well the smart money's on harlow
and the moon is in the street
and the shadow boys are breaking all the laws
you're east of east st louis
and the wind is making speeches
and the rain sounds like a round of applause
. . .
this is the beginning of Tom Wait's song "Time" (lyrics at link).
i struggled to understand this song for a long time. i could find not much help
on the internet. two days ago i was extremely ill, and delirious with pain. now i feel much closer to it.
the verses are not a narrative. they are not stories. they aren't even complete thoughts. they are impressions. snippets of dialog. i don't know if there are three main characters, but i might call them three main pains.
the first is loneliness. for the character is a traveling entertainer and things are not working out.
the second is physical pain. for the character is a sailor wounded in battle, waving in and out of consciousness, with thoughts only coalescing into semi-complete forms periodically...
the third is psychological/emotional pain. she is a prostitute who must pay the rent while disconnecting her mind from her body. she is driven to suicidal cutting (pigeons=blood drops) by the treatment she receives from others.
on the other hand, they are all lonely. and where does the time you loved come in?
these are not coherent stories. they are pangs. they are clips of thoughts, impressions of human beings. it is not townes van zandt. it is only these fleeting, images.
and yet in delirium, images are all that we might get... and are they not real then?
and where does the time you loved come in?
is it another image, in delirium?