"Portland" as written by and Paul Westerberg....
Shared a cigarette for breakfast
Shared an airplane ride for lunch
Sitting in between a ghost
And a walking bowl of punch
Can you play a little hunch?

Predicting a delay on landing
Well I predict we'll have a drink
Lost my money on the first hand
Got burned on a big fat king

And your ears are gonna ring
And your eyes just wanna close
Nothing changing I suppose

It's too late to turn back, here we go
Portland, oh no
It's too late to turn back, here we go
Portland, oh no

We'll wait away the raindrops
Look out boy, you'll catch cold
Serving boy can chain nothing
That ain't anchored to his throne
But at least he's going home

Sitting like a backwoods junkie
Caught down in a servant trust
Look at the funny monkey
Putting silver in his cup

And your silver turns to rust
And your secondhand clothes
Trust no one I suppose

It's too late to turn back, here we go
Portland, oh no
It's too late to turn back, here we go
Portland, oh no

Shared a cigarette for breakfast
Shared a pack of lies for lunch
Credit card almighty
Bringing in the next little bunch

And you owe me on a hunch
And your eyes just wanna close
And nothing changes I suppose

It's too late to turn back, here we go
Portland, oh no
It's too late to turn back, here we go
Portland, oh no


Lyrics submitted by MrAwesomeSquared

"Portland" as written by Paul Westerberg

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Portland song meanings
Add your thoughts

7 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentA few (possible) corrections:

    I'm fairly sure it's "Shared a pack of lights for lunch" (light cigarettes having less nicotine and all that, some people end up smoking more of them), as opposed to "pack of lies". In "Serving boy can chain nothing that ain't anchored to his throne", the "anchored" part sounds like Paul is saying something else, but I'm not sure what. Finally, I hear "And your ears just wanna ring" as opposed to "Your ears is gonna ring". It's not a major difference, but given that ears cannot will themselves to ring, it may serve as a Westerberg twist of language. Then again, I've been wrong before. Thanks Mr. AwesomeSquared, you picked up on some things I had previously missed.
    knightwriteron November 01, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI really love this song. It's so melancholic. I don't really know what it means.

    I'm surprised nobody has pointed out that it's one of the few instances where Westerberg reuses lyrics - specifically "It's too late to turn back, here we go" was in "Talent Show".


    Anyway, recently, it seems that a few articles have been published about The Replacements and Portland. The short version is this:
    * the Mats had a particularly infamous drunk and/or awful show in Portland at the end of the PTMM tour on Dec 7 1987 supported by Young Fresh Fellows,
    * later wrote the song "Portland"
    * and etched an apology to Portland in the run-out groove of "Don't Tell a Soul".

    These articles have more details and actual first-hand accounts and even an adorable comic:
    aquariumdrunkard.com/2013/04/23/sevens-the-replacements-portland/ is an older article from 2013

    More recent articles from April 2015 when The Replacements returned to Portland for the "Back by Unpopular Demand" tour and with Young Fresh Fellows as support act again:
    dailyemerald.com/2015/04/08/the-replacements/
    portlandmercury.com/portland/a-match-made-in-hell/…
    elwyn5150on May 05, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel weird thinking this, as so many of these songs have people commenting that they refer to drugs, often when I think it's not so clear the song is about drugs. So this might be my own example of taking a few phrases and over stating my case, but

    "Shared a cigarette for breakfast
    Shared an airplane ride for lunch"
    Sets a very unbalanced picture of these people and their unhealthy lifestyle..

    "Well I predict we'll have a drink"
    It's only one word but in the song it just comes out so darkly colored as a reference to a big problem, to me..

    "And your ears are gonna ring
    And your eyes just wanna close
    Nothing changing I suppose

    It's too late to turn back, here we go
    Portland, oh no"

    To me this section, the first part resembles what a really big hit of something or other feelings like. The second part reflects that they are a little conflicted about going to Portland, definitely are torn, know it's a bad idea. The "Oh, no.." part sounds like someone to me has given in to their own dark side.

    Then again, all of these pieces are really quite ambiguous, and my arguments are based as much on the lyrics as my own subjective "feeling" evoked when I hear them sung by this guy. So I may be wrong. I do hear Portland is a good place to find dope..
    wildflower29561on May 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel weird thinking this, as so many of these songs have people commenting that they refer to drugs, often when I think it's not so clear the song is about drugs. So this might be my own example of taking a few phrases and over stating my case, but

    "Shared a cigarette for breakfast
    Shared an airplane ride for lunch"
    Sets a very unbalanced picture of these people and their unhealthy lifestyle..

    "Well I predict we'll have a drink"
    It's only one word but in the song it just comes out so darkly colored as a reference to a big problem, to me..

    "And your ears are gonna ring
    And your eyes just wanna close
    Nothing changing I suppose

    It's too late to turn back, here we go
    Portland, oh no"

    To me this section, the first part resembles what a really big hit of something or other feelings like. The second part reflects that they are a little conflicted about going to Portland, definitely are torn, know it's a bad idea. The "Oh, no.." part sounds like someone to me has given in to their own dark side.

    Then again, all of these pieces are really quite ambiguous, and my arguments are based as much on the lyrics as my own subjective "feeling" evoked when I hear them sung by this guy. So I may be wrong. I do hear Portland is a good place to find dope..
    wildflower29561on May 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne more thing: after the "funny monkey" line, is it "putting silver in his cup" or "no silver in his cup"?
    knightwriteron November 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a sweet tune. I thought this one should have been on the album. Obviously it has some aspects of Talent Show (or vice versa), but it would have worked perfectly as a hidden track ending the album, as an epilogue to the opener.
    I think it's simply about being on the road. I have heard this song a couple of hundred times at least, and will never get tired of it...
    knifeboyon June 09, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds like a bands tour recollection. From sitting on an airplane wasting time playing cards and drinking:

    Shared a cigarette for breakfast
    Shared an airplane ride for lunch
    Sitting in between a ghost
    And a walking bowl of punch
    Can you play a little hunch?

    Predicting a delay on landing
    Well I predict we'll have a drink
    Lost my money on the first hand
    Got burned on a big fat king

    To landing and seeing a beggar or maybe a baggage handler:

    Sitting like a backwoods junkie
    Caught down in a servant trust
    Look at the funny monkey
    Putting silver in his cup

    To seeing another band doing the same thing(touring)or just regular people Traveling, living on credit.

    Shared a cigarette for breakfast
    Shared a pack of lies for lunch
    Credit card almighty
    Bringing in the next little bunch.
    Evlon March 15, 2016   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain