadness in the words they heard

(repeat chorus)

The High Line

riding on the high line that cuts against the border
thinking that it's 'bout time to get my heart in order
it's a long way both ways from sea to shining sea
'specially when you're caught there somewhere in between

go back, go on, whichever you choose
you are damned if you don't
and you're damned if you do
hold back, hold on, after all we've been through
still there is a soft spot in my heart for you

it's a long way from spokane to minot, north dakota
'specially when you're tired and your radio is broken
the menus are the same and the coffee tastes like water
and the waitress has a ring that someone else has bought her

(repeat chorus)

the northern lights are out tonight they dance across the sky
the lightning from a distant storm i can't outrun tonight
and the foxes lying on the road they don't know why they tried
running on the high line against the borderline

(repeat chorus)

Incident at Ebenezer Creek

     Dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
the creek lies swollen before us
the bridge is a slippery span
the guard with the springfield rifle
is barring our freedom plan
for days we have followed the wagons
with all we own on our backs
that long blue winding dragon
with fire and death in its track

but the pontoon bridge is gone

for us these bummers meant freedom
the promise made good at last
that four-score-seven-year promise
why then do they turn us back
they have warned us not to follow
too close behind their guns
that the fighting up front is heavy
when it hasn't even begun

but the pontoon bridge is gone

some say the avenging angel
has turned upon his own
that all this talk of freedom
is just sherman's marching song
and some are pleading jesus
asking what have they done wrong
running up and down the river bank
flailing their arms in song

but the pontoon bridge is gone
and sherman's troops have gone

some soldiers disobey orders
to help build rafts of logs
but they sink as oft as float
and time is running out
rumors of wheeler's cavalry
to ship us back to the farm
or shoot us here right where we stand
helpless and unarmed

but the pontoon bridge is gone
and sherman's troops have gone

the camp lies now in embers
newspapers all been read 
talk of a change in washington 
of a dream shot through the head 
some say ebenezer 
is a cursed name for a creek 
some say jefferson davis
is a blessed name to speak

but the pontoon bridge is gone
and sherman's troops have gone
and freedom now has gone


to be sure i only wanted to go to the upper west side
where i could feel nature and watch the stars shine
and i could see that one star of first magnitude
somewhere in the heavens somewhere above us
but i was never really ready for that ride
that roller coaster, rattling, gattling-gun ride
on that long serpentine subterranean train
for which the big apple is so famous

ahhhhh get off your high horse
when the hell did you get knighted anyway?
he's not gonna take you
and bring you back again some day
no knight in shining armor's
going to ride you as well as this train

so i start my slow descent past peripheral players
seeking creature comforts huddled 'gainst the cold
past the turnstile jumpers handcuffed to the fanfare
of those who risk their lives for control
down the long corridor with the long empty bottles
the wild irish rose and the danny-boy thunderbird
past the urinal stalls and the dried vomit smells
that make me aware of all my senses

(repeat chorus)

next the thundering train with its high-pitched scream
the brakes screech and the doors swallow me
the off-duty prostitute, the codger with his zipper undone
awakes from his business-section dream
the three-card monte players home from the park
the banker who's afraid of sitting alone in the dark
the junkie who laughs at their small-stakes game
the stupid young girl with her solid gold chain

(repeat chorus)

my ride is almost over and it doesn't take long
to see where i am going and where i'm going wrong
better to see the blind leading the blind
than to wish upon a star that's far too bright
as i climb out of this hell-hole one level to the next
i see a young singer who is in love with his text
i leave him to fight his battles of recognition
he's so in love with himself he's got no competition

(repeat chorus)

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