Like Clockwork

by Color Theory

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1.
Penny for my thoughts Make a wish and toss it down Into the well But the well’s run dry Every thought evaporates on my tongue Promised I’d try To show you what I feel inside I keep to myself Because there’s nothing left Nothing really there to hide Or confide This is something I have to do Maybe not thought-provoking But it’s just what I promised you And you thought I was joking This is my life Like someone else’s diary Edited out Factual and dry Sterilized for public view Nothing new Still I hold hope inside That someday my words will run free To play out my part In something bigger than me.
2.
I held you in a dream Your back against my chest In your beauty I put my faith Though I never even saw your face You whispered warm Syllables soft as your skin Firsthand I learned In heaven the poetry doesn’t have words But you fell out of the sky A pillow in my arms Your tender voice lost without trace Smothered by the static and the bass I closed my eyes Started to fall back asleep But I couldn’t risk Tainting our tryst with an unforeseen twist It’s alright now It’s alright now If I can feel that way If my mind can comprehend perfection Then just maybe it exists It’s alright now It’s alright now.
3.
Sitting on a porch swing Looking out across New Haven Bay An eastern seaboard sunset Decorates a warm September day We must look so old-fashioned I never thought that I’d end up this way Happy to surrender Marry you again and again Linger in the flow In this afterglow Dusty shoebox photos Document my history with you When the shutter opens up The lens takes in the world around you too My heart is like a camera In love with all the world through loving you The feeling overwhelms me Waiting for our favorite song On the radio In this afterglow Now the night has fallen The fireflies in dazzling disarray I begin to lose myself In the glow of nature’s fireworks display All at once it hits me Marriage is the afterglow of two committed lives A growing promise that surrounds us in its light Sometimes this ever after Is bigger than my heart can contain Let it overflow In this afterglow.
4.
The sun fell down an hour ago But I still hike these foot worn hills The letters above spell Hollywood Welcome to my great escape The sun fell down an hour ago But I still walk these foot torn hills The letters above spell Hollywood And though the irony’s lost on me The stars don’t shine much here Through the blanket of smog Still there’s more than I can count And it makes me feel so small To be so far away from them Because no matter what I do I can never touch these stars I scan the sky for Alpha Centauri The closest star to ours Whose light travels five years to get here For all I know it may have died out by now But I see it with my own eyes A memory of what it used to be And so I remember you As you were when you were most alive You shine on me from heaven As real as these stars above That I can never touch again I can never touch again Never touch these stars Again.
5.
At the end of the night It can’t get any darker I shrink from the shadows Cast in fragile moonlight With my back on the headboard I sit on my mattress Clutching my pillow Scared to death of it all At the birth of the stars You come to me at nightfall Laughing at my terror As we struggle and spar When it seems that you’ve won The clock is my savoir The promise of daylight Denies all that you’ve done And I can sleep again I can sleep again At the end of the night My world at peace I can sleep again I can sleep again At the end of the night The nightmares cease Echoes of mundane things In waking dreams repeating Two mirrors face inwards And I’m caught in between When it feels like forever The clock is my savoir It promises daylight At the end of the night And I can sleep again I can sleep again At the end of the night My head is clear I can sleep again I can sleep again It’s the end of the night And hope is here.
6.
It’s rained for forty days and forty windy nights In artificial light the storm has paled my skin And flooded out my eyes There needs to be a pair of every animal When will a miracle deliver you to me And set this ship to sail? I’m tired of waiting But I’m still here avoiding the puddles Wishing I had an umbrella To shelter myself from this loneliness My socks are soaked My fingers are frozen This is the life that I’ve chosen And when you’ll come back I can only guess I’ll be here when you do The crashing water drops disguise a timid knock I fumble with the lock and check the door again But no one’s ever there The ground has turned to mud The sky has turned to gray The night turns into day without a change in hue I stop and think this through What if I should leave tomorrow? What if I should harden up my heart? What if I should give up hoping? I’m hardly coping At last I realize a new day has begun When like the summer sun you blaze into the room And melt the clouds away I wonder if the light is really here to stay Or will you run away and never come again? Only time will tell But I promise that I’m all done avoiding the puddles With wishing I had an umbrella How can one separate false from true? The warmest sun The bitterest rainfall I want to experience it all There’s no need to shelter myself from you.
