The boy was in the hallway drinking a glass of tea
From the other end of the hallway a rhythm was generating
Another boy was sliding up the hallway
He merged perfectly with the hallway,
He merged perfectly, the mirror in the hallway

The boy looked at Johnny, Johnny wanted to run,
but the movie kept moving as planned
The boy took Johnny, he pushed him against the locker,
He drove it in, he drove it home, he drove it deep in Johnny
The boy disappeared, Johnny fell on his knees,
started crashing his head against the locker,
started crashing his head against the locker,
started laughing hysterically

When suddenly Johnny gets the feeling he's being surrounded by
horses, horses, horses, horses
coming in in all directions
white shining silver studs with their nose in flames,
He saw horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses.
Do you know how to pony like bony maroney
Do you know how to twist, well it goes like this, it goes like this
Baby mash potato, do the alligator, do the alligator
And you twist the twister like your baby sister
I want your baby sister, give me your baby sister, dig your baby sister
Rise up on her knees, do the sweet pea, do the sweet pee pee,
Roll down on her back, got to lose control, got to lose control,
Got to lose control and then you take control,
Then you're rolled down on your back and you like it like that,
Like it like that, like it like that, like it like that,
Then you do the watusi, yeah do the watusi
Life is filled with holes, Johnny's laying there, his sperm coffin
Angel looks down at him and says, “Oh, pretty boy,
Can't you show me nothing but surrender ?”
Johnny gets up, takes off his leather jacket,
Taped to his chest there's the answer,
You got pen knives and jack knives and
Switchblades preferred, switchblades preferred
Then he cries, then he screams, saying
Life is full of pain, I'm cruisin' through my brain
And I fill my nose with snow and go Rimbaud,
Go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud,
And go Johnny go, and do the watusi, oh do the watusi

There's a little place, a place called space
It's a pretty little place, it's across the tracks,
Across the tracks and the name of the place is you like it like that,
You like it like that, you like it like that, you like it like that,
And the name of the band is the
Twistelettes, Twistelettes, Twistelettes, Twistelettes,
Twistelettes, Twistelettes, Twistelettes, Twistelettes

Baby calm down, better calm down,
In the night, in the eye of the forest
There's a mare black and shining with yellow hair,
I put my fingers through her silken hair and found a stair,
I didn't waste time, I just walked right up and saw that
up there -- there is a sea
up there -- there is a sea
up there -- there is a sea
the sea's the possibility
There is no land but the land


(up there is just a sea of possibilities)
There is no sea but the sea

(up there is a wall of possibilities)
There is no keeper but the key

(up there there are several walls of possibilities)
Except for one who seizes possibilities, one who seizes possibilities.

(up there)
I seize the first possibility, is the sea around me
I was standing there with my legs spread like a sailor

(in a sea of possibilities) I felt his hand on my knee

(on the screen)
And I looked at Johnny and handed him a branch of cold flame

(in the heart of man)
The waves were coming in like Arabian stallions
Gradually lapping into sea horses
He picked up the blade and he pressed it against his smooth throat

(the spoon)
And let it deep in

(the veins)
Dip in to the sea, to the sea of possibilities
It started hardening
Dip in to the sea, to the sea of possibilities
It started hardening in my hand
And I felt the arrows of desire

I put my hand inside his cranium, oh we had such a brainiac-amour
But no more, no more, I gotta move from my mind to the area


(go Rimbaud go Rimbaud go Rimbaud)
And go Johnny go and do the watusi,
Yeah do the watusi, do the watusi ...
Shined open coiled snakes white and shiny twirling and encircling
Our lives are now entwined, we will fall yes we're together twining
Your nerves, your mane of the black shining horse
And my fingers all entwined through the air,
I could feel it, it was the hair going through my fingers,

(I feel it I feel it I feel it I feel it)
The hairs were like wires going through my body
I I that's how I
that's how I
I died

(at that Tower of Babel they knew what they were after)

(they knew what they were after)
[Everything on the current] moved up
I tried to stop it, but it was too warm, too unbelievably smooth,
Like playing in the sea, in the sea of possibility, the possibility
Was a blade, a shiny blade, I hold the key to the sea of possibilities
There's no land but the land

looked at my hands, and there's a red stream
that went streaming through the sands like fingers,
like arteries, like fingers

(how much fits between the eyes of a horse?)
He lay, pressing it against his throat (your eyes)
He opened his throat (your eyes)
His vocal chords started shooting like (of a horse) mad pituitary glands
The scream he made (and my heart) was so high (my heart) pitched that nobody heard,
No one heard that cry,
No one heard (Johnny) the butterfly flapping in his throat,

