James Lee Johnston

Professional Subscriber to Songbay
James Lee Johnston
Shadow Works deals in the Jungian unconscious archetype known as the Shadow Self...
Play Now

Shadow Works Feat Olga C

"Lies, Lies" is an introspective monologue that weighs the complexities of a rom...
Play Now

Lies, Lies

This song tells a heartfelt story about a couple who change time, light, and the...
Play Now

Forever


Latest Uploads

Shadow Works deals in the Jungian unconscious archetype known as the Shadow Self...
Play Now

Shadow Works Feat Olga C

"Lies, Lies" is an introspective monologue that weighs the complexities of a rom...
Play Now

Lies, Lies

This song tells a heartfelt story about a couple who change time, light, and the...
Play Now

Forever

VERSE
Glossy cards typed in gold lamé
“The Celebration of Our Wedding Day”
Looking back, it never made much sense
It should’ve read “Consequence”

Your fine church is generations old
The marble floors are laboratory cold
The fake flowers seem so insincere
They’re not the only thing that’s plastic here

CHORUS
I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
The invite screams: “Epic Mistake”
How can “I do” when I know “I don’t”
Some women will but somehow, I won’t

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
It’s closing fast and it’s way too late
I know my words will sound way too rough
But your world was never nearly real enough


VERSE
Some describe it as a perfect life
Who wouldn’t want to shine and be your wife?
This stage is set for my audition day
Cast and starring in a scripted play

The Blue Book becomes my Bible now
Cotillions killing me somehow
Will I ever get to catch my breath?
Forever parading through this pretty death

CHORUS
I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
The invite screams: “Epic Mistake”
How can “I do” when I know “I don’t”
Some women will but somehow, I won’t

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
It’s closing fast and it’s way too late
I know my words will sound way too rough
But your world was never nearly real enough

VERSE
The rumor mill running overtime:
Assigning blame whether it’s yours or mine
Folks will do what they often do:
Shooting stares at me and Amy Sue

You’ll always claim I made a perfect mess
Your party favor wrapped in a wedding dress
For a time, it’ll be big news:
“Cold-Feet Bride Wears Silver Icing Shoes”


CHORUS

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
The invite screams: “Epic Mistake”
How can “I do” when I know “I don’t”
Some women will but somehow, I won’t

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
It’s closing fast and it’s way too late
I know my words will sound way too rough
But your world was never nearly real enough


OUTRO
Your expectations will never work for me:
I’m meant for more than sex and serving tea
Don’t need a branch from your family tree
Don’t need a name longer than Tennessee
Don’t want to lose my hometown harmony
Can’t live my life completely out of key
It all came down to either you or me

There’s your damn RSVP

Wedding Cake

VERSE
As I consult and seek the universe
Reflections of when times were worse
There’s no space between here and then:
A soul traveler steeped in my Zen

In my best life I’m Marie Antoinette
My pageantry blew up the internet
Despite French wealth and royal majesty
In the end, I’m but a comic tragedy

Sometimes I feel foreboding dread:
Joked a one off from my busy head
Made a cake mistake, one little gaffe
Now I’m not the queen I once was by half

CHORUS
I just do my shadow works
My shadows work through me
In the backside of the mirror lurks
A better side of me

VERSE
My inner roar born from Joan of Arc
Courage and faith brought down an English monarch
Caught between hellfire and holy water
I only ever wanted to be God’s loving daughter

Cleopatra ruled with my open heart
Charismatic and schooled, I was state-of-the-art
An Egyptian passage appeared on my top shelf:
“To conquer the world, one must conquer oneself”

CHORUS
I just do my shadow works
My shadows work through me
In the backside of the mirror lurks
A better side of me

BRIDGE
One, two, three, four: let’s rehearse
One hundred more lives to reverse
Cocooned safely in my quietude
My dark Sacred Space of Solitude
Their irony always follows me
I weave them into my tapestry….

