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The Jim Carroll Website Home > Works > Lyrics > Lyrics from Catholic Boy (1980)

Catholic Boy Lyrics

See also: album details and audio clips

Catholic Boy

LYRICS INDEX

| Wicked Gravity | Three Sisters | Day and Night|
| Nothing Is True | People Who Died | City Drops Into the Night
| Crow | It's Too Late | I Want the Angel | Catholic Boy

See how J. O'Barr borrowed from this album in The Crow.


 

Wicked Gravity

The gravity here is just sick for revenge
It's like my lungs are filled with chains . . .
The sky seems so low,
It hasn't moved this slow
Since the virgins, since the virgins went dancing for the rain

You know the stars in the night
They're like the holes in the cave
Like the ceiling of a bombed-out church
But gravity blocks my screams
It's like an enemy's dreams
My guardians quit
They quit before they started their search

Refrain:
I want a world without gravity
It could be just what I need
I'd watch the stars move close
I'd watch the earth recede

I wanna drift above the borders against my will
I wanna sleep where the angels don't pass
But now my lips are blue
Gravity does it to you
It's like they're pressed against a mirrored glass

I want my will and capability to meet inside the region
Where this gravity don't mean a thing
It's where the angels break through . . .
It's where they bring it to you
It's where silence, silence can teach me to sing

Repeat Refrain 2 times

I wanna lay beneath these sheets and never turn blue
I wanna hold you, hold you tight but never touch
I want some pure, pure white; hey, we can nod all night
We can do it without thinking too much

I want the dilettantes and parvenues to choke on my wrists
They think the pearls I wear are pills
I want their gravity to shatter . . . but it really doesn't matter
I got something in my eye that kills!

Repeat Refrain

Wicked, wicked, wicked, wicked gravity . . .
Wicked, wicked, wicked, wicked gravity . . .
Wicked, wicked, wicked, wicked.

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

Three Sisters

Though I don't really understand her
I love my sister, her name's Miranda
The boys from uptown they can't stand her
The more she denies them the more they demand her
But she just wants to lay in bed all night
Reading Raymond Chandler
She got high heel shoes
She sings the blues
She says abracadabra when she goes down on you

She got a sister and her name is Anita
Anita got one peculiar feature
Every time that they come to meet her
She turns out like a jungle cheetah
She got spiked shoes
She hums the blues
She says razor when she goes down on you

There's another one that makes a trio
Her name is Sally but they call her Cleo
She's a Leo
She got a flat in Soho
She breaks the ceiling
Every time she twirls her mojo
She ain't got no shoes
Never had the blues
She ain't never gonna go down on you

I wish that all the girls were my sister
Then all their dates would call me Mister
You know, sisters are the only ones that talk to me true
Hey, you could be my sister too

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

Day and Night

Day and night . . . the shadows move too slowly
From dark to light she promised she could know me
Remember when . . . I watched her on the stairway
She was drinkin' wine . . . and she told me what the
stars
say . . .

Some destinies, they should not be delivered . . .
But in her eyes I saw a thousand reasons

Day and night

I feel her skin . . . it's thin and white as pressed milk
I closed my eyes and she vanished just like burnt silk
And what remains was like some fallen thunder
And my lips were chained; they were filled with empty wonder

But the stars tell lies, it blinds the only warning
And when darkness dies, there's nothing left but morning . . .

Just day and night

Day and night . . . the shadows start to scatter
When touched by light . . . each promise made is shattered
And even when the question find the answer
But even then, they're something like a dancer
But even then, they're something like a dancer
Like day and night . . . dark to light
I move from day to night

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

Nothing Is True

You get nothin' back for all you've saved
Just eternity in a spacious grave
She said, Nothing is true, everything is permitted

Things just go from bad to worse
Starts like a kiss and ends like a curse
But nothing's true, she said everything is permitted

She got jewels on her tongue to time the stars
She drives all morning in unmarked cars
But nothing's true, it is all permitted

She got these special tools just to keep things tight
They robbed her eyes long ago of light
But nothing's true, she told me it's all permitted

