Category Archives: Lyrics

Crowded Bed & Both Sides

Here are a couple of new recordings I just put up on my YouTube page. These songs were written within a month of each other, and about a month after my ex-wife and I split up.
I always wanted to do a concept album about that 7-year relationship using all of the songs I wrote about her (my most prolific period of songwriting), with these two songs as the bookends. It would have started with Crowded Bed, and then ended with Both Sides, with everything else sort of chronicling our relationship on a timeline.

It would have included “I love you, Baby” songs, “I fucking hate you” songs, and of course, “I fucking hate myself” songs.

Good stuff!

Then, a lot of time passed, and now I cannot remember why I wanted to devote so much energy to such an idea. We get along okay nowadays, but she still tries her damnedest to pretend the 7 years of her life that we were together never happened.

I have since looked at all of the songs that I wrote for her and want to detach her from them all. I mean, they’re good songs; why waste them now?

Some day, I’ll tell you all my concept for the “Me and Whoever” album I have had for some time.

Anyway, these two songs will be interlinked forever, and so I present them as a matching set. I hope you enjoy.

Oh, and one important note: “Crowded Bed” is one of three piano songs I have posted. I am not a real piano player, and I could have played guitar instead, but the song was designed to be played on the piano, and so I wanted to give it a go. You might notice me sticking my tongue out while I’m playing. That’s my “concentrating real hard” face.

Also, Both Sides sounds so much better in my head than what I can do with just an acoustic guitar. I imagine loud, angry guitars screaming in cacophony, sort of like the intro to The Cure’s, “The Kiss.”

Anyhow, There are plenty of videos up on my YouTube page, so please feel free to browse around. All comments are welcome. Thank you!

Crowded Bed

Crowded Bed
by: Joel C. Marckx

Two people get together and they know they’re meant to be
They never mind the weather and the waves out on the sea
They can make it through the day without a scuffle or a fight
They can work it out and not care about who’s wrong or right
They don’t worry about what’s been said
I lie alone in this crowded bed, and I wonder what that’s like

Some couples live their lives and remain honest and true
No quick backdoor affairs, no secrets kept from view
One never has to worry why the other is out all night
They’re true to the end and know that everything is alright
They mean every word that’s said
I lie alone in my crowded bed, and I wonder what that’s like

I wonder why it’s been so hard for me
I wonder why I feel like I’ve been set free
I wonder why I’m not as happy as I should be
I wonder why the day has ended, but the moon still isn’t shining down on me

Two people get together and stay happy year after year
Each day seems to get better, their dreams are still perfectly clear
They got it right the first time
They look forward to each night
They would do it all over again
I lie alone in this crowded bed, and I wonder what that’s like

Both Sides

Both Sides
by: Joel C. Marckx

Baby, if you call on me I won’t turn you away
But I can’t conceive of living with you every single day
I love you, and you know it’s true, but I can’t possibly stay

All I ever wanted was for you to love me true
I tried to give my all and do what you wanted me to do
Now I’ll try to convince myself it’s better that we’re through

I never wanted to think of you as my ex-anything
But time has passed, and now you are my former everything
I searched around the darkness and I could feel nothing

There’s two sides to a story, and there is no wrong or right
Two people get together and they want to hear both sides
I lie alone in my empty bed and I wonder what that’s like

So, Baby, if you crawl to me, I won’t kick you away
But I can’t conceive of arguing my side another day
What is there to fight for when there’s nothing left to say?
And just knowing what we’re losing hurts me more than any words


Leave a comment

Filed under Lyrics, videos


This has nothing to do with Mother’s Day.

Here’s a song I wrote a while back. I wanted to share one of my piano songs with you all, just for the sake of variety, and because I needed a reason to practice them.

I have an old Wurlitzer electric piano from the 1960s that is in fairly decent shape, considering that it has never had a tune-up, or even been tuned. It’s in all original condition–for good or ill.

Anyway, this song was written for someone I never should have ever looked twice at. She was married, and there were other complications that I won’t go into now. But we did have a pretty solid flirtation, and I wrote a few songs for her before going our separate ways. Songs like this one–Like Spring, and this one–Rusty Nail, among others.

I have no idea where she is now. Kinda wish that I did, tho.

But then, as special as she may have been at that time, in retrospect, she was really just a distraction from the fact that my marriage had just ended.