CHORUS/OUTRO
I just do my shadow works
My shadows work through me
In the backside of the mirror lurks
A better side of me
Realigned reality
The final taste of free(dom)

Shadow Works

VERSE
The spotlights and the footlights embrace me again
If all the world’s a stage, then color me a friend
I dream, I cry, I mystify with every song
I play in the round surrounded by tout le monde

Oh, my medium, my island, my oasis
I drink in the light while nighttime dims their faces
By chance I see you there, my brilliant star just over there
The final curtain reappears…

Chorus
Ennui…
The open space that’s left for me to face again
Like empty bottles tossed aside just as the party ends
I peel back their labels as I stare each one down
Another Bordeaux disappears… into... ennui

VERSE
I love this cabaret that you’ve created
Every moment celebrated
Perfectly posed and portrait painted
Isn’t that the way life should be?

(I envy) How mantle candles sway as they glow
How their flames don’t leave a shadow
Their soft, silent, light legato
Here, the dark can’t corner me…until…
CHORUS
Ennui…
The open space that’s left for me to face again
Like empty bottles tossed aside just as the party ends
I peel back their labels as I stare each one down
Another Bordeaux disappears… into... ennui

VERSE
The reds and whites are bright, My Love
Complex, but so am I tonight, My Love
The sky, the sun. the clouds, right above
Reminders of our center stage and beauty of…

Oh, the life I’ve rediscovered:
Our table pours a canopy of colors
They rain down on one another
Where does the rainbow end?

CHORUS
Ennui…
The empty place that waits for me as you leave again
We danced our crazy caravan but when the journey ends
I pull up my tent stakes and I lay this body down
The shimmered spotlight disappears… into… ennui

Outro
Ennui…
The open space that’s left for me to face again
(The empty place that waits for me as you leave once again)
Like empty bottles tossed aside just as the party ends
(We danced our crazy caravan, but when the journey ends)
I peel back their labels as I stare each one down
(I pull up my tent stakes and I lay this body down)
Another Bordeaux disappears…
(The shimmered spotlight disappears) …into… ennui

Ennui

Verse
Once again, I’m looking in before this ironic reflecting pool
Somehow, I think I’m better now a revelation just became my school
Usually, this is just a formality: forearms, wrists, nails, ‘n hands
Sanitized for safety that would never have been true again

Despite wide speculation, allegation, and analogy
They claim docs thrive on ego but I could swear that wasn’t me
You see, recently it’s become quite clear to me that I’m no deity
I’ve made my way quite skillfully steeped in surgery plus philosophy

Am I a man or a medical machine?
Much depends on the stage and the movie scene
Which am I and which is more?
What are You asking of me? I’ve never stood here before

I’ve been around long enough to see and seen enough to know
That there are no good seats in this malignant horror show
Normally, I’m shielded by a coat and degree but not this one
There’s no safe place to cling to when it’s your only God-given son

Chorus
I still live in late December and you forever in early spring
I can’t help but still remember that quiet hush of your suffering


Verse
I find I’m trapped in the space between the bad and the good
And I’m thinking of things that a Dad never should
When he shows his brave face the one I taught him to wear
And when he talks up his hope it only fuels my despair

The Commandments are clear hell, they’re carved into stone
I feel their weight crush my heart but they’re not flesh and bone
I’ve been wrestling ‘round with Primum Non Nocere
Would I be doing harm or providing sanctuary?

Chorus
I still live in late December and you forever in early spring
I can’t help but still remember that quiet hush of your suffering

Verse
You can bet I’ve had a few words between me and The Man
I’ve even called into question the meaning of His grand plan
After I blasphemed enough one more sin on my head
Was there forgiveness enough for everything that I said?