7.
You live your life anonymously Stuck in this world of beauty queens and nobodys You’re not a star or a millionaire Tinseltown snubs its nose but you don’t really care Your unassuming figure hides Something beautiful Behind the t-shirt and Levi’s Something beautiful And I want you to know That I’m honored to be a part of Learn the art of Journey to the heart of you When did we all start judging so fast? Stuck in this world where first impressions always last Book jacket praise just doesn’t suffice Why should a classic novel have to be concise? And I know that you’re somebody special And I know that you’re more than you seem Cause I see so many things in you That are missing in me I open up, confess all my sins Stuck in this world where people hear but don’t listen You disapprove but you understand You never act as if you're better than I am.
8.
Got your eye on a pretty girl? You say she has a boyfriend? Well that’s okay They say forbidden fruit is sweetest All you need is a master plan And an eye for detail You’ll get your way She may not even know your name now But you are her destiny And she’ll realize it soon enough Her boyfriend will be the only man That stands between two star-crossed lovers And who would dare to tempt fate? Don’t settle for less than your heart’s desire There’s many a woman to be acquired She wants the sensitive type, a soul revealer If you follow my instructions You too can be a girlfriend stealer Perfect timing is everything If they have been dating For just a few months No one will show up on her radar If they’ve dated a year or so The fruit is ripe for picking Throw her a line It’s fine when she brings up her boyfriend You just want to be her friend Change the subject to a friendly thing Don’t even pretend to recognize Clear signs that she is feeling lonely Hang on her every word After you have been friends awhile It’s time to up the ante Give her a kiss Say this was not supposed to happen Roll your eyes and apologize Play off of her confusion Act like you tried To hide the rush of raw emotion When just then you realized What you feel inside your heart for her You’re not just some calculating guy Who’s trying to come between a couple You are a victim of fate And when you get your way I hope that you’re happy And when you seize the day I hope that you’re happy I hope that you’re happy I hope that you’re happy Until I steal her for myself.
9.
10.
It’s been a year since you drove away In your Chevrolet she paid for Now you need her to pick up the slack She won’t take you back she swore All on her own All on her own She’s doing well enough alone All on her own No chaperone She’s doing well enough She doesn’t need a crutch So leave well enough alone When she was up you pulled her down Stuck on the ground together She’s not afraid to test out her luck Without you to pluck her feathers Don’t kid yourself that you’re still in love It’s time to be truthful It wasn’t love that made you connect The lack of respect was mutual The fear of neglect was mutual The need to reject was mutual.
11.
Everybody has desperate days of quiet questioning Everybody has times when they feel like they don’t fit in Everybody needs someone to listen And say they understand Everybody thinks that the world should Bend to their demands But you know better There are so many ways to find happiness Some of the darkness stays behind, I promise Give it another day I know you in so many ways I’m a believer I’m a believer There are so many ways to fight loneliness So many brighter days in sight, I promise Give it another day Believe that these words can be true I’m a believer I’m a believer too Everybody has different strengths and different weaknesses Everybody has their own goals and their own purposes Everybody tries to measure up to everybody else Everybody sets an unfair standard In how they judge themselves But you know better Whatever you’re going through However hard it seems Just remember that it will surely pass Because change is the only constantly occuring theme When your demons are in full splender And you’re driven to full surrender Just remember that it can never last.
12.
