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The Jim Carroll Website Home > Works > Lyrics > Lyrics from Dry Dreams (1982)

Dry Dreams Lyrics

See also: album details and audio clips

I Write Your Name

LYRICS INDEX

| Work, Not Play | Dry Dreams | Them |
| Jealous Twin | Lorraine: opening poem/lyrics |
| Jody | Barricades | Evangeline | Rooms | Still Life


 

Work, Not Play


Quicktime video

The bell rings . . .
It's a decade past my decadence
My beast wears rings and he's waiting
In the shadows of my hesitations, my silent
Hesitations . . . Each image is so clear;
It seems I have no hands
The gestures of the air confuse all my demands

And the beast hears the bell; he comes
Out of the shadows. He rips apart the shadows . . .
And he says:

"This is work and not play"
And he says:
"There's always more than one way . . .
This is work not play"

Refrain:
I see the ghosts of my childhood . . .
Dressed in blue, they trail me in the night
They drive these cars with real upholstery
They trail me until . . . here comes the night

She was standing, standing on the balcony
Her black, black eyes folded over her eyelids
Like sheets on motel beds . . .
She must be eatin' reds
This place is filled with mirrors
It echoes what she said
And she said:

"I need a judgement day"And she said:
"I know there's more than one way,
But I want my judgement day . . ."

Repeat Refrain

To sleep without dreams
So distant from the mirror
Imitating clarity, disguising
All the terror . . . I heard a thousand bells
From a thousand old cathedrals
They rang . . . I haven't heard them since
A decade past my decadence
The beast hears the bell

I'm cursed to be a singer
A singer of the flames
A thinker of a fire
And a son without a name

Dry Dreams

Each night, they surround me
With their lights and the microphones . . .

With their bodies and the mile of cable
Like a magic ring of bone

Every night I have the same dream:
A man behind the door
With a tattooed erection
And no reflection
And his eyes like a Chinese whore . . .

Every night I have the same dream
(Repeat 3 times)

The madonnas at the crossroads,
Dressed like future spies
They shine their lips with android sperm
And the Riviera skies . . .

But every night I have the same dream
It's a vision of the dead . . . The way
They stare into space
And never see a human face.
But just the back of their own heads

Every night I have the same dream
(Repeat 3 times)

Earth, water, wind and flame
The designers of my fate . . .
Every night they come to me
Release me with their weight . . .

Every night I have the same dream
A dome upon the shore
Where some method actors
Bomb the big reactor
And it melts right through the core

Every night I have the same dream
(Repeat 3 times)

Each night, they surround me
With the lights and the microphones . . .

With their bodies and the miles of cable
Like a magic ring of bone

Every night I have the same dream
White crows in an empty sky
When I call they descend, the young trees bend
And the dream is always dry . . .

Every night I have the same dream
(Repeat 3 times)

Them

They hit you with their papers when you're living
on loan. They're the ones who say nothing when you
answer the phone. You see them in the alleys when
you're passing late at night, but you tell your friend
to check it and there's no one in sight.

I never wanted it
I never asked for it
I surely didn't sleep with them
If the phone rings, don't answer it

Death is their only way to survive
The neck of Anubis strangled by wire

They hold their eyes in their fist
One is fire . . . one is ice
They roll them across the bed like some loaded dice

7 come 11 but I could not stay
I kissed her eyes on the sheets
I took a bus to yesterday

Their flesh is a cemetery, centuries old . . .
You are free as a lap dog
Just do what you're told

They wear spandex and gloves
And feed on fetus flesh
They're the fashion rage
Of the empirical age

But I never wanted them
Never asked for them
Didn't sleep with them
Please don't answer it

Death is their only way to get high
The neck of Anubis strangled by wire

They say, "I'll live for your sins
If you will die for mine . . ."

I'll summon the darkness
If you buy the wine

They're all underage
Yet they're a thousand years old

They make you feel so clever while you're being sold

Jealous Twin



She moves through the black door
She turns toward the desperate light

With her breath like iodine
With her filigree design
She summons the fire from her hips
Flamingo blood melts down her lips

But the light would not share her,
From behind the bending mirror, pulling her within,
Like a jealous twin. There was something in her eye
Like a flawed alibi . . . I was just about to ask
When she rips apart her mask

Refrain
But me and my girl
Chase the dragon's tail
We double lock the room
We innoculate the moon

And the light glows from below
Tonight, Tonight
She hears the soft drone,
Like a pearly blade laid in silicone . . .

