A Shard of the Mosaic

by Robert Leslie

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about

I wrote these songs over the course of my first year and a half in New York, after a long period of wandering. New York has been... Well, I'll leave out the full story for now. It's out there, anyway. All flows here, as do the songs - they've all come about as a natural consequence of life in this city. Maybe you know me from my days in Europe or Africa - but these songs come from somewhere else. They come from a big place of bright lights and long shadows. One song leads into the next. If a song poses a question, you can expect an answer. Listen to them on a rainy day, or on a train, or a long drive, or a quiet night shift.

There were a number of ways I could've done this album, but I chose to keep it quite raw and understated, sounding much the same way as my live acoustic performances. No need to pretend to be anywhere other than I am right now - the songs speak for themselves. Aside from a few banjo and harmony overdubs the whole thing was recorded live and mixed & mastered in my bedroom in Brooklyn, and all the little creaks and background noises are part of the fun.

Thank you as always! :)

Robert.

credits

released 20 September 2014

Music by Robert Leslie. Artwork by Marsha Shnayder.

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about

Robert Leslie New York, New York

Robert Leslie is a young bohemian troubadour from the U.K. living in NYC. He has travelled the world with his tunes on time, distance, love, and confusion.

For bookings email RobertLeslieMedia@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!
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Track Name: Is This What You Dreamed, Then?
In Rio the air is still warm in November
Blowing along by the bay
And you're locked in the bathroom of some rented palace
Washing the traces away

I wonder if you could have grown up an athlete
Breathless and lonely and free
But there you are clubbing in darkened sunglasses
Working it out on TV

They showed me the pictures, they gave me the story
Saw you splashed over the screen
Saw you wrapped in a sheet like the ghost at the feast
As they dragged you away from the scene

Out in the crowd by the Copacabana
Pushing your way through the press
For God's sake be quiet, there's nobody listening
There's no one about to confess

Is this what you dreamed, then?

Is this what you had in mind?

Did you buy your own ticket or were you just strapped to the ride?
If I sent you a postcard, who would send out the reply?
If I tried to stand by you, would I be taken aside?

Remember the long lazy Saturday mornings
Glued to cartoons on TV
Riding your bike down Ontario street
To pick up a cone of ice cream

Remember the wheels of your little red bike
And the bricks of the big Stratford hall
Now you're lost by the window of some private jet
And the streets are so awfully small

Is this what you dreamed, then?
A
Is this what you had in mind?
Did you buy your own ticket or were you just strapped to the ride?
If I sent you a postcard, who would send back the reply?
If I tried to stand by you, would I be taken aside?
Track Name: You Wake Slowly
Another snow day
Pale and glowing white behind the blinds
You wake slowly
A night of powder weighing on your time

Just be sleepy now
Wrap up warm and put your shoulder to
Forget your dreams, now
Doesn't matter what you're holding to

If you wanted to hate it
Well you'd love it just the same
Thought you wanted to make it
Another snow day wasted away

It's all so quiet
So forget the things you left outside
They'll all locked away
In the high and mighty winter mind

And in a month or two we'll be
Wasting away on wave after wave of sunny days
And there'll be time, all right
Yeah there'll be time

Another snow day
Track Name: Hello Again, White Paper
Hello again, white paper
Please don't think I didn't try
I ditched my friends, I cast a light
I almost got it down last night
But now I'm washed-up in the morning
With the storm gone from the air
And I just can't seem to care
Nah I just can't seem to care

And hello again, my darling
heard you dream aloud last night
Was it the stomping in the stable
Or the knowledge of your navel
kept you anxiously uplooking
Like a baby in a kitchen
Tell me what you're thinking
And I'll tell you where to look


I love you there, my pretty
So I'll tie you in my sheets
Can't take these winter nights alone
I've never been too good with phones
Always looking for some party
With our hearts of clubs and diamonds
Always memorising lines
For better playing of the part

And I love you there, white lie
You keep the cheap requests away
You never wait to count to ten
You never back down, make amends
Oh though I love your snowy whiteness
now I'll wrap myself in red
and paint my deadbeat face
Up like a saint and dance all night