Consumed 03:39
If I tell you that I love you It’s just because I can’t hold back I mean it as a promise And not just a simple fact If I tell you that I love you You know that I’m consumed When the shadow of your smile Can fly me to the moon Words said in passing mean so little these days They disappear like smoke rings in the air I want to lift them up above the cliché Not a line from a romance novel But a binding contract Some think of love as one of the emotions Blowing this way or that way with the wind But from my tongue it means conscious devotion Because it’s not just another feeling Like jealousy or anger Please don’t feel the need To repeat my words back to me I don’t mean it as a question Just kiss me with your silent lips And say it with your actions.
13.
I’m haunted by a false reality A victim of my own conspiracy My mind fills the vacuum when the details are left out My senses give you the benefit of any doubt I sometimes hear your voice ring from afar And smell your sweet perfume trapped in my car When I’m waking up I feel your arm across my chest But since we went our own separate ways My bed has kept no guest You are the stranger on the street But we’re familiar as best friends One glimpse of you on the crowded sidewalk And my heart is obsolete At a distance I see your face In the stranger on the street Don’t keep me at a distance I wonder how you are all through my day Chronic nostalgia pulls me away I want to be whole again I know it’s up to me But I’m reluctant to cross the bridge From love to apathy.
14.
Friends Go 05:15
On my list of things to do An errand at the store I chanced upon a long lost friend As we rummaged through the past Embellishing the truth I spotted an alarming trend Every time he asked about People we hadn't seen in years I was in doubt We had lost touch with everyone Where were the friends that filled our lives When we were young? I wonder... Will there be anyone to say, "Hey, do you remember?" Will there be anyone To phone me just to say hello Will I feel like I belong Like I'm a member? Will there be anyone to ask me Where did all of my friends go? We used to laugh for hours At stupid little things It never seemed a waste of time But responsibilities For which I volunteered Leave no room now to just unwind This modern life The American Dream Obligates you to sell your soul To a machine I never asked to leave the fold Maybe I'll see them all again When I grow old I wonder... Old friends from work Old friends from school Transient friendships have become The fated rule Getting ahead can never wait When the time comes to change your job Or graduate.
15.
On an ordinary Wednesday night With you and her and me We met at the club to take in the scenery When she asked you where you were last time You said that you worked late But you had told me that you had a special date I looked into your eyes In search of any sign Of recognition or anxiety But there was not a trace Your perfect poker face Persuaded me to doubt my memory Always calculating who knows what Always thinking back It’s natural when you spend your life Covering up your tracks On a legendary Wednesday night With only her and me There was some other place that you had to be Though I tried to steer the topic clear She wouldn’t let it go The first of your lies fell down like a domino Comparing mental notes Recalling anecdotes Mythologies you made on our behalf We wallowed in disgust You couldn’t earn our trust If you were hooked up to a polygraph You live in a parallel dimension Where the laws of honesty do not apply A twilight zone where the past is always changing To corroborate the latest of your lies So go on and weave your fragile web You won’t entangle me Now that I’ve seen your subtle duplicity Still I find it hard to hold a grudge Because you seem to be Lost in your own subjective reality Not wanting to deceive You struggle to believe The lies you tell for your own benefit Entirely immersed In your own universe And really who am I to question it?
16.
In the stillness of a numberless hour I lie next to her Breathing in the beauty of her form She engulfs me in a sincere embrace Her heart betrays her And for a moment she is mine. In the stillness of a numberless hour I sit next to her Fixed in clumsy conversation An unconsidered phrase escapes her lips Her heart betrays her And for a moment she is mine. In the stillness of a numberless hour I lie far from her Laboring in idle insomnia Grovelling to God That she, like I, Would never betray her heart.
17.
At the ice cream shop You always wait and see Thirty other flavors Why the same as me? You borrow my CDs While yours gather dust This is getting old We need to discuss your trend To adjust and bend It’s like you bleed into me Imitation is flattery But it’s gone too far You are who you are Do the things I do Eat the foods I eat Read the books I read Watch the same shows on TV Beer instead of wine Coffee over tea This is getting scary I’m not sure you realize That you idealize Please don’t change for me I’m ashamed you tried Don’t assume my ego Must be gratified Still you show no sign That you are aware This is getting awkward You’ve become a parody A false heir of me The more that you become like me The more you disappear The more alone I feel inside Whenever you are here.
