"Manhole" as written by and Ani Difranco....
I'm holding here a book
Notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest in a long line of thieves
And I'm just about to drop it down that man hole of memories
But I realized it doesn't bother me like loves mementos usually do
And I look up to see who's different here, the latest me or the latest you
Course you're the kind of guy who doesn't lie he just doctors everything
Who chooses some unassuming finger and quietly moves his wedding ring
Who rewrites his autobiography for any pretty girl who will sing
But you can't fool the queen baby cause I married the king
It was I who betrayed his majesty though opposite reality
Like a puddle with no reflection of the sky, of the trees
But after my dreaded beheadding and I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I'm pretty different now, considering.

I kissed you on the street that night on the far side of for ?
I didn't like taste in my mouth or yours
And ignoring the persona you wore for my benefit
For once I had balls, to call it, just call it
The lesson must be lived, in order to be learned
And the clarity to see and stop this now
That is what I earned.

It was I who betrayed his majesty though opposite reality ?
Like a puddle with no reflection of the sky, of the trees
But after my dreaded beheading and I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I'm pretty different now, considering
I'm holding here a book, notable and not the greatest.

Stolen for me by the latest in a long line of thieves
And I'm just about to drop it down the man hole of memories
When I realize it doesn't bother me, a heartache not so dire
And I look up to see integrity and finally won over desire


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

"Manhole" as written by Ani Difranco

Lyrics © A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Manhole song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentOMG this is my favorite off of Knuckle Down!!! I think its all about strength! the best line in the song is

    "but after my dreaded beheading
    i tied that sucker back on with a string "

    Oh, I love Ani! she's finding that she's growing and changing and she's becoming stronger...she ignores things to deal with it but once she "has the balls to call it" she learns and now she's stronger. The whole idea about the manhole is like when you get rid of everything that reminds you of your ex lovers after you break up...well she doesn't have to anymore. she's not falling apart because of it, she's standing firm and moving on. This is such my new favorite Ani Song!!!
    faceless_dollon March 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about her memories and about not missing someone. this whole CD is about her divorce.. and faceless doll.. hun.. you have the lyrics wrong..
    marley_22181on April 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbut after my dreaded beheading
    i tied that sucker back on with a string
    and i guess i'm pretty different now, considering

    I like the whole song, I think it meanders through a lot places.. But that part is awesome... I don't know if it's strength when she talks about tying her head back on with a string.. I think of it as an admission that sometimes things get pretty hectic.. The dreaded beheading in my life was myself when confronted with all the inconsistences in myself and the wider world.. I kind of lost it as other people would see it... It took me a while to realize, there was no loss, just rearrangement... Or if there was a loss, there were replacements too.. I don't know.. But a little string goes a long way..
    xinniefulon May 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is total speculation and I'm practically pulling this out of my ass but I get the impression that her non-stop touring and her deep involvement with her work as a musician was a major problem within her marriage (among other things, I'm sure). I just get the feeling from various songs on this album and Educated Guess. Anyway, back to this song and my point.... It seems he cheated and she got blamed for it in a sense:

    course you're the kind of guy who doesn't lie
    he just doctors everything
    who chooses some unassuming finger
    and quietly moves his wedding ring
    who rewrites his autobiography for any pretty girl who will sing
    but you can't fool the queen baby
    'cause i married the king

    it was i who betrayed his majesty with no opposite reality
    like a pond with no reflection of the sky, o'er the trees
    but after my dreaded beheading
    i tied that sucker back on with a string

    Eh? We'll never know but it's interesting to speculate.

    Ok, I know I'm supposed to write what it means to me but this is what I think of when I hear it.
    pixidrizzlon January 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentstanza 4 shoud look like:
    i kissed you on the street that night on the far side of four
    but i didn't like the taste in my mouth or yours
    and ignoring the persona
    YOU WORE FOR MY BENEFIT
    for once i had the balls to call it
    and just call it
    the lesson must be lived in order to be learned
    AND THE CLARITY TO SEE AND STOP THIS NOW
    that is what i earned
    YourBestBet18on April 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, both for it's feistiness and its strength. It seems to me that Ani is singing about a break up with someone she liked but didn't love. As with many of Ani's (unfailingly brilliant songs), the lyrics are reminiscent in structure (although not in form or content) to a college essay--she begins with an introduction to lure you in and set the stage, then lets the story unfold and grow more complex stanza by stanza, and finally summaries and reveals her conclusion in the last section of the song.

    In the opening lines "i'm holding here a book/notable but not the greatest/stolen for me by the latest/in a long line of thieves" Ani conveys the idea that the gift that this latest lover gave her was important but not exceptional, and implies that the relationship itself was along the same lines. In the next line Ani notes that the book, as a symbol of the relationship "doesn't bother me/like "love's mementos usually do" and she stops to wonder why the end of this relationship is less painful than most.

    The next section is brilliant and really hits home -- she's talking about how her (now) ex was a charmer who kept her entertained but who wasn't authentic or trustworthy. And while she may have found this peronality type attractive in the past, with the line "you can't fool the queen baby/'cause i married the king" Ani shows us that in fact a previous, more significant relationship with an even more compelling and skilled charmer/manipulator (likely her ex-husband) has made her less susceptible to these types of advances.

    "The king", whoever he was, talked a damn good game but ultimately caused far more pain than he was worth--all the charisma and good storytelling in the world aren't enough to make a relationship work.

    In this song, Ani comes to terms with the fact that she's attracted to charmers who "create personas" for her benefit. But due to her difficult experiences in the past, she has changed enough to allow "integrity to win over desire."

    AMAZING SONG!
    PhiloSophieon August 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDon't have much to say except that as soon as I heard the guitar for this song, before the lyrics started, I understood the title "manhole." The guitar and vocals sound like they're reverberating from the depths of a well or a manhole. Awesome guitar effect - so haunting and organic sounding.
    comradealon December 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTotally reminds me of Casinova!
    Cornflakezon May 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAt her concert last Friday, Ani said this is her "victory song" and it means "I could have slept with you, but I didn't."

    It makes sense, considering the last line states that integrity won over desire.
    monomaniacon November 15, 2010   Link

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