Anyhoo, I always loved this song, but it never sounded right on the guitar, and I do not play the piano as often as I should, and so, it just never got let out for air. In fact, NO ONE has ever heard this song before. Not even Liam.

Anyway, here it is–Wish.
I hope you enjoy it.
I have plenty of other videos up on my YouTube page, so please feel free to browse. All comments are welcome!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy Sunday!

by: Joel C. Marckx

You are the single most beautiful woman
That I have ever seen
Your simple words have amazing power
And influence over me
You are so elegant, intelligent
And I feel that not a moment spent has been wasted
Perhaps squandered
For there are no moments now

If I only get two hours, I would swim in your eyes
And make no wish for air
And if I only get five minutes, I would tell you all
That I have wished to share
You are everything I wish to find in Heaven
And if I only get ten seconds
I would say I love you
And I wish to find you now

Leave a comment

Filed under Lyrics, videos

Rusty Nail

Well, I kinda fell off the face of the Earth there for a bit. Hard times have fallen upon the Marckx household and I could not pay the Internet bill. Now all I have is my 3G with limited data, so I won’t be blogging much, but I’ll post something from time to time.
It’s been kinda liberating, actually. Instead of stressing over what I would post each day, I actually read a book (Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver), and made a bunch if progress on my own novel.
But today I bring you something a little different. Here is a video I made of myself playing one of my own songs. Recorded on my iPhone and uploaded to YouTube, this is my first attempt at such a thing. I hope you like it. If it doesn’t totally suck, I’ll do more in the future.
So, here goes. Thanks for stopping by. And candid and honest comments are most welcome, please!

Joel Marckx – Rusty Nail


Filed under Lyrics, videos

No Change Thing

This is one of my oldest lyrics.  In fact, it is the oldest one that I am willing to share with anyone anymore.  I have older ones; I have been writing songs since I was six years old, but most of those are too…I’m not sure what the word is for them.  Maybe “embarrassing”, or “naïve”, or “underdeveloped.”

Besides, I threw away most of my really old lyrics.  Twice, actually.



I started writing songs and poetry when I was six, as I just mentioned, and by the time I was a teenager, I decided that I would rather die than to let my friends see those old lyrics.  And so, in a panic that I cannot explain to this day, I tossed them all away.  Such a shame, really, considering that there was no reason to believe that any of my friends would ever find a binder of lyrics hidden at the bottom of one of my dresser drawers, and then read them, then share them with the entire school, then laugh at me, and then mock me as I literally died.

The second time was more tragic.  I have talked before about my love/hate relationship with my Muse.  I write and write and write, and for what?  No one ever hears my songs, so why do I keep writing?  My Muse pushes me, that is why.  And some days I love her for it, and some days I hate her.

About 7 or 8 years ago, I resigned myself to the sad fact that I would never play music in front of people again, and therefore, songwriting was a stupid waste of time.  To seal the deal, I threw away an old briefcase filled with lyrics dating back to about 1983, and everything else up to 2005.  That includes various drafts, notes, and completed lyrics that I never used.

All thrown away.



There is nothing that I can do about it now, but I sure regret those impetuous moments.  I wish that I could have them back.

I have continued to write songs, and I have even gone to perform at a couple open mics.

I’m telling you; love/hate.

I should have that tattooed on my knuckles.  Or my forehead.

That's so me.

That’s so me.

Anyway, a few older lyrics survived—even some that I do not like very much—but this is the oldest that I still like.

I, of course, have grown quite a bit as a writer since this song was written, but I am still proud of the playful lyric that I managed to construct.  I hope the imagery strikes something in you as you read it.  I’ll let your imaginations try to figure out the meaning.

The music is pretty cool too, but I’ll have to wait until I have a useful computer before I can share that with you.

Anyway, all the way from 1988, here is “No Change Thing.”

