Hell's Bells
(Helen Johnson & Lou Bell)

Hell's Bells was a collaborative project which I worked on with singer-songwriter, Lou Bell, under my previous name of Helen Gregory.  Hells Bells no longer perform as a duo, but you can listen to/read one of our pieces below.  You can also catch Lou performing solo around the Bristol (U.K.) area.


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Oh I wish that there was thunder

I can feel the tension trickle down my spine

Taste the sweet anticipation here tonight


When I saw you up there on stage,

Your eyes shining, piercing, desolating,

Body bent to the soul of the poem you read,

My self consumed with each syllable you uttered,

Every downy hair in every pore on every inch of skin,

Smoothed in to the tread of your lyrics,

Your whole physique alive with words,

I knew I had to write about you.


And all the people move in chorus

A thousand fantasies that shimmer in the air

They don’t have to see you superstar

To know you’re there


When you turned your head, eyes, attention,

Toward each fly caught helplessly, willingly in your silver web,

I felt you look at me, and I thought –

You are a poem.

You are words spinning through the air

Like a boomerang,

Which will never leave your hands or come to rest,

Unless or until you turn to still the beat with silence,


So it begins

And there’s a light shines in your eyes

Blinds you to their appetites


Pause in the dark til your voice glows

Like the image of a bright light switched off,

For now,

But back and on before the sight has faded.

Your dreams thrown out, unleashed, released, unbind,

Ricochet off the corners of my mind,

Until the folds run smooth with the sound of your voice,


And you’re a sacrifice to your own religion

Nothing but the show

And I sat back and felt the room explode with you,

Heard you draw that final breath,

The air close in to carry you down in the hush,


And when the lights have faded

You are just a jaded hero

And the gulf is not so wide

Though you still can’t see the other side

Oh no

But they can see you


I sat back and watched the crowds seal you in,

Wondered if they would try to slice you thin,

Take pieces of you home like cake in party bags,


All the floating, vampire butterflies

They’ll bleed you if they can

Til they leave you just a man

Just a man, naturally


And might there be any of you left for me?

When I walked by I stole a part of you,

Held in the back of my eyes and ears.

Knowing I would have to set you free,

Let you loose to run across the paper

And unfold.


So I watch it all unfolding

And the pretty petals decorate the stage

Can you satisfy the hunger here tonight


If I could hold that flame,

Somehow light the taper of your voice that burned like light,

Capture the shadow of the essence of the echo of your whisper,

It would be pure fairy dust

And I could fly,

On the feeling of you there that night,

Moulding the world with your lips, eyes, sound and sight.

I remember you balanced as a tightrope walker,

Words spun like plates on sticks,

Or thread the Fates would weave,

And leave me spread out on the spool,

Watching you unfurl,


Stare in fascination

At the dream become a nightmare

Your speared beneath the spotlight

And your sacrifice oh but you are unaware

There’s nothing but the show

That’s all you know


Words curling from your lips like smoke from incense sticks,

And I believe,

A television evangelist preaching the word, enthused,

Infused with your spirit,


So when the lights have faded

You are just a jaded hero

And the gulf is not so wide

Though you still can’t see the other side

Oh no


Wrapped up in a brown paper bag.

I was just a tramp on a park bench that night.

Clutching you tight to my chest,

Singing drunken ditties.

I thought I was in tune until I heard you speak.


But they can see you

All the floating vampire butterflies

And they’ll bleed you if they can

Til they leave you just a man

Oh just a man

Yeah naturally


Now I’m begging for your loose change,

Coppers scattered from your lips.

Swaying silver on your hips,


And so it ends

And all those hands come together

With the sound of distant gunfire

And it’s your back against the wall

Please don’t let them take it all


I would pawn my soul to pen one line of one poem you evoked,

And be your clouded doppelganger,

Pay with all the earth to unchoke my throat,


And when the lights have faded

You are just a jaded hero

And the gulf is not so wide

Can you see them on the other side?

Oh no but they can still see you

All the floating vampire butterflies

As they feed to ease their pain

 I’d sell my heart to hear you once again.
 On the altar of your fame


And if that’s all you are

You’ve only got yourself to blame.