Lyrics: Gun Street Girl


Sometimes I share poetry here, but today I am sharing a song that occasionally echoes in my mind – so perfect are the lyrics, so wistful the tune. A lifetime ago when I was eighteen, I laid on the floor of my big rented house with my best friend Julia and listened to the Tom Waits’ album Raindogs over and over on the record player. It seemed at the time that my life was that record in all its tragic beauty – a feeling one holds dearly when we aren’t sure if the path we’re on is one of our own choosing. If you know this song, you’ll hear it as you read the lyrics, and if you don’t know this song? Go find this album and it will change your life.

Gun Street Girl

Falling James in the Tahoe mud
Stick around to tell us all the tale
He fell in love with a Gun Street girl and
Now he’s dancing in the Birmingham jail
Dancing in the Birmingham jailTook a 100 dollars off a Slaughterhouse Joe
Bought a bran’ new Michigan 20 gauge
Got all liquored up on that roadhouse corn,
Blew a hole in the hood of a yellow corvette
Blew a hole in the hood of a yellow corvette
Bought a second hand Nova from a Cuban Chinese
Dyed his hair in the bathroom of a Texaco
With a pawnshop radio, quarter past 4
Well he left Waukegan at the slammin’ of the door
He left Waukegan at the slammin’ of the door

I said, John, John he’s long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain’t never coming home
I said John, John he’s long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain’t never coming home

Sitting in a sycamore in St. John’s Wood
Soakin’ day old bread in kerosene
He was blue as a robin’s egg brown as a hog
Stayin’ out of circulation till the dogs get tired
Stayin’ out of circulation till the dogs get tired

Shadow fixed the toilet with an old trombone
He never got up in the morning on a Saturday
Sittin’ by the Erie with a bull whipped dog
Tellin’ everyone he saw
They went thatta way
Tellin’ everyone he saw
They went thatta way

Now the rain’s like gravel on an old tin roof
And the Burlington Northern’s pullin’ out of the world
With a head full of bourbon and a dream in the straw
And a Gun Street Girl was the cause of it all
A Gun Street girl was the cause of it all

Riding in the shadow by the St. Joe Ridge
He heard the click clack tappin’ of a blind man’s cane
Pullin’ into Baker on a New Year’s Eve
With one eye on the pistol and the other on the door
With one eye on the pistol and the other on the door

Miss Charlotte took her satchel down to King Fish Row
And she smuggled in a bran’ new pair of alligator shoes
With her fireman’s raincoat and her long yellow hair, well
They tied her to a tree with a skinny millionaire
They tied her to a tree with a skinny millionaire

I said, John, John he’s long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain’t never coming home
I said John, John he’s long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain’t never coming home
Bangin’ on a table with an old tin cup
Sing I’ll never kiss a Gun Street Girl again
I’ll never kiss a Gun Street Girl again

I said, John, John he’s long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain’t never coming home
I said John, John he’s long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain’t never coming home

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