She got inscrutable poise and nihilist charms
She gets her sleep through tubes in her arm
She said nothing is true, she said everything is permitted

She nods on graves, the marble's cold and white,
Her dreams surround the sun like a satellite
She said nothin' is true, she told me it's all permitted

The spiders [milk?] her thigh, it does not phase her
She cleans her skin with a krypton laser
Nothing is true, everything is permitted

She got heels so high, she got a gown so thin
Her eyes stop the whip before it tames her sin
She says nothin' is true, everything is permitted

Until they perfect the techniques to clone
You all better remember you're all alone
Because nothing is true, she said everything is permitted

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

People Who Died

Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

Refrain:
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

G-berg and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD'd on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died / I miss 'em--they died

Repeat Refrain

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others,
And I salute you brother/ This song is for you my brother

Repeat Refrain

Herbie pushed Tony from the Boys' Club roof
Tony thought that his rage was just some goof
But Herbie sure gave Tony some bitchen proof
Hey, Herbie said, Tony, can you fly?
But Tony couldn't fly . . . Tony died

Repeat Refrain:

Brian got busted on a narco rap
He beat the rap by rattin' on some bikers
He said, hey, I know it's dangerous,
but it sure beats Riker's
But the next day he got offed
by the very same bikers

Repeat Refrain; repeat song to Eddie

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

City Drops Into the Night

It's when Billy's whores are workin'
They're workin' with the skeleton crew
It's when the sky over Jersey
That sky starts to drain from view
It's when my woman pawns her voice so
So she can make her old excuses sound new

But I just want one clue

Refrain:
'Cause when the city drops into the night
Before the darkness there's one moment of light
When everything seems clear
The other side, it seems so near
What seemed wrong?
I think it's gonna be just about right
Before the city drops, the city drops
Into the night

It's when the door to the River
That door is like 26 miles
It's when ambitious little girls start
They start to dream about a change in style
It's when the slick boys got their fingers
They got their fingers in the telephone dial

But I think I'll just wait a while

Repeat Refrain

It's when the sneak thieves are checkin'
They're checkin the alleys for unlocked doors
And Billy's sister's gettin' frantic 'cause
'Cause Billy's sister's little brother can't score
It's when the woman from the dream is . . .
Oh my God! That's the woman on the floor

Each promise was just one promise more

Repeat Refrain

It's when Teddy's ghost is on the roof
Beatin' his drum
And Teddy's best friend is two blocks East
And he's makin' Teddy's ex-girlfriend come
You know, they mistook Teddy's blind trust . . .
Just to prove that Teddy was dumb . . .
But listen, you know, I think they are both just scum

Repeat Refrain

It's when the body at the bottom,
That body is my own reflection
But it ain't hip to sink that low
Unless you're gonna make a resurrection
They're always gonna come to your door
They're gonna say, It's just a routine inspection
But what you get when you open your door
What you get is just another injection
And there's always gonna be one more
With just a little bit less until the next one
They wait in shadows and steal the light from your eyes
To them vision's just some costly infection
But listen, you should come with me
I'm the fire, I'm the fire's reflection
I'm just a constant warning to take the other direction

Mister, I am your connection

Repeat Refrain

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

Crow

It must be strange to just fall from the stage
and snap a bone that is so close to the brain
And be attended to by so many down below
I saw a doctor tie you up from so far above
And you start singing just like light through a black floor
You start sliding like burned skin to a side door

Refrain:
But crow, when you throw yourself under
Singin's hard when you can't loose control
They don't know, to them in the dark you don't whisper nothin'
And they're all gonna try and rip the wind from your soul

It must have been hard to be a cashier in a bookstore
And to be surrounded by the history of your true loves
And you'd get naked between the deep shelves in the backroom
And have your brain get tan by sharp fluorescent light tubes
And you start spinning like the pillars in the temple
You'd start screaming just like Sister Aimee Semple

But Crow, when you throw yourself under
The streets are hard when you cannot lose control
They don't know, to them the dark don't whisper nothin'
And they're all gonna try and rip the wind from your soul
Crow