I know I’m not God but I just don’t understand
And I keep going back to am I machine or a man
And now he’s all hollowed out I’m hanging there too
By my one grieving thought: “I’d trade places with you”




Bridge
In that last little instant when I kneel on the side his bed
With one hand on my heart the other caressing his sweet head
I never quite felt it this way though I always knew it was true
The final love of The Father: He lost His son too

Chorus
I still live in late December and you forever in early spring
I can’t help but still remember that quiet hush of your suffering

Outro
To my questions of self: just struggling pseudonyms
I can’t say it hurts less but we found shelter in Him
Regarding “which am I?” and “which is more?”
I finally confess: His love is more

A Doctor's Duty

It must have been
With your Cheshire grin
You said, “Whenever”
Whenever was the time
You thought I’d be with you

Despite the cost
So clearly you were lost
I cried, “Forever”
A forever summertime
I dreamt of seeing you

So, we forged our flame
And we laughed our fun
We did our loving best
To keep time on the run
But time will tell
And it tolled on you

I can never, I can never
Unsee you

I’ve never lived a life so free
Than when the world was you and me
It’s gardens grew red, green, and blue
Still not enough for just we two
And to our portrait painted days’ delight
Their custom colors cured white light
If heaven holds a place in kind
It’s flowers blossom in my mind…
Forever! Oh….

Even though we may not be together
In my dream of always seeing you
I found my only one “Forever”
In all the joy of my daily déjà vu:

I feel the light catch my face
From the morning sunrise
It’s the same as I felt
When I looked in your eyes

I can’t be the only one
Who sees you when the leaves
Face and follow the sun

Be it luck or fate
Darling, it’s too late

I can never, I can never
Unsee you
(For forever, just one more forever…)
I can never, I can never,
Unsee you
(For forever, just one more life together…)
(I still have you…)

Forever

My Uploads

Shadow Works deals in the Jungian unconscious archetype known as the Shadow Self...
Play Now

Shadow Works Feat Olga C

"Lies, Lies" is an introspective monologue that weighs the complexities of a rom...
Play Now

Lies, Lies

This song tells a heartfelt story about a couple who change time, light, and the...
Play Now

Forever

VERSE
Glossy cards typed in gold lamé
“The Celebration of Our Wedding Day”
Looking back, it never made much sense
It should’ve read “Consequence”

Your fine church is generations old
The marble floors are laboratory cold
The fake flowers seem so insincere
They’re not the only thing that’s plastic here

CHORUS
I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
The invite screams: “Epic Mistake”
How can “I do” when I know “I don’t”
Some women will but somehow, I won’t

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
It’s closing fast and it’s way too late
I know my words will sound way too rough
But your world was never nearly real enough


VERSE
Some describe it as a perfect life
Who wouldn’t want to shine and be your wife?
This stage is set for my audition day
Cast and starring in a scripted play

The Blue Book becomes my Bible now
Cotillions killing me somehow
Will I ever get to catch my breath?
Forever parading through this pretty death

CHORUS
I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
The invite screams: “Epic Mistake”
How can “I do” when I know “I don’t”
Some women will but somehow, I won’t

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
It’s closing fast and it’s way too late
I know my words will sound way too rough
But your world was never nearly real enough

VERSE
The rumor mill running overtime:
Assigning blame whether it’s yours or mine
Folks will do what they often do:
Shooting stares at me and Amy Sue

You’ll always claim I made a perfect mess
Your party favor wrapped in a wedding dress
For a time, it’ll be big news:
“Cold-Feet Bride Wears Silver Icing Shoes”


CHORUS

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
The invite screams: “Epic Mistake”
How can “I do” when I know “I don’t”
Some women will but somehow, I won’t

I’m not that girl on your wedding cake
It’s closing fast and it’s way too late
I know my words will sound way too rough
But your world was never nearly real enough


OUTRO
Your expectations will never work for me:
I’m meant for more than sex and serving tea
Don’t need a branch from your family tree
Don’t need a name longer than Tennessee
Don’t want to lose my hometown harmony
Can’t live my life completely out of key
It all came down to either you or me

