Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie by Bob Dylan

"Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie."

When your head gets twisted and your mind grows numb

When you think you're too old, too young, too smart or too dumb

When you're laggin' behind an' losin' your pace

In the slow-motion crawl or life's busy race

No matter whatcha doin' if you start givin' up

If the wine don't come to the top of your cup

If the wind got you sideways it's one hand holdin' on

And the other starts slippin' and the feelin' is gone

And your train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it

And the wood's easy findin' but you're lazy to fetch it

And your sidewalk starts curlin' and the street gets too long

And you start walkin' backwards though you know that it's wrong

And lonesome comes up as down goes the day

And tomorrow's mornin' seems so far away

And you feel the reins from your pony are slippin'

And your rope is a-slidin' 'cause your hands are a-drippin'

And your sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys

Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys

And your sky cries water and your drain pipe's a-pourin'

And the lightnin's a-flashin' and the thunder's a-crashin'

The windows are rattlin' and breakin' and the roof tops are shakin'

And your whole world's a-slammin' and bangin'

And your minutes of sun turn to hours of storm

An' to yourself you sometimes say

"I never knew it was gonna be this way

Why didn't they tell me the day I was born?"

And you start gettin' chills and you're jumpin' from sweat

And you're lookin' for somethin' you ain't quite found yet

And you're knee-deep in dark water with your hands in the air

And the whole world's watchin' with a window peek stare

And your good gal leaves and she's long gone a-flyin'

And your heart feels sick like fish when they're fryin'

And your jackhammer falls from your hands to your feet

But you need it badly an' it lays on the street

And your bell's bangin' loudly but you can't hear its beat

And you think your ears mighta been hurt

Your eyes've turned filthy from the sight-blindin' dirt

And you figured you failed in yesterday's rush

When you were faked out an' fooled while facin' a four flush

And all the time you were holdin' three queens

It's makin you mad, it's makin' you mean

Like in the middle of Life magazine

Bouncin' around a pinball machine

And there's something on your mind that you wanna be sayin'

That somebody someplace oughta be hearin'

But it's trapped on your tongue, sealed in your head

And it bothers you badly when your layin' in bed

And no matter how you try you just can't say it

And you're scared to your soul you just might forget it

And your eyes get swimmy from the tears in your head

An' your pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead

And the lion's mouth opens and you're starin' at his teeth

And his jaws start closin' with you underneath

And you're flat on your belly with your hands tied behind

And you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign

You say to yourself just what am I doin'

On this road I'm walkin', on this trail I'm turnin'

On this curve I'm hangin'

On this pathway I'm strollin', this space I'm taking

And this air I'm inhaling?

Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard

Why am I walking, where am I running

What am I saying, what am I knowing

On this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailing

On this mandolin I'm strumming, in the song I'm singing,

In the tune I'm humming, in the words that I'm thinking

In the words I'm writing

In this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinking

Who am I helping, what am I breaking

What am I giving, what am I taking?

But you try with your whole soul best

Never to think these thoughts and never to let

Them kind of thoughts gain ground

Or make your heart pound

But then again you know when they're around

Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down

'Cause sometimes you hear 'em when the night time come creeping

And you fear they might catch you sleeping

And you jump from your bed, from the last chapter of dreamin'

And you can't remember for the best of your thinkin'

If that was you in the dream that was screaming

And you know that's somethin' special you're needin'

And you know there's no drug that'll do for the healing

And no liquor in the land to stop your brain from bleeding

You need somethin' special

You need somethin' special, all right

You need a fast flyin' train on a tornado track

To shoot you someplace and shoot you back

You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler

That's been banging and booming and blowing forever

That knows your troubles a hundred times over

You need a Greyhound bus that don't bar no race

That won't laugh at your looks

Your voice or your face

And by any number of bets in the book

Will be rolling long after the bubblegum craze

You need something to open up a new door

To show you something you seen before

But overlooked a hundred times or more

You need something to open your eyes

You need something to make it known

That it's you and no one else that owns

That spot that you're standing, that space that you're sitting

That the world ain't got you beat

That it ain't got you licked

It can't get you crazy no matter how many times you might get kicked

You need something special, all right

You need something special to give you hope

But hope's just a word

That maybe you said, maybe you heard

On some windy corner 'round a wide-angled curve

But that's what you need man, and you need it bad

And your trouble is you know it too good

'Cause you look an' you start gettin' the chills

'Cause you can't find it on a dollar bill

And it ain't on Macy's window sill

And it ain't on no rich kid's road map

And it ain't in no fat kid's fraternity house

And it ain't made in no Hollywood wheat germ

And it ain't on that dim-lit stage

With that half-wit comedian on it

Rantin' and ravin' and takin' your money

And you thinks it's funny

No, you can't find it neither in no night club, no yacht club

And it ain't in the seats of a supper club

And sure as hell you're bound to tell

No matter how hard you rub

You just ain't a-gonna find it on your ticket stub

No, it ain't in the rumors people're tellin' you

And it ain't in the pimple-lotion people are sellin' you

And it ain't in a cardboard-box house

Or down any movie star's blouse

And you can't find it on the golf course

And Uncle Remus can't tell you and neither can Santa Claus

And it ain't in the cream puff hairdo or cotton candy clothes

Ain't in the dime store dummies an' bubblegum goons

And it ain't in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices

That come knocking and tapping in Christmas wrapping

Sayin' ain't I pretty and ain't I cute, look at my skin,

Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow,

Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry,

When you can't even sense if they got any insides

These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows

No, you'll not now or no other day

Find it on the doorsteps made of paper maché

And inside of the people made of molasses

That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses

And it ain't in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies

Who'd turn you in for a tenth of a penny

Who breathe and burp and bend and crack

And before you can count from one to ten

Do it all over again but this time behind your back, my friend,

The ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl

And play games with each other in their sand-box world

And you can't find it either in the no-talent fools

That run around gallant

And make all the rules for the ones that got talent

And it ain't in the ones that ain't got any talent but think they do

And think they're fooling you

The ones that jump on the wagon

Just for a while 'cause they know it's in style

To get their kicks, get out of it quick

And make all kinds of rnoney and chicks

And you yell to yourself and you throw down your hat

Saying, "Christ, do I gotta be like that?

Ain't there no one here that knows where I'm at

Ain't there no one here that knows how I feel

Good God Almighty, that stuff ain't real":

No, but that ain't your game, it ain't your race

You can't hear your name, you can't see your face

You gotta look some other place

And where do you look for this hope that you're seekin'

Where do you look for this lamp that's a-burnin'

Where do you look for this oil well gushin'

Where do you look for this candle that's glowin'

Where do you look for this hope that you know is there

And out there somewhere

And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads

Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows

Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways

You can touch and twist

And turn two kinds of doorknobs

You can either go to the church of your choice

Or you go to Brooklyn State Hospital

You find God in the church of your choice

You find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it's only my opinion

I may be right or wrong

You'll find them both

In Grand Canyon


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