Written At Large

Tom Waits


Tom Waits
by me

My aunt Debbie fostered two loves in my life: art and Tom Waits. She did that for a lot young people. Well, the art part anyway. The art room at a locale elementary school is now named after her for doing this for the youth.

On my 12th birthday, she gave me Heartattack and Vine as a present. It was my introduction to Tom Waits. That was 23 years ago. The last time I saw her, when she was still really her, was three years ago at my wedding. As of this week, I’m divorced. The last time I saw her, was exactly two years ago. I said my good-byes. She mumbled hers. She departed for somewhere else we all go eventually a few days later. That will be two years ago on October 1st.

Time keeps ticking on.

My good-bye to aunt Debbie was a promise. That promise was this: I would carry her wherever I go.

And I do.

Well the smart money’s on Harlow
And the moon is in the street
The shadow boys are breaking all the laws
And you’re east of East St. Louis
And the wind is making speeches
And the rain sounds like a round of applause
Napoleon is weeping in the Carnival saloon
His invisible fiance is in the mirror
The band is going home
It’s raining hammers, it’s raining nails
Yes, it’s true, there’s nothin’ left for him down here
And it’s Time Time Time
And it’s Time Time Time A
nd it’s Time Time Time
That you love
And it’s Time Time Time
And they all pretend they’re Orphans
And their memory’s like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can’t remember
Tell the things you can’t forget that
History puts a saint in every dream
Well she said she’d stick around
Until the bandages came off
But these mamas boys just don’t know when to quit
And Matilda asks the sailors are those dreams
Or are those prayers?
So just close your eyes, son
And this won’t hurt a bit
And it’s Time Time Time
And it’s Time Time Time
And it’s Time Time Time
That you love
And it’s Time Time Time
Well, things are pretty lousy for a calendar girl
The boys just dive right off the cars
And splash into the street
And when she’s on a roll she pulls a razor
From her boot and a thousand
Pigeons fall around her feet
So put a candle in the window
And a kiss upon his lips
Till the dish outside the window fills with rain
Just like a stranger with the weeds in your heart
And pay the fiddler off till I come back again
Oh, it’s time, time, time
And it’s time, time, time
And it’s Time Time Time
And it’s Time Time Time
And it’s Time Time Time
That you love
And it’s Time Time Time


~Tom Waits, Time, Rain Dogs

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