And the reservoir of sleep
Slides through the morning tube
Like a letter written in a dream
That is answered much too soon

And she lays across the sofa like a gold stick pin
Mascara draining down her specious grin, every notion's
Loaded motion laced in BOMBAY GIN . . . and the serpent's
Eyes are bursting as she bites into the skin

(Repeat Refrain)

She leaves a trail of broken things:
Knives . . . Lives . . . and wedding rings
And the candle drips its light
Across the fine silk floor

Someone screams for less
Someone screams for more . . .

But the light would not share her
From behind the bending mirror
Pulling her within
Like a jealous twin
There was something in her eye
Like a flawed alibi
I was just about to ask, I swear,
She ripped apart the mask

But me
And my girl
We chase the dragon's tail

We double lock the room
We innoculate the moon

And the light
Glows
From down below . . . Tonight . . . Tonight

Lorraine (Opening poem)



Seven blonde women
They gather in the square
They raise their hands up to the sun
Their skin is so thin and white
You know their fathers must surely be wealthy
I watch the others stand around and form a crucifix
A serpent of vapor
Some stray birds rise
The one on the end, the fine one on the end
She called me over, she pulled me aside
She said, You know, I have to make it all look different
It seems that every time I lay down
On it, and its like a snake in water
And when I look out of it,
It's like the one from last week
Was breathing again
And she said she had some white light
You know, she said that she had some morphine
But she didn't have no gimmicks
So she just took this razor
And she laid it on a white vein
And then she took a black orchid
And she just ripped apart that flower
And then she took the white light
Then she said, Hey, later for the morphine
She took the razor and slit open her white vein
She slit open her white vein
She put the flower through the slit vein
She poured the white light through the red stem
She put the white light through the red stem
She just poured it through the red stem
I was talkin' with my angel
I was talkin' with my angel then . . .

Lorraine (lyrics)

I was underneath the staircase
I was talking with my angel
He said that beauty is only terror
You know, when terror is just beginning

I thought I heard some footsteps
Lorraine, she was coming
But she's been feelin' real sick lately
She been kickin' down her habit

So I went around to see her
I had the angel in my pocket
She had jewels between her fingers
And there was blood across Lou's carpet

But I know that she's feelin' better . . .
I saw her walking to the Market

She went down
The sharp black hole
She wants to die just to save her soul . . .

But she wants to live
She wants to start her band
She swears the stage is God's left hand

So I'm sitting in the cellar
Beneath my dark apartment
I had the angel on my shoulder
You know, his wings were kinda shattered

He plays with broken mirrors
And he said that he just saw Sally
And that Sally was with Lorraine
And they were playing in the alley

So I went around to see them
Ahhh . . . they were doing it together

And there was a little blood across the concrete . . .
I know they were feeling better . . .

They got straight
They understand
They wanted to die but now they got plans
They want to live; they want to start their band
They swear the stage is God's left hand

I'm waiting in the lobby
The angel dropped the mirror
But he still insists that beauty . . .
That beauty is just one part of terror

There's a painting on the ceiling
Of a dog . . . he had eyes like rubies,
And then the angel just remembered
That Lorraine was at the movies

I found her in the back aisle
There was blood across the next seat
When she reached out to touch me
I thought that that that was so sweet

So I stuck her with my finger
It was like a knife through leather
She had a song along her eyelid

I KNOW she was feeling better

She got straight
She understand
She wanted to die but now she got plans

She want to live
She want to start her band
She swear the stage is God's left hand . . .

© Earl McGrath Music/Jim Carroll Music, ASCAP/Missing Finger Music, BMI (1982)

 

Jody



Jody, what you been doing?
It's been a long, long time
Since we went dancing in the schoolyard,
With your breasts like bleeding limes

Jody, are you still hanging with that latin?
With rabbit fur inside his wheels?
With his Gilbert Roland piece,
And his glove department deals

Uptown, we watched the debutantes skating
Across the reservoir ice
Dressed in tweed and leather flags . . .
And you whispered six words twice

Jody, look what time has done
To people who live on the run
Jody, look what time has done

Jody, I spent years living at the movies
I really hated you awhile
I wrote so many incantations
Lord, I had to keep a file . . . you said

"Uptown . . ." and I said, "Downtown."
Downtown the rooftops are wide
I was sinking in the tar, I screamed,
"This City is on my side"

Jody, go to any window;
Raise your eyes up to the sky . . .
Is that our destiny of yesterday
Or just a vault of lies?