(His fingers)
Nobody heard, he was on that bed, it was like a sea of jelly,
And so he seized the first

(his vocal chords shot up)

(possibility)

(like mad pituitary glands)
It was a black tube, he felt himself disintegrate

(there is nothing happening at all)
and go inside the black tube, so when he looked out into the steep
saw this sweet young thing (Fender one)
Humping on the parking meter, leaning on the parking meter

In the sheets
there was a man
dancing around
to the simple
Rock & roll
song



Lyrics submitted by spazticfreak

Land: Horses/ Land Of A Thousand Dances/ La Mer(de) song meanings
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51 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe popular interpretation's of rape, stabbing, suicide and heroin do seem pretty logical when considering the text on it's own. But now that Patti has released her memoirs it turns many of those assumptions on their heads. First off, to burst the bubble of the heroin interpretation, at least as far as it being the main theme of the song, according to her book Patti has needle phobia and whilst many people at the time simply assumed she "shot up" the truth is she was never really interested in it and seemed to be fairly wary of drugs in general. She didn't experiment with drugs until her late 20's, years after coming to NY. She was inspired to try a little marijuana after seeing The Harder They Come. Later on her closest friend Robert Mapplethorpe persuaded her to take a trip with him, his drug of choice being LSD. According to this book it was what she experienced during that trip that sparked the overall shape of the song. So unless we were actually inside her head at that moment we'll probably never fully understand all the imagery. That being said she does identify the Johnny as Robert, perhaps also making some correlation between him and several musicians she personally knew who's names all started with J and who all baring one died young. The horse she identifies as William Burroughs, bet you didn't see that one coming! Maybe that's an inside joke, or to do with the fact that I believe he famously hated horse. She also refers to Burroughs as a "Guardian Angel". Anyway Roberts hustling is probably rapped up in it somewhere, and maybe there are references to heroin. But I think it can all only really be linked together in an abstract sense by what ever she experienced on that fateful LSD trip and only she is privy to that experience.
    replaceableheadon December 02, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentEasily some of my favourite lyrics ever. Just brilliant free flowing improvised poetry. Patti Smith is amazing.
    Red_Left_Handon September 20, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentRemember that photography artist Robert Mapplethorpe is on the album cover, that Patti had a sexual relationship with him, even though he was apparently exclusively homosexual the rest of his life, that the song was written in the 70s when the male homosexual culture was flowering in NY, as was BDSM activity. I think the song is about a revelatory homosexual encounter. It starts with Johnny being on the receiving end, so to speak: "he drove it deep in Johnny", "Johnny fell on his knees started crashing his head against the locker", "twist the twister", "do the sweet pee pee", "Then you're rolled down on your back and you like it like that". But then Johnny decides to take control, with the other guy receiving, so to speak. References to Johnny's knives are obviously phallic. And the "I fill my nose with snow" is an obvious drug ref (although it may not have been as obvious back in the 70s). I'll stop there, but I could continue with obvious references to sexually explicit acts. Why would Patti sing such a long and complex song about sex between two men? The time of the song was the 70s when homosexual men in NY finally were able to feel free to express their true selves. Patti had a front row seat to the scene and undoubtably was inspired by it.
    shannon_r_whiteon April 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see this as being like a rape of a girl. Johny rapes her but is killing himself or his sole. Amazingly written mixing death and sex.
    The red blood could be the blood from rape as well as the metaphor for johnny spirtual death.

    this line to me implies rape "I tried to stop it, but it was too warm, too unbelievably smooth"
    wellwhiskeyon October 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI believe that if you read Patti Smith's book "Just Kids" you will come to realize that this song is all about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. The gay hustler rape by a gang of men were themes of his obsessions and his photography. When Patti & Robert were lovers they used to dance to a greatest Hits Motown album, which I would guess would have contained Wilson Pickets "Land of 1,000 Dances". Robert was a gay hustler then and they were both obsessed with Rimbaud. Go Rimabaud, Go Johnny Go. Johnny is Robert. Read the book....it is a magical journey and by far the best book I ever read.
    Monstalovaon October 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHorses was written with regard to the imagery in Jonnie's mind. He uses all of these powerful images as places to go whilst he gets repeatedly raped by a paedophile.
    Val1969on November 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a rush.
    maggotbrainon June 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn my opinion this is one of the greatest rock sons ever!
    Frederikon August 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*songs
    Frederikon August 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEasily some of my favourite lyrics ever. Just brilliant free flowing improvised poetry. Patti Smith is amazing.
    Red_Left_Handon September 20, 2005   Link

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