"Circus" as written by and Tom Waits....
We put up our tent on a dark
green knoll, outside of town by
the train tracks and a seagull dump
Topping the bill was Horse Face Ethel
and her 'Marvellous Pigs In Satin'

We pounded our stakes in the ground
All powder brown
And the branches spread like scary
fingers reaching
We were in a pasture outside Kankakee

And One Eyed Myra, the queen of
the galley who trained the
ostrich and the camels
She looked at me squinty with her
one good eye in a Roy Orbison
T-shirt as she bottle fed
an orangutan named Tripod

And then there was
Yodeling Elaine the
queen of the air who wore a
dollar sign medallion and she
had a tiny bubble of spittle
around her nostril and a
little rusty tear, for she had
lassoed and lost another
tipsy sailor

And over in
the burnt yellow tent
by the frozen tractor, the
music was like electric sugar
And Zuzu Bolin played
'Stavin' Chain' and Mighty
Tiny on the saw and he
threw his head back with a
mouth full of gold teeth
And they played 'Lopsided heart'
And 'Moon over Dog Street'

And by the time they played 'Moanin Low'
I was soakin' wet and wild eyed
And Doctor Bliss slipped me a
preparation and I fell asleep with
'Livery Stable Blues' in my ear

And me and Molley Hoey drank
Pruno and Koolaid and she had a
tattoo gun made out of a cassette
motor and a guitar string and
she soaked a hanky in 3 Roses
and rubbed it on the spot
and drew a rickety heart and
a bent arrow and it hurt like hell

And Funeral Wells spun
Poodle Murphy on the target
as he threw his hardware,
Only once in Sheboygan did he miss
at a matinee on Diamond Pier and
she'd never let him forget it

They were doing two shows and she
had a high fever and he took
off a piece of her ear and
Tip Little told her she should
leave the bum
but Poodle said, "He fetched me
last time I run."
But I'd like to hammer this ring into a bullet
And I wish I had some whiskey and a gun
my dear

And I wish I had some whiskey and a gun
my dear


Lyrics submitted by GreenAndy

"Circus" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Circus song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentJust sort of a story about a circus narrarated by a sort of loon. The story is self explanitory, and has no message to speak of for the most part. It's a dark and disturbing atmosphere, which stays true to Wait's more macbre "Real Gone" sound. Deffinetly my favorite song on the album. Oh, and for those who don't know Zuzu Bolin and Stavin' Chain are early blues artist from the south. AND PLEASE! if anyone can tell me what that instument is that is often used in circuses and street performances (the cliche ones with the dancing monkey in the fez holding the money cup and the guy playing the instrument.) From what I have determined its a organ like machine that produces circus like pipe music when the side crank is turned in a rotaional manner. Drop me a line if you know at sathington28@hotmail.com
    GreenAndyon June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, it's 4 years later but in any case:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    gravitonon January 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the Humour in this piece of Poetry about the colorful characters you can imagine travel with the circus. You can almost smell the atmosphere, the eccentricity of the people and the slightly sinister feeling of the circumstances of his encounter with these odd people.

    Doe's he need the whiskey and Gun to protect himself, has he been Kidnapped by them..................it reminds me of that film 'Carny'.
    BarnabyHugheson October 07, 2015   Link

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