The men were here to get your Belgian things
They'll store them for you in an airplane hangar
There's guys in biohazard suits
Mud caking on their rubber boots
They've come to keep your pretty things from danger

The men were here to get your Belgian things
They'll spend the whole day hauling them downstairs
I shot a roll of thirty-two exposures
My camera groans beneath the weight it bears

I can see you in my sleep
Playing the points for all you're worth
Walking gingerly across the bruised earth

The men were here to get your Belgian things
They waltzed right through the door and went flourescent
Their boots were black and shiny and your treasures gleamed like stars
Bones from deep down in the fertile crescent

The arteries are clogging in the mainframe
There's too much information in the pipes
I saw the mess you left up in the east bedroom
A tiger's never gonna change its stripes
I guess
I guess but Jesus what a mess
One way in and no way out

The men were here to get your Belgian things
And only I was here to see them do it
I wish you had a number where you are
It's hard with no one here to help me through it

I can see you in my sleep
Playing the points for all you're worth
Walking gingerly across the bruised earth


Lyrics submitted by I'm a Pirate, edited by haruki

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14 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentI think its about someone getting sent to jail for meth because We Shall All Be Healed is about the meth people John used to know. He said that Belgium is where the meth users are trying to go when they do meth, I think. Or something like that. It's about losing someone because they went to jail.

    "There's guys in biohazard suits" is cause they wear those when they clean up meth labs.

    "I shot a roll of thirty-two exposures
    My camera groans beneath the weight it bears" is photgraphing the evidence.

    "They waltzed right through the door and went flourescent" is cause it was like biohazardous.

    "Their boots were black and shiny and your treasures gleamed like stars
    Bones from deep down in the fertile crescent" is cause meth is kind of shiny... maybe.

    "A tiger's never gonna change its stripes
    I guess
    I guess but Jesus what a mess
    One way in and no way out" cause it's hard to change when youre addicted to drugs.

    "I wish you had a number where you are
    It's hard with no one here to help me through it" Cause he wishes he knew how to contact this person, and its hard losing them.
    xcatson March 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe the bes Mountain Goats song ever. It almost made me cry when I first reall paid attention to the lyrics.

    Parts of the song are cryptic, but it's clearly about the death of a close friend. I'm not sure what "Belgian Things" are, but maybe they simply refer to the corpse of the deceased. (After all, they are refered to in one line as "bones from deep down in the fertile crescent.")

    The best lyrics are late in the song. My favorite line: A tiger's never gonna change its stripes. I guess, I guess, but Jesus what a mess." Something about the way he sings that line is so heartbreaking.
    Raving Lunaticon March 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI can see everyone's interpretation making sense here, but for me this song will always be about suicide by gunshot. "One way in, no way out." "I saw the mess you left up in the east bedroom."
    Aquarius121on August 13, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I listen to this song, this is the feeling it evokes: losing someone you love, too young, perhaps to cancer, and being left to pick up the things they left behind. It is an incredibly painful process. My sister had to do this when her husband died at 33 years--his desk, his motorcycle tools, his clothes. The things that are left behind.
    jaspermaxon February 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti didn't really realize how emotional this song was until i saw them play last night, and watched him perform it. the audience was completely silent and still, and he sang it so well. the "i guess, but jesus, what a mess" was definitely the finest point -- the whole thing is fantastic.
    yourtwowinterson May 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentincredible song. i love the emotion and beauty of it.
    weezerific:cutleryon August 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI definitely agree that this song seems to be about loss, though I'm not sure the loss of a life. The album was written about Darnielle & Co. using drugs in Belgium, but everything's gotta come to an end. I'd like to think this song is quite simply the removal of their possessions and transport into an airplane hangar - where they would be shipped elsewhere. The mess left up in the east bedroom may be the continuation of bad behaviors, instead of packing someone was strung out. Live, however, this song's culimating lines state "Tracy I can see you in my sleep," and that makes the death angle more probable. Especially given Darnielle's (?) camera "groaning beneath the weight it bears." This is conjecture. The song is still tear-elicitingly beautiful.
    mindsaleon June 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn another live version, he's sung "Jackie I wish you had a number where you are." Maybe this song is about multiple passings. Or maybe none.
    mindsaleon June 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think xcats is pretty correct about everything. The treasures gleaming like stars and everything going florescent is the cops using black light to clean everything up. naturally, stuff would have been spilled, and that (as well as everything else) is glowing under the black lights.

    the "i wish you had a number where you are, it's hard with no one here to help me through it" could be a few things. The person the song is about (or people) either died, or probably arrested, or just left. John (the "me") is having a hard time coping with everything, maybe even trying to get off meth, but is having trouble with no motivation/people to help him.
    skateboarder873on August 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti heard that this song is specifically about a friend whose meth lab blew up
    hmstaab06on January 13, 2008   Link

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