“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.” ~ Tom Waits

Via on Aug 2, 2012
Via Ranker

I remember the first time I heard Tom Waits’ voice.

It was cold out, March, just past my birthday. Too cold. Waiting for my husband to come home from the Air Force. Working too much. Sleeping too little. Restless, endless winter.

Somehow, until then I had missed out on Tom Waits, or maybe met him in passing, a stranger. Hadn’t been properly introduced. (Mark that down, parents with small children, no one should make it to twenty-six without hearing Tom Waits. It’s criminal.)

But I remember, I remember Tom saying hold on, hold on.

I remember hearing that whiskey gravel voice and thinking it wasn’t a winter song. It was a song for nights that are too hot for sleep, so humid you can’t breathe, so perfectly August that the lightning bugs are everywhere like little stars that have escaped and fallen to earth. It was a song for riding in a rusty old pickup in worn out Levis, stripping down by the lake and diving in. It was a song for right now.

August nights were made for Tom Waits:

They hung a sign up in our town
“if you live it up, you won’t
live it down”
So, she left Monte Rio, son
Just like a bullet leaves a gun
With charcoal eyes and Monroe hips
She went and took that California trip
Well, the moon was gold, her
Hair like wind
She said don’t look back just
Come on Jim

Oh you got to
Hold on, Hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
You gotta hold on

Well, he gave her a dimestore watch
And a ring made from a spoon
Everyone is looking for someone to blame
But you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops
She said baby, I still love you
Sometimes there’s nothin left to do

Oh you got to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here, you got to
Just hold on.

Well, God bless your crooked little heart St. Louis got the best of me
I miss your broken-china voice
How I wish you were still here with me

Well, you build it up, you wreck it down
You burn your mansion to the ground
When there’s nothing left to keep you here, when
You’re falling behind in this
Big blue world

Oh you go to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
You got to hold on

Down by the Riverside motel,
It’s 10 below and falling
By a 99 cent store she closed her eyes
And started swaying
But it’s so hard to dance that way
When it’s cold and there’s no music
Well your old hometown is so far away
But, inside your head there’s a record
That’s playing, a song called

Hold on, hold on
You really got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
And just hold on.



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About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter


6 Responses to ““I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.” ~ Tom Waits”

  1. Sion Lidster says:

    I love this line: Mark that down, parents with small children, no one should make it to twenty-six without hearing Tom Waits. It’s criminal"! … my first intro was 'what's he building in there?' …. i can hear the neighbours looking to the shed now… :) no one writes a venture tune like waits!!!

  2. Mamaste says:

    And let's not forget this classic Kate. Jersey Girl……Oh, I do love Mr. Waits.


  3. elizabeth says:

    ahh . . .

    thanks, kate. breathing better now. xo

  4. John Dalton John_Dalton says:

    Right with you on this one Kate, I've been a fan of Tom for years.
    I came across one of his earlier albums a while back and was pleasantly surprised to hear he could sing normally. It was a bit like discovering Picasso could draw really well. Here's one of my favorites from that album. It called, "Looks like I'm up shit creek again." http://youtu.be/xR8CyK1mZOg

  5. Paul Russell says:

    "I usually write a cappella. It’s more like drawing in the air with your fingers. It’s closest to the choreography of a bee. You’re freer. You have no frets to constrict you, there are no frets on your voice, and that’s a good feeling. So for composing melody, it’s something you can do anywhere." -Tom Waits

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