There’s your damn RSVP

Wedding Cake

VERSE
As I consult and seek the universe
Reflections of when times were worse
There’s no space between here and then:
A soul traveler steeped in my Zen

In my best life I’m Marie Antoinette
My pageantry blew up the internet
Despite French wealth and royal majesty
In the end, I’m but a comic tragedy

Sometimes I feel foreboding dread:
Joked a one off from my busy head
Made a cake mistake, one little gaffe
Now I’m not the queen I once was by half

CHORUS
I just do my shadow works
My shadows work through me
In the backside of the mirror lurks
A better side of me

VERSE
My inner roar born from Joan of Arc
Courage and faith brought down an English monarch
Caught between hellfire and holy water
I only ever wanted to be God’s loving daughter

Cleopatra ruled with my open heart
Charismatic and schooled, I was state-of-the-art
An Egyptian passage appeared on my top shelf:
“To conquer the world, one must conquer oneself”

CHORUS
I just do my shadow works
My shadows work through me
In the backside of the mirror lurks
A better side of me

BRIDGE
One, two, three, four: let’s rehearse
One hundred more lives to reverse
Cocooned safely in my quietude
My dark Sacred Space of Solitude
Their irony always follows me
I weave them into my tapestry….

CHORUS/OUTRO
I just do my shadow works
My shadows work through me
In the backside of the mirror lurks
A better side of me
Realigned reality
The final taste of free(dom)

Shadow Works

VERSE
The spotlights and the footlights embrace me again
If all the world’s a stage, then color me a friend
I dream, I cry, I mystify with every song
I play in the round surrounded by tout le monde

Oh, my medium, my island, my oasis
I drink in the light while nighttime dims their faces
By chance I see you there, my brilliant star just over there
The final curtain reappears…

Chorus
Ennui…
The open space that’s left for me to face again
Like empty bottles tossed aside just as the party ends
I peel back their labels as I stare each one down
Another Bordeaux disappears… into... ennui

VERSE
I love this cabaret that you’ve created
Every moment celebrated
Perfectly posed and portrait painted
Isn’t that the way life should be?

(I envy) How mantle candles sway as they glow
How their flames don’t leave a shadow
Their soft, silent, light legato
Here, the dark can’t corner me…until…
CHORUS
Ennui…
The open space that’s left for me to face again
Like empty bottles tossed aside just as the party ends
I peel back their labels as I stare each one down
Another Bordeaux disappears… into... ennui

VERSE
The reds and whites are bright, My Love
Complex, but so am I tonight, My Love
The sky, the sun. the clouds, right above
Reminders of our center stage and beauty of…

Oh, the life I’ve rediscovered:
Our table pours a canopy of colors
They rain down on one another
Where does the rainbow end?

CHORUS
Ennui…
The empty place that waits for me as you leave again
We danced our crazy caravan but when the journey ends
I pull up my tent stakes and I lay this body down
The shimmered spotlight disappears… into… ennui

Outro
Ennui…
The open space that’s left for me to face again
(The empty place that waits for me as you leave once again)
Like empty bottles tossed aside just as the party ends
(We danced our crazy caravan, but when the journey ends)
I peel back their labels as I stare each one down
(I pull up my tent stakes and I lay this body down)
Another Bordeaux disappears…
(The shimmered spotlight disappears) …into… ennui

Ennui


About Me

Bio

I have been writing poetry and now, lyrics for over forty years. My writing influencers travel across time from the classical works of Shakespeare to the storytelling of a multitude of contemporaries highlighted by Bernie Taupin and Sting. I favor the usage of sound devices such as alliteration and rhyme to bring out the musical quality of my writing.

CV/History

Ophthalmology/Neuro-Ophthalmology
"The Fountain of Saint Sebastian" Public Presentation Art Avenue, Cleveland OH; Public presentation The Beck Center, Board of Directors, Cleveland OH

Contact

Do you want to Work with James Lee Johnston?