No Change Thing

By: Joel C. Marckx


We did pretty good with the tools we had

Trying to have fun, but it’s going bad

Everybody smiled when I was feeling sad…but it’s okay

‘Coz I really didn’t change a thing

You cannot go to Hell and walk out smiling

Just prove to yourself that you weren’t lying

You may not get to talk because you think that you’re dying…but it’s okay

‘Coz it wouldn’t even change a thing

       Everybody’s just cheering me on

       Like for some game show prize

       But there’s lights flashing on the coroner’s car

       And spirits spinning from the sky

       And it didn’t really change a thing

When I could walk, I could hardly speak

When I could talk, I couldn’t stay on my feet

Friends just ignored me to try to keep their peace…but it’s okay

‘Coz I could never change a thing

And when I finally came back from the ends of the Earth

I really didn’t think that I should say a word

So, I tried to pass it off as my greatest work…and it’s okay

How could I have changed a thing

       It must have happened a thousand times

       It was a first time for me

       I didn’t know if I could live with it

       And I’ll never feel so safe

       But it will never, ever change a thing


Filed under Lyrics


(continued from last Tuesday’s post, Back to the Beginning)

Tuesday, June 29, 1999 – 2:15 am

Cody lay awake in the bed the still shared with Lily.  After a night of passionate and desperate lovemaking that bordered on recklessness, Cody found the peaceful sleep that he had expected eluding him.  At first, he felt relieved that he and Lily were able to come together again, but the question of how realistic those expectations were haunted him.

Of course, he wanted to stay with Lily, but he also wished that none of this had ever happened.  He wanted to trust Lily to never cheat on him again, but then, he also wished that he had never given her a reason to want to run away.

Too many things had happened between them in a short period; too many hurts, and too many fractures in their trust.  Yet, here they were, urgently trying to bring their relationship back on track.  Neither of them wanted to return to the hurtful place they were at just eight hours ago; Cody was certain of that, but none of it could be forgotten.  They had to move forward with the promises they had made to each other.

As he was wont to do, Cody began to internalize all of the problems between them, and he placed the burden of their failures square onto his shoulders.  He knew Lily relied on this, and so he resisted, but he could not hold out for long.

            If only I had been more present in our relationship these past few years.

            I know I neglected her.

            Why did I get so wrapped-up with the drugs?

            Why do I spend so much time with Huey?

            Why do I try so hard to make Dutch Oven successful?

            What am I trying to prove?  And to whom?

Looking deep into his own soul, Cody believed that his actions drove Lily away.  He had already absolved her of her infidelity, and began to accept all of the responsibility for the near-dissolution of their marriage.  Of losing his soulmate.

Cody saw his heart closed behind an impenetrable fort, sealed away from hurt and despair.  He believed that this was necessary to meet his goals in life, and to prove to the world his own worth.  However, Cody did not anticipate hurting Lily in the process.  He believed that he had loved and cared for her during this time, even if he could now see that he did not always show it.

A song was coming to him.

Cody leaped from the bed and ran downstairs to his music room.  He grabbed his acoustic guitar and began strumming a simple chord structure in Dm.  It was a dark and haunting melody—one that fit the mood of his thoughts perfectly.

In almost the time it took to play the song through, he had written the musical changes and most of the lyrics in one sitting.  He would later make minor edits to the lyrics.

It was the easiest song he had ever written, and he could hardly wait for Lily to wake up so that he could play it for her.  Cody got no sleep that night, but not because he was using drugs; rather, he was so excited to play a brand new song that he believed proved to Lily that this fresh start would work.

At 7:45 am, Lily came down stairs to find Cody making the final touches to his newest song.  After a hug and a kiss, she sat next to him on his sofa and listened.

Soul Ray #5

By Joel C. Marckx


From rocky peaks to valley lows, will this path ever plateau?

I never thought we’d ever have the guts to come to blows

I never thought that I would drive you to want to go

I never thought that I would ever have the chance to show

I could break through the ice around my heart

            And now so much has happened

            I know it’s just the start

            Two worlds coming together

            That never, ever should have been apart

            And now I’ve opened up my heart


Don’t know about the sharing, but I know that I never stopped caring

I always thought, “This is mine, you’d better leave it alone”

Why I couldn’t stop the hurt, I’ll never know

I never thought that I could tell you what you needed to know

I never knew that my feelings really wanted to show

I’ll never know why I took so long to grow

            I’m begging for my soul to

            Come alive again

            I’m begging for your heart to

            Open up and let me in

            I want to feel the love again


I have so much love that I’m needing to give, after all this time I kept it hid

I feel your electricity

I feel you fire inside of me


I feel your soul ray, I’m feeling okay

For the first time in my life

I feel your soul ray, I’m feeling okay

For the first time in my life


Leave a comment

Filed under Blue Moon Baby - The Novel, Lyrics

Grateful Dead

“G” is for Grateful Dead—always has been.  Or at least since 1985, when I first discovered them.  From the time I first saw them in concert in Oakland, California back in November 1985, no other music in the world has touched me like the Grateful Dead.  They will forever be my favorite band.