Sayonara, stationery
hate to keep you waiting there
I banged my head against the wall
I moaned in bars and toilet stalls
But like a ladder in a basement
I'm useless and I'm high
And I'm too stiff and cold to climb
I'm too stiff and cold to try

Guess I'll see you, sleeping beauty
I know you'll always be on call
But me I'll stick to sunset races
And I'll visit lots of places
Keep a finger on the trigger
Never figure in the cost
Cos while we're only ever lost
It makes the world seem pretty big
Track Name: I Could Take You For a Fool
There we're smoking on the pavement
There's the lights above the door
There we're passing round the bottle
Sitting by an empty furniture store

Here's to ever after endings
Here's to castles on your hill
Here's to maybe never nowhere
I'm gonna give you your sweet mystery pill

I could take you for a fool all right
I might not be a gentleman, I'm far too tight
I could tell you there'd be sunshine and rainbows all night
And you'd believe me
I think you might believe me and it scares me

There's the weak and clumsy stairway
There's the writing on the wall
Must be something we've forgotten
Between the bottle and the handicapped stall

But I don't mean to be careless
Really I can be all right
It's just I really can't be arsed
To make the effort tonight
But come blank and bleary sunday

We'll be sitting face to face
By the kitchen table
Either at your or my place

I could take you for a fool all right
I might not be a gentleman, I'm far too tight
I could tell you there'd be sunshine and rainbows all night
And you'd believe me
I think you might believe me and it scares me
Track Name: By Reading Between the Lines
I wanted your teeth in my shoulder
so I turned out the lights and I left you to smoulder
With your lips in a sweat and the rips in your tights
I told you don't let the bedbugs bite

But you slid out of your fig-leaf sunglasses
And pouring out smoke you tied me up to the mast
And you laughed like a child, in your cloak, in your haze
With your hair piled over my face

And then you bound me and gagged me
With your wildfire thighs
And dragged me into your dreams
Of teeming centipede skies
Your nitroglycerine smile

In the merry-go glow
There's no place for me here
Christ, it's all gonna blow

Oh well
I took a picture of you yesterday
But there's not much left to say now the light's flooding through
And you're lazy with a head full of dew

With your feet trying to worm from the sheets
Lying thinly exposed in the thermostat heat
And there are clouds, there are signs in the Saturday mist
And I can't help noticing the lines on your wrists

But on the street there's the time
And the red in my eyes
Where we size up the day
And we say our goodbyes
You laid your gaze on the light
And your soul in my phone
And when the man turned white
You made the crossing alone

You must be out of your mind if you think I can help you
You must be out of your mind if you think I can stay
Oh, the sunlight has skewed the perspective
If you let me lead you on
You will lead me away
Track Name: When I'm Sleeping
You led me to your carrousel
You took me for a ride
And still I span away from you
I didn't even try
So now I'm going home again
The old and easy count to ten
Call me in the morning
If you really wanna talk

But oh, if you need me again
Please don't need me when I'm sleeping
And oh, if you want me again
Please don't want me when I'm needing

A million different colours
Looking over from the bridge
The tiny lamplights hanging on
Like magnets on a fridge
But something somehow disappeared
While we were on the bus
I'm sure that it could happen to
The very best of us

But oh, if you need me again
Please don't need me when I'm sleeping
And oh, if you want me again
Please don't want me when I'm needing

We've flown apart so many times
But still we're drifting back
To some centre of our gravity
Some rhythm on our track
But I don't need an answer now
I only need a reason
To take me such a long way out
In such a lonely season

And oh, if you need me again
Please don't need me when I'm sleeping
And oh, if you want me again
Please don't want me when I'm needing
Track Name: On the Gravy Train
Just another day on the gravy train
Sitting by the window
Looking at the warm rain
Lots of easy ways to feel the same
Keep you waiting in the distance
So I can't hear you call my name

I ran out of breath in another race
Signed away the day job
And I got myself a suitcase
But I caught up to me in another place
Lucky by the sunset
Just time was all it takes