18.
Numb (demo) 03:44
Seems like all they want to talk about is love It makes you feel so insecure Have you ever truly been in love before? If you want to know for sure Catch a wild bee and Hold it in your tightly closed fist Wait until your hand goes numb If it doesn’t sting you Then you know that you’re in love But you will end up getting stung Either way You’ve been feeling happy but not overjoyed Satisfied but not content Maybe lost your head but it’s not in the clouds Guilty yet so innocent Either way people change You’ll wake up cold and cry his name in vain He can’t deny his legacy The endless search for novelty Why did you decide to take such tender care Of the flowers that he gave? After all he hasn’t called you for a week Doesn’t that make you feel strange? Either way the flowers die.
19.
It may not always be like this I hate to be such a realist If someday your lips should touch another’s And I should come between two star-crossed lovers If someday your strong but tender fingers Should close around the heart of some rose-bringer As they grow tight around mine still Then grant me this one thing This one small thing It may not always be like this I hate to be such a realist But if someday you should lay your silky hair On his smiling face in that silence that we share If you should hear the same bewildered words That spill out in an incoherent blur From the exposed and helpless soul Then grant me this one thing This one small thing Let me know Just let me know You who own my heart If we must be apart Let me know Just let me know Send a little word When you know for sure Let me know So I can go to him and take his hands And cut the anchor free Look into his eyes and say “Accept all happiness from me” Then at last I’ll turn my face To see the dying day And hear a single bird’s faint song From somewhere far away So far away.
20.
Nuances 04:08
Nuances I love you in the nuances In tinges and traces And minute details Tenderness The subtle shades of tenderness Grand romantic gestures On a lesser scale I’m not one for emotional displays I hold the deepest feelings But I show them in small ways A touch on the arm The curve of a smile The brushing of bodies The faint self-denial I’m not one for emotional displays I hold the deepest feelings But I show them in small ways An economy of sentiment When the brain controls the heart But don’t think me a robot Just because I’m smart Enough to shield what I adore Enough to doubt what’s never worked before And smart enough to readily attest When head and heart compete The brain knows best.
21.
A Eurorail pass and the clothes on your back are all you’ve got You said you need a chance to live life for yourself Away with your friends Prying and criticizing me When it comes to relationships you don’t need any help It tears me up The way you ran away The things that people say How I wish you Never had set foot on foreign ground Your friends don’t understand The customs of our land How I wish they Never had set foot on foreign ground How can they claim to know what it’s like when we’re alone? I understand sometimes you need a way to vent But they are all oceans away from knowing us Every relationship is a private continent You make me happy and that’s all I need to know I don’t need permission from a judge and jury Our love is one thing you can’t say instead of show To hell with all doubters in the world You and I share our own special form of government A balance of power A democracy of two Don’t give away the right to control our destiny It should just be one vote for me and one for you.
22.
Putting out fires No time for today It’s already over Notes on the desk Frenzied notes on the door Forget the reminder Remember the forgotten Frantic crescendo A contained scream Hysteria hold it down Burning in my stomach I wonder what will I do when the fires die out? Will I smolder and disappear? I was designed by the fires Am defined by the fires Have the burns become too severe? Putting out fires The forward momentum Pushes and crushes Presses me onward Into tomorrow Without a glance backwards My inertia overcome My senses overpowered Can’t keep track of Everything that must be done Sooner than yesterday The clock is my worst enemy The pounding eats away at me It never stops It never stops This burning in my stomach.
23.
