Farewell Motel

by Matthew Connor

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1.
the first raindrop hits the window there’s a low and thrumming ache all the lights are flashing yellow and it’s more than i can take there’s laughter in the street from up here it all sounds canned too tired to fall asleep feeling older than i am the world is bathed in midnight blue i’m still alive, and somewhere so are you i’m talking to myself, i got nothing to say been that way for years, what’s another day another drink or two of midnight blue just around the other corner there’s the dive i used to haunt haven’t been there in forever hope they’re keeping my seat warm oh, i’ve hardly left this house yeah, i’ve hardly left my head i bet they’re mopping the floors right now and tomorrow they’ll trash the place again the world is bathed in midnight blue i’m still alive, and somewhere so are you i’m talking to myself, i got nothing to say been that way for years, what’s another day another drink or two of midnight blue the season changes and i’m mostly just the same oh, i swear he had your eyes i’m still losing at the same old games still laying down the same old lies after all this time the world is bathed in midnight blue i’m still alive, and somewhere so are you i’m talking to myself, i got nothing to say been that way for years, what’s another day another drink or two of midnight blue
2.
the stars won't shine on me tonight the moon it just won't help me to see i'm parked up here at the top of a hill i got no place else to be down below is the train, hear her sad refrain as she sings across the land "i don't know who i am" somewhere down there is a little red house it silently is buried in snow and there's a man who is walking there now down a street i used to know and up here's just the trees in the winter white breeze the train is just a lady in blue oh, i don't know what do i used to know just who i was back when i loved you on second thought, well, maybe not but i never needed to 'cause i've lived my life 'round who i'm not that used to work just fine for me i'm not my mother, i'm not my father at least, i try not to be then one day i woke up, found that wasn't enough who i'm not, that ain't worth a damn 'cause i don't know who i am i used to know just who i was back when i loved you on second thought, well, maybe not but i never, i never needed to 'cause everywhere i used to go all i saw was open doors and every time i turned around there would be one more yes, but now it seems that they're all closing and every night i hear one more slam 'cause i don't know who i am no, i don't know who i am
3.
how is july already over? the fan's still in the window there's a car parked on the shoulder there's a cloud hanging low and you say, "what do you want more than anything?" and i say, "for you to already know" tell me, how is july already over? how do the nights move so slow? how is the breeze in san francisco? how far are we from maine? no, i ain't packing up my overcoat i'm tired of the rain and you say, "how much further 'til we get there?" and i say, "just keep your eyes on the road" tell me, how is the breeze in san francisco? how do the nights move so slow? how long have i been dreaming 'bout rain and birds in europe? the paper's lined up on the table stained by the ring left from your mug and you say, "i just get so, so tired sometimes" and i say, "i think it's time for us to go" tell me, how long have i been dreaming? how do the nights move so slow? how does the light break all about your face? i kick a stone off of the sidewalk a pedicab waits just across the way the lights just turned on in the coffee shop and you say, "did you really not see this coming?" and i say, "i was pretending not to look" tell me, how does that light break all about your face? i can't believe just how long this morning took how is july already over? how am i still under your hand? i rather enjoyed the fireworks and the days and dreams of sand and you say, "my heart can be so so cold sometimes" and i say, "tell me something i don't know" tell me, how is july already over? how do the nights move so slow?
4.
02:53
knew i ruined your day so i bought you a rose should’ve been a bouquet don’t know where the money goes tried to take you to dance saw the cover and froze had to cancel those plans don’t know where the money goes someday you and i won’t have to worry ‘bout a thing we’ll be living large as kings someday i won’t carry all this shame, shame, shame i’ll make it up to you i’ll make myself a name i could visit a shrink tell her all of my woes wouldn’t fix anything don’t know where the money goes darling, turn out the light bring this mess to a close let’s not argue tonight don’t know where the money goes oh, let’s not fight tonight don’t know where the money goes
