Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sugar Heart

Dawn taught Sunday school had freckles an
d green eyes
Bob called her his Princess — promised her blue skies
Swept her through the doorway of a golden bungalow 
And soon a little face appeared in the picture window

And their daughter used to stand in the window  
Waiting for her daddy to come home…

Bob was hot playing pool and handsome with brown eyes 
He lost himself in liquor and tripped up on some lies
It’s not a pretty picture — this real life fairytale 
The night that Bob was locked up in the Brown Street Jail

Alone in her kitchen trying to be strong willed
Dawn shaped a little heart out of some sugar she had spilled

Growing up with stories that would burn an angels ears
Ann saw goodness in her dad — the source of countless tears
She confided in her uncle riding in a limousine,
 “I know my dad loved me” as they arrived at Evergreen

And she just looked out the window...

He called you his princess as she held you tight
But the diamonds in your eyes were soon tears to wipe dry
Wipe them out forever and never wonder why

But you didn't play them right

He had an angel but wanted every girl in sight
So fill your head with liquor as you fill your life with lies
He's in different club now with a different kind of lies

His eyes would fix with madness each time he went too far
They found him guilty of something he could't fight
He's in a different club now with a different kind of bars

She sat in her kitchen said she'd never reunite
While shaping a heart of sugar with her  matchbook
Only she knows if the sugar heart holds an ounce of might 

When I was a kid my mother enrolled me in the Anglican Sunday school. It was a quaint church on Main Street in Milton Ontario. They would project the lyrics to "God Sees the Little Sparrow Fall" and "Onward Christian Soldiers" on a screen and have us sing before teaching us the stories of Jesus. It was around 1964 and I was 11; hair slicked up and wearing a blue blazer. After Sunday school we would go to Marg's Restaurant and my younger brother Kim would sit with his Sunday school teacher, Bonnie, and have toast. Bonnie was married to my older brother Bob.Every time I went to Marg's Restaurant I would ask what flavors of ice cream they had, despite the fact they were all listed on the wall. The waitress would tell me all the flavors; then I would ask, "What's special of the month?" She would tell me, and I would think very carefully and say, "I'll have vanilla." I did this same routine every week, and always paused a long time before requesting vanilla. I wasn't that fond of vanilla, but felt it was necessary as part of the gag. I digress...
I was a Smart Alec Kid, but not as bad as my younger brother. Nevertheless, I was an expert at burping incessantly. I burped incessantly during Sunday school class. This got me kicked out of the church. The minister himself came to the class and escorted me out. This was my first and last meeting with the minister. In spite of being cast into the cold cruel world "God Sees the Little Sparrow Fall" is still one of my favorite hymns.Bob and Bonnie were married and moved into a yellow brick bungalow on Kingsliegh Court. The house faced the road just as it turned, so looking out the window you could see a car driving towards the house, and it could pull directly into the driveway without making a turn. Bob and Bonnie soon had a baby girl, and when the girl stood up she would stand in the picture window. I can recall walking to their house and seeing her little head in the window. I was told that she always looked in the window, "Waiting for her daddy to come home."I started writing a song about the girl in the window in the spring of 1973, just after returning from Europe. At that time my brother and his wife were going through a divorce. I visited Bonnie and sat with her in the kitchen having a coffee. She had spilled some sugar on the table and had shaped the grains neatly into a little heart. She told me would never be getting back together with my brother. I called the song "Sugar Heart."When I first wrote the song it had four verses with references to cards. "But the diamonds in her eyes were soon tears to wipe dry...Wipe them out forever and never wonder why...""He'd fill his head with liquor as he filled his life with liesHe's in a different club now with a different kind of bars."

"Over coffee (actually tea) she spilled some sugar and shaped a little heart."The inspiration for that was when  we went to the funeral of my mother in 1994. That was the first time I'd seen her in ten years...
"I saw the girl in the windowWe shared a limousineAs she clutched her daughter's pictureOn the way to Evergreen.She has her father's smileThose eyes are mine I'm afraidI played the game too soon And drew the ace of spades."


 I was lying in bed and just couldn’t sleep
 Counting rhyming footsteps instead of sheep
 Nascent iambic pentameter makes me unwind
 So the thought of navel gazing came to mind
To aim my telescope into a black hole
 Is a diamond in the end not a pure white coal?
 Ask any Angel or an open book with a spine
 Are we not created after an image divine?

 The next logical thing that may come to us
 Is there not a halo in the original Omphalos?
There are stars and then there are stars untold
To look them in the eye’s not being too bold
Then it struck me as being unequivocally odd
I had dared contemplating the very soul of God

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