Sometimes I forget that it’s okay to be happy Even though it’s not in style And while we sometimes disagree I understand you Even when feelings come and go I can’t help but feel that love’s Always tingling just underneath the skin Shimmering softly Sometimes people find a way to see the long road through I bet that we can make it work out too I bet that we can make it work out too I don’t think I can settle for a future without you I bet that we can make it work out too I thought for sure I’d paint myself in corner Like I’d always done before Tear up the canvas and start over On my self-portrait But now with you smiling next to me Framed and set for history We are ready for permanent display It may not be easy, but I don’t care about my birthday Only anniversaries From paper all the way to gold I’m too caught up in forever and what it means to be More than you or I alone I bet that we can make it work out too I bet that we can make it work out too I can’t begin to comprehend a future without you.
24.
The phone shocks you out of sleep like a fire alarm He reaches to answer it but you restrain his arm She cries so hard it distorts the speaker On the answering machine And there you lie in between You ask him if he loves you and he tells you yes But he’s never going to settle for second best It’s natural to want the thing you can’t possess Which is why to him you’ll always be second best Against your own advice you fell in love with him After she let him go on just another whim But now she sees that somebody treasures him Suspicion fills her mind What did she leave behind? He needs to have something just beyond his reach Drama and action and uncertainty The relentless pursuit of insecurity All those things he provides for you Though you’ll never admit you crave them too At their computer screens They talk without a sound His wallet still hides the proof of paradise unfound He never finished the song he wrote for her The ending wasn’t clear When would she reappear?
25.
Ferris Wheel 04:20
In bed in the middle of the day Headphones cover my ears Hiding from responsibilities Wishing that you were here Hazy like the shadow of a dream You walk into the room Pull me with your eyes like tractor beams I’m a wolf to your moon And you seem so sorry you left So sorry it took two months to find your bearings So sad to confess You’ll probably do it again For some reason or other I’m up for another Ride on the ferris wheel with you Our first date is set for Tuesday night You confirm all my fears Broken plans for a quiet meal at home Candles cry waxy tears You show up a quarter after two Smelling like cigarettes Angry that I tried to kiss hello Why should you be upset? But you won’t say anything real I’m trying to understand another language Too scared to reveal Let’s spend the night lying awake Never touching each other I’m down with another Ride on the ferris wheel with you Everybody has their ups and downs But we go round and round and round For a moment we may reach the sky But the price of admission is far too high Sunlight swells between the dusty blinds You are blind to my pain So anxious I couldn’t sleep at all While you snored like a train I get dressed and leave early for work Unwilling to live last night again tomorrow I’ll only get hurt With someone who can’t love herself Much less share love with others I can’t bear another Ride on the ferris wheel with you.
26.
So good to hear your voice Yeah I know it’s been a long time Sometimes I miss those years The melodrama that we went through I dropped the telephone When I heard you’re getting married Take a step back with me And see your life from a bird’s-eye view Forgive me if you’re feeling pressured or harassed If there’s a chance I have to ask Will you meet me at the top of the Eiffel Tower This coming Friday at eight? I’ll make the arrangements Don’t think of it as a date When you see the view from the Eiffel Tower The Paris skyline at dark Then you’ll understand that we’ve travelled too many miles To stay apart How many people said That we were meant to be together? I don’t believe in fate Still a part of me won’t let go Tell me I’m not too late It may seem a desperate measure But if you’ll humor me By next Monday we’ll truly know I’m terrified of living life under the threat Of lasting doubt, of slow regret Don’t think that I Am only clinging to the past My life’s too short The world’s too vast Maybe you’ll decide that you never want to depart.

about

Every week for twenty-six consecutive weeks, I wrote and recorded a new song to post on the site. In a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that they wouldn't all be masterpieces, I called the project "The Bad Song of the Week." Fans voted for their favorites and ultimately helped decide which songs would be re-recorded and included on two albums: Life's Fairytale and Something Beautiful. These demos were later released as a limited edition two-disc set entitled Like Clockwork. Many of the songs in the set have never appeared anywhere else. Available as a download only.

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released August 3, 2001

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Color Theory Huntington Beach, California

Somehow I never outgrew the 80s.

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