I understand that many other people in the world simply do not “get” the Dead, and I get that.  There is a lot of music in the world that I simply do not appreciate.  It happens.  I’m already over it.

But I have been successful in getting a few friends and a couple girlfriends to open up to their music.  This is probably due only to my overly enthusiastic play-by-play that I give when listening to a particular show or album, but they went along with it anyway.  However, even as I tried to get them to appreciate their music, no one has fully understood why I saw them in concert 70 times.

Yes—seventy times.


Ahhh, just one more…please!

And that is such a low number compared to many friends that I know, but between 1985 and 1994, I saw them as often as I possibly could.  I had a really cool job that let me disappear for a week or two, as long as I had my shifts covered, and as long as I worked 60-80 hour weeks when I returned.  I stopped seeing them a year before Jerry Garcia died, but not because they were a freakin’ train wreck by that time (and they were), but because I met the girl who would become my future ex-wife, and my priorities changed.  I had always meant to get back to see them again, but it never happened.  If Jerry Garcia were still alive today, and if the Dead were still doing their thing, you better believe that I would still have been seeing them all these years!

I remember when I was introduced to them.  I knew a few of their songs from the radio, but did not pay much attention to them until my best friend at the time, Dan, played me some of their records one summer afternoon.  He had a really groovy sister who owned a few of their albums, and we would listen to the records up in his room with the windows open and the music cranked to 11.  I liked them, but I was still not hooked.

I was a huge fan of the Rolling Stones at that time, and Led Zeppelin, and various Progressive Rock bands, and the Dead intrigued me, but I hadn’t grasped the magic of their music until I finally saw them live.

Dan had won tickets to a show in Oakland from an Indie radio station, and asked me if I wanted to go.  This was on a school night during our Senior year of high school, but my parents were uncharacteristically cool about that.  After driving to the wrong venue in Oakland, we finally got to the show and went to Will Call to pick up the tickets.  They gave us little red raffle tickets instead of proper Ticketmaster tickets, and we weren’t sure that we would get into the show.  It all started to feel like a cruel prank.  Fortunately, no one even looked at our tickets. We were allowed in just as the lights went down for the first set.

Grateful Dead 12

I only knew three songs of all that was played that night.  In fact, I remember being playfully mocked by a random Deadhead when I stated to Dan that they did not play “Truckin’” or “Casey Jones.”  She said, “Well, they did play ‘Sugar Magnolia’”, to which I gave some sort of enthusiastic puppy dog response.

What a newb!

Anyway, they grabbed me that night.  I did not drink any literal Kool-Aid that night, but I was entranced by the melodies and noises coming from the stage that night.  Jerry Garcia was in particularly poor shape during this show (this was after his big bust and before his coma), but I just figured that he had a cold, or something.  Something in that frail, gravelly voice touched me, and I needed more and more.

Lookin' good, Jer!

Lookin’ good, Jer!

And that is what I try to convey to people: Garcia’s voice, especially as he aged, had such an emotional quality to it.  He could trigger a response with just a simple inflection, or even a squeaky crack in his voice.  No one else in the world could do for me what Garcia could do with his voice.

A lot of people complain that the Dead sound unrehearsed and sloppy, and at times, that is so true.  Each individual musician had their own unique way of playing, and each one had enough ego to take the foreground at any given moment.  Garcia played guitar like a banjo; Bob Weir played the guitar as if he were trying to do the opposite of actually playing the guitar; Phil Lesh played the bass like a solo cellist in a symphony; the two drummers were complete opposites of each other, and often sounded like rocks in a dryer; and each keyboardist just tried to keep up with the madness.  They were not an ordinary band!

Yeah, I said it: "Rocks in a dryer."

Yeah, I said it: “Rocks in a dryer.”

But they had the capacity to create magic every single night.  There were nights that I could not even begin to explain.

Wait.  Full disclosure:  I did a lot of drugs in my late teens, but by 1989, I stopped altogether.  You cannot say that I only appreciated their music because of the drugs, because I saw far more shows sober than high.