5.
drapes on the windows and paint on the walls jackets on a rack at the end of the hall the hot water runs slowly when it runs at all maybe i could get a second job i haven't paid the bill, they're gonna turn the phone off well, it don't really ring so much these days and you know where to find me if you got something to say just send up a smoke signal, spread it across the sky say it if you want to see me sometime you won't have to tell me twice tell me twice i wonder if your eyes are still full of plans and poetry nobody really understands well, i thought we had a plan, thought we had it made but you're the one who went, i guess, and i'm the one who stayed so send up a smoke signal, spread it across the sky say it if you want to see me sometime you won't have to tell me twice tell me twice passports and hobbies and hospital lobbies and paperwork hanging in files linen on lines and interstate signs tollbooths and subway turnstiles the days drag by and yet the years fly the daguerreotypes on your wall and still i don't feel like i've felt anything at all send up a smoke signal, spread it across the sky say it if you want to see me sometime you won't have to tell me twice tell me twice oh, send up your smoke signal right as the day breaks fill the whole Grand Canyon with fire if that's what it takes what it takes
6.
limestone and yew, and the things that i do when the nights seem to go on for days dogwood and snow, all the places i go but without ever going away the songs that i fight and the tears that i write on the wings of some dead seraphim shadow and white, and the words i recite: i wasn't good enough for him. nimbus and pine and the waltz of the rhine how he loved when i spoke of the country but virginia is grey, and the things that i say seem to shed every shred of their beauty travertine walls, promenades, and crestfalls and a cup that's been filled past the brim tractor and plow, and it's clear to me now: i wasn't good enough for him. the lights wash away in the river the planes wash away in the clouds it floods and it drains and then all that remains is a question of what to do now granite and plume, and the bitter perfume of the ladies who curse at the rain primrose and haze, and the endless cafes where the day stops to wait for a train a copse on the hill, and the dust on the sill and a diary torn limb from limb limestone and yew, and it's suddenly true: i wasn't good enough for him.
7.
i know a place where the lovers go we went there once not long ago and now you’re gone i’ll go there once again i’ll say farewell to our little motel it was just one night and we slept like hell though i swear i’d never seen you look at me the way that you did then and now i’ll never see you again over there is where we tossed that old umbrella as you shook the raindrops from your hair there’s the sink where you took a drink of water and laughing, you collapsed into that very chair i could close my eyes and cross the room and never stumble i could close my eyes and swear i felt you there over there is the corner where i kissed you how i’ve missed you, and tonight you look as lovely as a prayer it’s too much, it’s too much i’m doing it again you’re not here, you’re not here and you haven’t been one more night in the farewell motel alone and in the morning i’ll go home, home, home darling, i would go to such great lengths to once again smell your shampoo upon these sheets
8.
she's melting into you like the ice in your drink says, "it's so hot in here i can't hear myself think won't you walk a lady home?" steam is pouring from the grates and she's making you wait while she says her goodbyes and then into the night you are thrown she observes how you pause when she asks "do i have to have an invitation to kiss you?" then she adds, "i don't believe in love" and relief spreads across your face like wet tissue but you don't believe anything you don't believe when she says "take all the time you need, take it all" and there's no one at all to translate veronique, waiting negotiating just how this night is going to end she throws her clothes on the fire and her arms in the air and never have you ever been so high and scared every candle in the room reaches up towards the ceiling one last desperate grasp before being extinguished the valets are dancing on the hoods of the cars while the church bells flush the flocks out from the bars and she's laid a trap, and she's left the tape running until the springs are slowing, relaxing, releasing and she says, "is there someone else?" and you say, "i don't know well no" but you don't believe anything you don't believe when she says "take all you want from me, take it all" and all that it does is complicate veronique, waiting negotiating just how this night is going to end
