"The Line" as written by and Bruce Springsteen....
I got my discharge from Fort Irwin
Took a place on the San Diego county line
Felt funny bein' a civilian again
It'd been some time
My wife had died a year ago
I was still tryin' to find my way back whole
Went to work for the INS on the line
With the California Border Patrol

Bobby Ramirez was a ten-year veteran
We became friends
His family was from Guanajuato
So the job it was different for him
He said' "They risk death in the deserts and mountains"
Pay all they got to the smugglers rings,
We send 'em home and they come right back again
Carl, hunger is a powerful thing."

Well I was good at doin' what I was told
Kept my uniform pressed and clean
At night I chased their shadows
Through the arroyos and ravines

Drug runners, farmers with their families,
Young women with little children by their sides
Come night we'd wait out in the canyons
And try to keep 'em from crossin' the line

Well the first time that I saw her
She was in the holdin' pen
Our eyes met and she looked away
Then she looked back again
Her hair was black as coal
Her eyes reminded me of what I'd lost
She had a young child cryin' in her arms
And I asked, "Senora, is there anything I can do"

There's a bar in Tijuana
Where me and Bobby drink alongside
The same people we'd sent back the day before
We met there she said her name was Louisa
She was from sonora and had just come north
We danced and I held her in my arms
And I knew what I would do
She said she had some family in Madera county
If she, her child and her younger brother could just get through

At night they come across the levy
In the searchlights dusty glow
We'd rush 'em in our Broncos
And force 'em back down into the river below
She climbed into my truck
She leaned towards me and we kissed
As we drove her brothers shirt slipped open
And I saw the tape across his chest

We were just about on the highway
When Bobby's jeep come up in the dust on my right
I pulled over and let my engine run
And stepped out into his lights
I felt myself movin'
Felt my gun restin' 'neath my hand
We stood there starin' at each other
As off through the arroyo she ran

Bobby Ramirez he never said nothin'
Six months later I left the line
I drifted to the central valley
And took what work I could find
At night I searched the local bars
And the migrant towns
Lookin' for my Louisa
With the black hair fallin' down


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"The Line" as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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The Line song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentwell first one to comment on this so i better make it good. this is my favorite track off the "ghost of tom joad" cd and is a great story but what happens at the end is so sad. the song and the story that is, you just want it to carry on and end happily!!! have a listen anyway and let me know what you think
    evenfunnieron May 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs with the rest of the dark, grim songs on this album, the protagonist is left with nothing in the end. A year ago, he has already lost his wife. Now, he is taking the risk of giving up his job in order to save a woman and help her cross the border. However, he does not receive much thankfulness from her part - instead, he never sees her again.

    In the end, he has lost everything he had in his life: his work and his love - the two vital parts of a man's life in nearly all of Springsteen's songs.
    hberingson July 09, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWhat great story telling! My personal favorite from this album. Much like several songs on "The Ghost of Tom Joad", "The Line" has an epic cinematic feel. This song is a great example of Springsteen's softer side while still remaining bleak and ultimately heartbreaking. A great song from one of my favorite Springsteen albums.
    jimsonon March 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTremendous songwriting, so moving.

    You could make a feature length film out this one song!
    mrgrumbleon May 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLike a few song from this album, this song is pretty much exactly like a movie. You've got Galveston Bay/Alamo Bay with Ed Harris; Straight Time/Straight Time with Dustin Hoffman; and this song with The Border starring Jack Nicholson. There are a few differences between the song and the movie, but the similarities make it more than obvious that the movie and the song are telling the same story.
    Lemonzon August 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favourites from The Ghost of Tom Joad. Like many Springsteen songs I like, the characters are believable and detailed.

    However, I feel there is a little bit of loose end with how her brother has tape across his chest. Did she really love him or was she just using him to help her brother get the merchandise across the border?
    elwyn5150on September 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    QuestionA great song from a great album.My question is;was Carl set up?Louisas "brother" had tape on his chest.Was he wearing a wire?
    Jessguessinon October 01, 2016   Link

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