Anyway, there were nights that I could not even begin to explain; moments of magic that seemed impossible, and yet we all felt as if we were waiting for that exact thing to happen.  You can read about at least five examples of this from an earlier blog entry of mine.

There were also moments when we should have rioted and demanded our money back.  However, that’s what you get when you follow the Dead:  Some nights are magic, and some nights…not so much.

I swear this is the exact angle that I saw my second show.

I swear this is the exact angle that I saw my second show.

It would be impossible for me to give a list of introductory songs for newcomers to check out; the Dead are a personal experience, and each person has to find their own way around the maze.  However, I will list a handful of my favorites.  Brown-Eyed Women, Terrapin Station, Crazy Fingers, Help on the Way, Jack Straw, Lazy Lightning, Black Peter, Althea, Scarlet Begonias, and Box of Rain.

Anyway, I am doing a poor job of describing the indescribable.  Let me just end this with a song I wrote back in 1998.  This was about 2 ½ years after Jerry died, and I was still feeling the loss.  I was also feeling the loss of community, identity, and that indescribable moment.

The lyrics to this song are just as vague as the feeling of actually being at a Dead show.  Still, I think they capture it pretty well.  At least in my mind.

Anyway, here it is:  “Hit the Sky.”

Hit the Sky

By: Joel C. Marckx


There was a fever from off the streets

And all I know, I’ll never hold it anymore


A thunderous tune sings, time-struck with wonder

Familiar journey with urgency

Madmen are shouting roaring gospels

Soothing psalms, and galaxies

And all I know, I’ll never hold it anymore


            The great foundation, fleeting landscapes

            There are no words for memories


Our navigator, a face in red smoke

Lighting fuses in hot pursuit

After surrender, respect is silence

Intoxicated, and scarred for life

And all I know, I’ll never hold it anymore


            Discerning pathways near infinity

            Floating in and around the sea


I still remember, but I can’t describe it

I sure would love to be there again

Now I just put on my favorite Dark Star

And hit the sky…hit the sky…


Filed under Deep Thoughts, man..., Lyrics, Music Reviews

Distilled in My Eyes

Well, I was writing out the lyrics for “Driving Ambition” for my last post, and on the page before it in my songbook is another oldie that I almost forgot about. This one is called “Distilled in My Eyes”, and although I have always loved the lyrics, I never felt comfortable with the music that I wrote for it. I have completed music that I like, but it all feels kinda clunky when I play it, and so I rarely ever did. I do not think that anyone has ever heard this song.

Anyway, I just read over them, and I want to share them with you all today.l It works out nicely that it, too, fits the “D” theme for today’s A to Z Challenge, so I’m giving away a freebie. It’s Two-fer Thursday!

The lyrics to this song deal with how personally fans take the deaths of their idols, and forget that they were real people, too; with real families and friends who were grieving real loss. I wrote this while I was still reeling from the death of Jerry Garcia, and still had Kurt Cobain’s suicide on my mind. Shortly after I had written this, Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon died, and so the song felt apropos to me for a long time.

I got to thinking about how much I missed all these artists that I loved, and I forgot that I never actually knew any of them. What about their friends and families? If I felt a loss, I couldn’t imagine what their loss was like. So, I tried to write from the perspective of a celebrity’s friend or relative.

And so, here it is: “Distilled in My Eyes.” (Don’t ask me what the hell that even means).

Distilled in My Eyes

Written by: Joel C. Marckx


This is the first day and the last day all in one

The Alpha and Omega—the moon and the sun

I just lost my friend to the vacuums in the sea

It all seems too ironic to be another casualty

But he lived his life on crutches to tune out everyone

For him the day has ended—for us, it’s just begun

Ben left us this morning with nothing much to see

He wants to be forgotten so he can finally be free

But I still have my memories distilled in my eyes

So I can see what I want to see, and never mind the lies

He may have been your hero, a man above all men

For you he may have been a God, but for me, he was my friend

Won’t you please let him be

Let him please rest in peace

I almost wish you knew him so you’d know just how I feel

To watch a living legend crash and burn and know it’s real

‘Coz you only saw the good side, you never saw him cry

You never saw him fall to Earth, you never saw him die

We’re all feeling selfish ‘coz we know that it’s the end

We’ll never see him sing or laugh or smile or cry again

So won’t you please let him be

Let him please rest in peace


Filed under Lyrics