Mary queen of Arkansas, it's not too early for dreamin'
The sky is grown with cloud seed sown and a bastard's love can be redeeming
Mary, my queen, your soft hulk is reviving
No, you're not too late to desecrate, the servants are just rising
Well I'm just a lonely acrobat, the live wire is my trade
I've been a shine boy for your acid brat and a wharf rat of your state
Mary, my queen, your blows for freedom are missing
You're not man enough for me to hate or woman enough for kissing

The big top is for dreamers, we can take the circus all the way to the border
And the gallows wait for martyrs whose papers are in order
But I was not born to live to die and you were not born for queenin'
It's not too late to infiltrate, the servants are just leavin'

Mary queen of Arkansas, your white skin is deceivin'
You wake and wait to lie in bait and you almost got me believin'
But on your bed Mary I can see the shadow of a noose
I don't understand how you can hold me so tight and love me so damn loose

But I know a place where we can go, Mary
Where I can get a good job and start all over again clean
I got contacts deep in Mexico where the servants have been seen


Lyrics submitted by fearofmusic, edited by bmcf1lm


Mary Queen of Arkansas song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAs a general proposition, I would state that the line, "I don't understand how you can hold me so tight and love me so damn loose..." is the pivotal line in the song.

    As with anything, my interpretation is colored by my experience. I would say that this line tells us that the woman to whom the protagonist is referring can be amazingly tender at times and then unbelievably cold--even mean. She's got a love that comes and goes. She lifts him up and then breaks his heart ("you almost got me believin'"). And he knows it ("your white skin is deceivin'").

    Nevertheless, the protagonist wants to "start all over again clean" because his is a steady (true) love. It's tragic, really, and I suppose it happens all the time. Non-reciprocal love.

    Those who fall victim to it don't know how to quit even when they aren't getting anything back. Reminds me of "Reason to Believe," "Dancing in the Dark," and even "Living in the Future" (if interpreted as a love song, instead of a social commentary on the state of the union).

    Great song.
    magicrat34on October 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's not too hard, assuming I have the right idea of it, to figure out the big picture, but when I look at each individual line, there's so much I can't really grasp. Anyone have any explanations for any of those tricky ones?
    Wendy26on March 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would say that its someone who loves this girl (Mary) who will love him and then hate him. They come from two different worlds; the man, a working class man, Mary, came from a rich, upper class family. The man tries to leave her (But I was not born to live to die and you were not born for queenin') and she goes into a mode of depression and kills herself (But on your bed Mary I can see the shadow of a noose). He then regrets breaking her heart and wants to start over (But I know a place where we can go, Mary. Where I can get a good job and start all over again clean).
    bmcf1lmon February 20, 2013   Link

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