poor boy
why don't you try getting water?
poor boy
why don't you try getting sleep?
I think if one of us is going to suffer
why shouldn't it be me?

poor boy
your wife is in hard labor
the rhythm you know
is pulsing and drifting to the grave
when you come to
you'll be asking yourself just one question
was I always this way?
was I always this way?

think back a year
when everything stood at the surface
but bandage your cuts because you don't know what swims under me

hold tight
the bondage of this life is slipping
why shouldn't it be me?
why shouldn't it be me?

when I come back
you'll be the brightest star
in the black
when there are days
that you want the call we're all waiting for
think back

poor boy
life is in hard labor
go buy flowers you'll leave on its grave
you went with the goal of movement
now one thing is different
you don't want to change
I don't want to change


Lyrics submitted by rockerbabe99, edited by joehigley

Poor Boy song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI see it as two possible meanings.
    The first more literal about the poor boy's wife dying in labor. "The rhythm you know is pulsing and drifting to the grave"-the wife is the rhythm he knows and she is slowly drifting towards death. "hold tight, the bondage of this life is slipping why shouldn't it be me" is another reference towards his dying wife. He wishes he was in her place [i think if one of us is going to suffer why shouldn't it be me?].

    The second meaning is more metaphorical. The "life" in this song is their relationship and it is slowly dying. "you'll be asking yourself just one question was i always this way?" could be the boy's realization that he hasn't really done his best in the relationship and caused many of the problems they faced. "you don't want to change, I don't want to change" is another reference to how their relationship is dying. neither of them want to change anything they're doing to possibly make everything better.

    Just a few brief thoughts. Hopefully y'all will see where I'm coming from, I don't feel like typing a novel:) haha
    octoberrains091on November 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcan anybody help me out with what this might mean? sometimes I think I may have it, but then it all goes away. Je ne la comprend pas.
    guitargirl23on March 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsrael explains his inspiration for this song here:

    blog.pandora.com/archives/show/2009/09/…
    nkraemeron August 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI actually interpret this more as being about the baby dying rather than the wife. "The rhythm you know" reminds me of watching the heartbeat on the monitor of the image of the baby in utero. Thinking back a year would be to thinking back before the pregnancy started. And "go buy the flowers you'll leave on its grave" would make sense if they chose not to know the gender ahead of time.

    Actually just had an epiphany moment. The song makes some sense if read from the perspective of the dying baby, asking the husband, aka the poor boy, the guy who would have been the father, to let him/her go. Just a thought...
    joehigleyon April 20, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the several interpretations in the previous posts and some have founds logically… but this refers to the loss experienced by one of the bad members.

    It could have relations to drug use and the eventual martyrdom of a drug addict failing to recognize his unwillingness to change. Reference “…try getting water…try getting sleep…” Any drug use would know this could reference to the lack of basic care the problems when focused on drug use. Additionally, this line references the realization after “nodding off” and a “moment of clarity” that the person is self-reflecting on their behavior. But ultimately feels helpless to change and succumbs to the notion I can’t change and don’t want to change. I will in place justify my actions as I am the one who should suffer for my actions. The martyrdom comes from “why shouldn’t this be me (suffering)”. “You don’t want to change, I don’t want to change (my ways)”. This line could reference and support the claim that some emotional issues are beneath that the person can’t overcome “Think back a year
    When everything stood at the surface. But bandage you cuts 'cause you don't know what swims underneath…” The further evidence that could lead one to believe this person had deeper lying issues that were unseen that strains the loved ones around them.

    However some of this underlying reasoning holds true except for one simple fact, the band members father is dying from cancer. The wife is trying desperately to save him. In the end no one wants to accept what is happening and the son is left with the resentment towards his father and living with words unsaid and relationship unreconciled. This is the most plausible meaning with at least an 85 percent accuracy based on the facts about the writers experience and the support of the lyrics. The band members father is diagnosed with cancer and passes quickly with everyone left holding unfinished business. The wife is trying to help with all she has because losing him means everything. The son feels some quilt about having left things in the way they were and feels he should be suffering instead his mother. Even on his father’s death bed he contemplates his behavior but is unwilling to change and neither is his son (band member). Underlying this is a deep literary piece well thought out trying to capture the process of losing someone with a relationship conflict and the realization after at the end of life how we might have done things different. It also incorporates the stages of grief (Kublar/Ross).
    wywyon November 07, 2017   Link

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