It was so sweet when you brought donuts to the junkies
Hey, you'd give us something we'd go slip into our coffee
And we'd start reading lines from poems that didn't matter
You covered me with blankets in the Chelsea Hotel lobby
And I'd start reachin' for the scar along your belly
They'd start takin' us 'cause winning is their hobby

Repeat Refrain

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

It's Too Late

It's too late
To fall in love with Sharon Tate
But it's too soon
To ask me for the words I want carved on my tomb

I think it's time that you all start
To think about gettin' by
Without that need to go out and find
Somebody to love

It's too late
There's no one left that I even wanna imitate
You see, you just don't know
I'm here to give you my heart
And you want some fashion show

But it ain't no contribution
To rely on an institution
To validate your chosen art
And to sanction your boredom
And let you play out your part

It's too late
You know when they got nothin' to give
They only part their legs for what's negative
They're so decadent . . .
Until their daddy's money from home's all spent

So I think it's time, because it's too easy
To rely on worshipping devils and strangers in bed,
Though they do get good drugs, and they do give good head

It's too late
You shoulda realized I was worth the wait
Ah, but you didn't hesitate
When he took you off, you let him seal our fate

So I think it's time
that you all start
To think about gettin' by
Without that need to go out and find
Somebody to love

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

I Want the Angel


I want the angel
Whose dreams are fatal
They cause the snake's milk to run and curdle

I want the angel
Whose darkness doubles
It absorbs the brilliance of all my troubles

I want the angel
That will not shatter
Every time I whisper, Girl it does not matter

I want the angel
Who's got the proof
She signals her devotion from the rails on the roof

I want the angel
That comes to stay
She don't let lawyers and ambition lead her away

I want the angel
Whose eyes are raving
Who takes what I'm giving and not what I'm saving

I want the angel
Whose bones are so sharp
That they can break through their own excuses

Well, to be a blind man,
Hey, that would be a fine thing
Then I could dream at night of total strangers
And all the music would be so spaceless
And all the women would be so faceless,
They'd be so faceless they'd be like old film
Just like old film I never did process

I want the angel
That knows the sky
She got virtue, she got the parallel light in her eye

I want the angel
That's partly lame
She filters clarity from her desperate shame

I want the angel
That knows rejection
Who's like a whore in love with her own reflection

I want the angel
Whose touch don't miss
When the blood comes through the dropper like a thick red kiss

If I could break through I could be certain
But this obsession is like some fiery curtain
All the numbers reduced to zero
And those who died young, they are my heroes
They are my heroes, they took the walk
Where the heart made sense and the mind can't talk

I want the angel
Whose child don't weep
She's got dreams designed for eternal sleep

I want the angel
That will not change
Into a four-legged monster in love with the strange

I want the angel
That never chooses
And don't come running back every time she loses

But I want the angel that never loses

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

 

Catholic Boy


I was born in a pool, they made my mother stand
And I spat on that surgeon and his trembling hand
When I felt the light I was worse than bored
I stole the doctor's scalpel and I slit the cord

Refrain:
I was a Catholic boy,
Redeemed through pain,
Not through joy

I was two months early they put me under glass
I screamed and cursed their children when the nurses passed
Was convicted of theft when I slipped from the womb
They led me straight from my mother to a cell in the Tombs

Repeat Refrain

They starved me for weeks, they thought they'd teach me fear
I fed on cellmates' dreams, it gave me fine ideas
When they cut me loose, the time had served me well
I made allies in heaven, I made comrades in Hell

I was a Catholic child
The blood ran red
The blood ran wild

I make angels dance and drop to their knees
When I enter a church the feet of statues bleed
I understand the fate of all my enemies
Just like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Repeat Refrain

I watched the sweetest psalm stolen by the choir
I dreamed of martyrs' bones hanging from a wire
I make a contribution, I get absolution
I make a resolution to purify my soul

Repeat Refrain

They can't touch me now
I got every sacrament behind me:
I got baptism,
I got communion,
I got penance,
I got extreme unction
I've got confirmation
'Cause I'm a Catholic child
The blood ran red
The blood ran wild!

Now I'm a Catholic man
I put my tongue to the rail whenever I can.

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music ASCAP (1980)

   

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