But jody, look what time has done
To people who live on the run
Jody, look what time has done

Jody, all the lay-down promises
They were just a trading of scars
But I remember the wild nights;
Hey, we changed mountains into stars

Uptown, the buildings are syringes
They're all just glass and dreams
One thing about Manhattan, it's always
Just what it seems

But Jody,
Remember the part
And how we entered at the zoo
That's when I told you that the cheetah
Walked as fine as you

But jody, look what time has done
To people who live on the run
Jody, look what time has done

Barricades



We should have left at once
We should have never stayed
Now they have drawn the line
Now there is a barricade
Now there's a barricade
A barricade

Who makes promises?
Who makes promises through a thick lead door?
Through an intercom on the 23rd floor?
Who makes promises and then promises more?
Who makes promises for El Salvador?

Bobby's getting called. Billy's getting called
Juan's getting called, John's getting called . . .
They get a letter in the mail, they get a telephone call

It says, "Come on, Come on . . ."
It says, "Come on . . ."

All the American boys
Asleep beneath American shade
Awake on foreign soil
They awake inside the barricades
Inside the barricades

The sun curves over the jungle
And trees grow from the dead nun's lungs
But when the ship is in the harbor
Then the cyanide pill's on their tongue
Inside the Barricade, inside the barricade

Girls, no more going out dancing
And boys, there's no more getting laid
You're gonna parachute to the holy land
And you will drop into the barricades
Inside the barricades, inside the barricades

Who makes promises for the Neutron bomb?
It will sign your lungs to death
And leave the corporate walls unharmed . . .
Who makes promises with such insidious charm?
But it would have made things cleaner
In old Vietnam . . .

That's when Kevin got called up
Ritchie got called . . .
And Kevin never came back
Ritchie never came home

Their folks got a letter in the mail
THEY GOT A LETTER IN THE MAIL . . .

I ain't gonna die for Standard Oil
I.B.M. . . . I wouldn't die for them!
G.E.? Not me!

"Come on," they say, "Come on"
They say "Come on,"
And you say, "ahh" . . .
You just say "LATER!"

Evangeline



Evangeline
My first lady,
She wears satin gloves
Since her hands got dirty

She travels here
She travels there . . .
She's on the "A" list
Everywhere

I can't take it anymore
If she calls back,
Tell her I went uptown to the downtown store

Evangeline
With her lips like curtains,
But you best know
And it's for certain

With all her money
You and I got none
She's got a satin pillow
Covering her pearly gun

I can't take it anymore
If she calls back,
Tell her I went down to the liquor store

Refrain
She's a diver
And the ladder's getting taller
She's a diver
And the pool is getting smaller
If she takes one more step higher
Then the water will turn to fire

All our monies was all that held her
She should learn to respect her elders

Her boys grab your hands
Her boys lift your feet

Lord, my whole building is out in the street

I can't take it anymore
If she calls back,
Tell her I went uptown to the downtown store

(Repeat Refrain)

Rooms



You're passing,
I hear your shadow through the door
It's outlined on my shade
Like a map of some foreign shore

If I could keep that shadow,
I could live forever in these

Rooms, the rooms inside my dreams . . .
And dreams have kept me in these rooms

I've never seen her face
But I've memorized each sound . . .
The way the wind m eets grace
When its shadows pull her gown

But I could never hear the whispers,
Voices cannot reach my room

I live inside my dreams, and dreams
Have locked me in these rooms

I have no sense of time,
Or even night and day. I left my body
Somewhere, somehow it
Just got in the way

I guess I always knew
These rooms would all lead back to you

Still Life



I don't believe in sin
But maybe I'll begin
A vagrant evil's climbing up my skin

The shadows from last week
Are dancing in the street
In homage to the darkness closing in

It's hard to say what's different each new morning
I need some clue to tell me when or where

But it seems I must believe
Night wears it on its sleeve
A warning that the time's come to prepare . . .

I owe so much to someone
I've watched her teardrops fall
Like wings that melted reaching for the sun

I need her to be near
To clarify the dangers
I didn't come this far to die with strangers

I can't explain exactly what I'm saying
But you're the only reason I still care

But things become so clear
When the spider licks her tears
A warning that the time's come to prepare . . .

I beg you not to leave me
With these warnings in the air . . .
I never thought I'd say it
But for once I'm truly scared

We create every lie
In order to survive
To mirror all the terror in our souls

With nothing left to steal
Lies make our lives seem real
It slows down all the madness like a shield

I don't know why I need to understand it
I don't know if there's anyone who cares

I don't know how or why
It could be something in the sky
That makes it seem it's best to be prepared . . .

I don't know where it will be
Two by land . . . One by sea
Sleep with one eye open
Be prepared

The spectres ride the stallions of my ruin
The shifting of my blood tell me it's soon . . .

I don't know how
Or why . . . it could be
Something in the sky
That makes it seem the time says to beware

Little boy,
Looking at the sky,
Tell me what you see?

Little boy
Looking at the sky,
Tell me what you see???

   

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