9.
06:34
drained the account for a good night's sleep a breakfast buffet and a little tv and one last chance to disappear into the blue maybe one last chance to have one last chance with you oh, he cleans up well and he treats me right and he takes me out just about every saturday night and not a single word that i've said to him has been true i gave up on holding those words for you and the distance hasn't made my heart forget so i'm hoping maybe time will do the trick oh, i got a loan and i got a lease i got a car title and i got a degree i got so many piles of papers i don't even know what to do yeah, i've paved a paper trail but it didn't lead me any further from you and now my friends got kids and my friends got wives my friends got some sense of structure to their lives and i guess i'd like those things but really, i don't have a clue i've spent so much time wanting nothing else but you and the distance hasn't made my heart forget so i'm hoping maybe time will do the trick though i know i'm not getting any younger and i know no one else can ease this hunger though he tries well, i bought a beer at the airport bar curled up in the back of the rental car and i closed my eyes but it did not hide the view of jet trails and junctions stretching out a million miles before you
10.
after the show the fiddler stops and drops her bow in the gauzy glow after the show rye on the rocks splash of pernod and away we go to some party in the valley where the leading ladies are in a city night too bright to see a star while you’re drinking straight into the dawn i’m sleeping with my makeup on it’s darker now than you could ever know there’s nothing much to see after the show i’m overdressed, got all the cards close to my chest still i’m a mess i’m not like you, can’t do that breezy thing you do it feels untrue see, i’m the kind of man who puts his pants on one leg at a time you’re the kind who doesn’t give a crying dime and though i stiffen up my upper lip i’m knee deep in the worst of it and when the lights go up i’m all alone there’s garbage in the aisles after the show oh darling, it’s been ages since the stages where we met and even so you hardly know me yet and i still don’t know who i am but i’ve got my name, and when i’m gone it might remain but who’s to say? it’s all a game, a play of silver cellophane a fleeting flame from the onyx room to the lion’s den the battle cry of the bleeding pen you loved me once so why not once again? but then it’s just a business, kid, that’s how it goes ’til the final curtain call it’s all a show
11.
i draw the curtains and i draw the bath and i’m alone at last with the aftermath i dream i’m drowning and i dream i turn to foam and sometimes i can’t help but bring it home he says he understands and i’m sure he does but that don’t stop the sinking in my guts it’s hard to shake it once it makes it in so low and sometimes i can’t help but bring it home the charioteer at the end of day leads the horses to sleep somewhere out of the way they make their bed in the dusk, the dust, and clay it lingers in the air, catches on the breath it hollows out a hole ’til there’s nothing left and you can’t fight it, only ride it ’til it’s done and sometimes you can’t help but bring it home the charioteer with the golden reins sings the horses to sleep as he brushes their manes but even he can’t keep the dreams away i give him every single part of me except there’s just one part i can’t quite reach i want to share it though i bear it on my own and sometimes i can’t help but bring it home and sometimes i can’t help but bring it home

credits

released October 14, 2014

All songs written, performed, and produced by Matthew Connor, with assistance from:

Thad DeBrock: pedal steel on 1, 2, 7.
Karl Doty: upright bass on 3, 5, 6, 8.
Beth Holub: violin and viola on 6, 8, 9.
David Ragland: electric bass on 2, 5, 7.
Cyrus Sink: upright bass on 1, 4, 10.
Kenneth Frank: vocals on 1.
Julia Haltigan: vocals on 1, 10.
Pia Romano: vocals on 1, 5, 9.

Mixed by Jeremy Page.
Mastered by Kevin Blackler.

Photographs: Karla Clute & Nicole Elkins
Design: Kenneth Frank

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Matthew Connor Boston, Massachusetts

Matthew Connor is a crooner for the 21st century, writing heart-wrenching songs that combine the windswept ideals of classic American balladry with stark depictions of modern-day alienation. The Boston-based Connor has a haunting voice that conjures ghosts of past heartbreaks, and he pairs it with spectral guitars that recall country tearjerkers and alt-pop brooding.

—Maura Johnston
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