But don't you know that I'll still
Keep my eyes peeled wide
in the stream of cars & pesticide
Keep your fingers tied
To hold you on the other side
As another day pretends to go forever more
Like a bright light in a hall of mirrors
Blinding out the door

Just another day on the gravy train
See you when the dreams come
Left you when the sun came
Just another dawn in the pouring rain
Looking at the curtains
wearing off the sleep-stains

But don't you know that I'll still
Keep my eyes peeled wide
in the stream of cars & pesticide
Keep your fingers tied
To hold you on the other side
As another day pretends to go forever more
Like a bright light in a hall of mirrors
Blinding out the door
Track Name: Like a Shard of the Mosaic
There it is, your castle in the clouds
And here the rain is coming down
It's coming down on New York City
And there you are, you're dancing at the party
Like a shard of the mosaic
Just another part of town

Clear as day, it's clear that nothing comes
With all this rolling round the sun
We're rolling round in no direction
And there you are, you're calling for the bottle
Such an easy stream to drift on
Such a simple way to run

You're like a book trapped on a shelf
You're like a picture of yourself
You snap and then step back
And then you wait and wait and wait
Cause you've got it figured out
And if you wait it's sure to come to you some day

There it comes, the cab you waited for
I see you laughing by the door
The door you closed, it was so simple
And then another turn of lights and glimpsing
Some suggestion of the ocean
Some reflection of the shore

How you cried, you cried the whole way home
The stream of green, the traffic flow
I see your eyes fixed on the distance
And there you go, I never saw you leave
Some funny trick of summer morning
Some old curtain for the show

Cause you tower only when you bell
The flash in which you see yourself
You snap and then turn back
And then you run and run and run
Cause you've got it figured out
And if you run you might still get to be someone
Someone else, someone outside of the photographs
Someone else, someone deeper than an easy laugh
Someone else, someone really just like you
But someone else that all this never happened to
Track Name: Needing Nothing More Than Time
You say to dream
You say the builder's in the skyline
And the flywheel's in the steam
So all the while I listen and I wait
For something to say

Easy to fly
The mechanics of emotion
Just an ocean passing by
Easier still to settle down and stare
At a screen somewhere

Still it's true a single turn could make the difference
And in the meantime I'll just watch the sun go down
Behind some passing cloud
And once again I'll save it for tomorrow
Another turn to turn it all around

I try to find
The way to some existence
Needing nothing more than time
But somehow I just tend to find my way
To more of the same

Still it's true a single turn could make the difference
And in the meantime I'll just watch the sun go down
Behind some passing cloud
And once again I'll save it for tomorrow
Another turn to turn it all around

Hell I don't wanna be the lighthouse to
Your dark and stormy bay
I'd rather be an ice cream
To your endless summer day
Let's forget about the weather
We'll just rough it out together
Won't need sunscreen or umbrellas
If we're going the right way

Yeah it's true a single turn could make the difference
And in the meantime I'll just watch the sun go down
Behind some passing cloud
And once again I'll save it for tomorrow
Another turn to turn it all around
Track Name: Morning Come
I dreamed myself awakened
in an old, unknowing place
smoke and incense in my hair
and charcoal on my face
I ate of bread and drank of wine
slept on a bed of wood
I did away with everything
I ever understood

I then awoke to find myself
as always in a room
a heat unseasoned pressing
from my curtains in the gloom
my bulb was white, my walls were bare
my ceiling cracked and mean
I knew at once my only place
was back inside that dream


yet sixteen hours I was awake
sixteen hours I worked
my eyes I lowered to the ground
laid down my search for words
I ate when I was hungry
I drank when I was dry
I made myself to stay awake
until my time of night

yet morning come I woke in sweat
unmoving, run aground
the sun shone pale and yet I saw
no light nor heard a sound
I lay there still for hours more
begging for release
at last I rose, I quit my door
and threw away my keys


I don't know how much time has passed
since I last had a home
I pity those who must remain
encased in brick and stone
I never knew that dream again
but I can still recall
the meanness of my ceiling
and the whiteness of my walls