August 3, 2012

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

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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