Disfigured cowboy
Mirror in pieces
Hold the receiver
Trace the police
station lines
to my number.
Number my reasons
for this paranoia
for these accusations.
My fear of the numbers
paired off like lovers who add together
so I can remember
the name of my nation.

Disfigured cowboy go
back to Alabama.
You’ve gone out of your head.
Get in your battered Mustang.
In the back seat will be your bag.

Disfigured cowboy
Pale denim phantom
If I could just piece together ransom
I would buy back the youth that
clung tight to your temples.
It was chased from his bedroom
It chased from his candles
By fear of the numbers
Paired off like lovers
and add it together
so I can remember
my face of my station.

Disfigured cowboy the
floor just won’t support you.
You fall through the room.
Get in your battered Mustang.
In the back seat will be your tomb.

Well I rode into Buffalo
and I found a motel room
and tried to escape you.
The phone line wouldn’t go through.
I looked in the mirror
and I saw your coward staring out.
I didn’t recognize your eyes, your mouth,
or anything other that concerned me now.
Oh I thought you were my friend
The coward in the mirror
The coward at the bed
Now don’t come any nearer
Oh I thought you were my hero
Now I beg you to go
back into the shadows.
Go back inside my bed.
Pull your features back together
Smash the mirror when you’re dead.


Lyrics submitted by Totoro

Disfigured Cowboy song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite okkervil river song
    rolandfrompolandon March 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti wish i knew where to find this song. the lyrics are magical.
    fp27mjon February 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song was given to the 'Comes With A Smile' zine as a live version and became part of the included CD. This song apparently developed into Black Sheep Boy #4, which can be found on the Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP and has slightly different lyrics.
    InspectorMustacheon December 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's not actually a live version. It's definitely studio, but, as Will says in the following link, it's rough. It definitely developed into Black Sheep Boy #4, but I like the early version of Disfigured Cowboy, too. The story of Disfigured Cowboy: jound.com/okkervil/….

    Maybe Totoro had a different, live version, but I transcribed lyrics myself, which are a bit different:

    Disfigured cowboy, mirror in pieces, hold the receiver, trace the police station line to my number. Number my reasons for this paranoia, for these accusations. My fear of the numbers, paired off like lovers and added together so I can’t remember my name or my nation. Disfigured cowboy, go back to Alabama. You’ve gone out of your head. Get in your battered Mustang, and the back seat will be your bed. Disfigured cowboy, pale denim phantom, if I could just piece together the ransom, I would buy back the youth that clung tight to your temples. It was chased from his bedroom and chased from his candles.
    My fear of the numbers, paired off like lovers and added together so I can’t remember my face or my station. Disfigured cowboy, the floor just won’t support you. You hover through the room. Get in your battered Mustang, and the back seat will be your tomb. Well, I rode into Buffalo, and I found a hotel room. And I tried to escape you, but the phone line wouldn’t go through. I looked in the mirror, and I saw you, cowboy, staring out, didn’t recognize your eyes, your mouth, or any other words that come tumbling out. Oh, I thought you were my friend, the cowboy in the mirror, the cowboy that was dead.
    Now, don’t come any nearer. Oh, I thought you were my hero. Now I’m begging you, go back into the shadows, the black beside my bed. Pull your features back together. Smash the mirror and you’re dead.
    Kozumouon February 23, 2009   Link

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