I didn't know what a brute I was
I dipped my cigarette and rode the bus
Vengeance built me hastily
And I dragged the clanging notion
I was nobody, nobody
Nobody

All I had was my invention
And my love invented all of you
Oh look what thoughts can do
What thoughts can do
If you're not by now dead and buried
You're most certifiably married
Oh married

I'm sure you're sleeping sound
With the mistress of the hours
The hours that grind your life to dust
Your easy loves you keep like pets
Denied them you are powerless
Whatever keeps you sleeping through the night

I'm not the man you thought I was
My love has never lived indoors
I had to drag it home by force
Hired hounds at both my wrists
Damp and bruised by strangers' kisses on my lips

But you're the one that I still miss
You're the one that I still miss
And it's ruthless that it comes as no surprise

I'm not the man you think I am
I'm not the man you think I am


Lyrics submitted by laughing_man, edited by Salvar

Vengeance is Sleeping song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThe lyrics are definitely:

    i didn't know what a brute i was
    i dipped my cigarette and rode the bus
    vengeance built me hastily
    and i dragged the clanging notion
    i was nobody, nobody
    nobody

    all i had was my invention
    and my love invented all of you
    oh look what thoughts can do
    what thoughts can do
    if you're not by now dead and buried
    you're most certifiably married
    oh married

    i'm sure you're sleeping sound
    with the mistress of the hours
    the hours that grind your life to dust
    your easy loves you keep like pets
    denied them, you are powerless
    whatever keeps you sleeping through the night

    i'm not the man you thought i was

    my love has never lived indoors
    i had to drag it home by force
    hired hounds at both my wrists
    damp and bruised by strangers' kisses on my lips

    but you're the one that i still miss
    you're the one that i still miss
    and it's ruthless that it comes as no surprise

    i'm not the man you think i am
    i'm not the man you think i am

    [From Neko's site]


    I love this song. I've always interpreted it as a bittersweet remembrance of a love lost. Everyone has that "one that got away", and this is a song about accepting that the person you've been in love with all this time really isn't as great as you remember. Hence "My love invented all of you", and "you're the one that I still miss/But its ruthless that it comes as no surprise". Almost as if she finally reconnected with this man and all of those years of wondering came crashing down. I also love the undertone of self-awareness, in the line "I dragged the clanging notion I was nobody, nobody, nobody." Kind of realizing that all this time you've thought so low of yourself that how could you have loved or been loved.

    I also like the idea of it being about a tomboy in love- "I'm not the man you think I am". Like she's saying, I do have feelings under this tough exterior. And the description of how she's loved int he past- "My love has never lived indoors"- through that entire stanza. She's always had these rough, unsatisfactory affairs, and she isn't what this man wanted. She isn't an "easy love". But all she wants is a love that can be peaceful and fit with her, and that's who she thought this man was- but in the end it wasn't to be. It all boils down to acceptance and realization- she's moving forward. She's growing. But it still sucks, it's still painful. But it's getting better.
    CanaryYellowon November 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentShe loves someone who isn't necessarily a good person, they're the type to 'love' others just because they can, devoid of anything emotional attachment or sentiment, they need someone there so they won't feel nothing - "Your easy loves you keep like pets, denied them you are powerless, whatever keeps you sleeping through the night." ... I know somebody just like that

    I also love the line, "You're the one that I still miss, and it's ruthless that it comes as no surprise", so amazing and I feel like everyone can relate to it some point
    b0sendorferon July 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe it's also "the hours that grind your life to dust."
    kmb187on March 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdamn-bam = "damp and"
    kmb187on March 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd I dragged the clanging notion?
    Emma318on March 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand

    Your easy loves you keep like pets?
    Emma318on March 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's "damp and bruised by strangers' kisses on my lips"
    animblerechoon March 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentclanging ocean = clanging notion

    the hours are grimed, your life to death = the hours that grind your life to dust

    you keep like path = you keep like pets

    it's ruthless = the truth is



    neko has said that this song is about how if you're a tomboy and you like someone, you're screwed.
    ihavethesedreamson April 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics listed are a terrible interpretation of these song lyrics. Even the one that comes closest, the one who said "the lyrics are definitely" got it wrong, mistaking "intention" for "invention." This is from Neko's site:

    VENGEANCE IS SLEEPING
    Neko Case 2008

    I DID NOT KNOW WHAT A BRUTE I WAS
    I DIPPED MY CIGARETTE AND RODE THE BUS
    VENGEANCE BUILT ME HASTILY

    AND I DRAGGED THE CLANGING NOTION I WAS NOBODY, NOBODY... NOBODY
    ALL I HAD WAS MY INTENTION
    AND MY LOVE INVENTED ALL OF YOU

    OH, LOOK WHAT THOUGHTS CAN DO
    WHAT THOUGHTS CAN DO

    IF BY NOW YOU ARE NOT DEAD AND BURIED
    YOU ARE MOST CERTIFIABLY MARRIED, OH MARRIED

    I'M SURE YOU'RE SLEEPING SOUND
    WITH THE MISTRESS OF THE HOURS
    THE HOURS THAT GRIND YOUR LIFE TO DUST
    YOUR EASY LOVES YOU KEEP LIKE PETS
    DENIED THEM YOU ARE POWERLESS

    WHATEVER KEEPS YOU SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT

    I'M NOT THE MAN YOU THOUGHT I WAS

    MY LOVE HAS NEVER LIVED INDOORS
    I'VE HAD TO DRAG IT HOME BY FORCE
    HIRED HOUNDS AT BOTH MY WRISTS
    DAMP AND BRUISED BY STRANGERS KISSES ON MY LIPS
    BUT YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I STILL MISS

    YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I STILL MISS

    AND IT'S RUTHLESS THAT IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE

    I'M NOT THE MAN YOU THINK I AM
    dlundinon April 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis can apply to either guy or gal, but I'll just use "he/his" here.

    To me it's a song about a person who eventually realizes how one sided a relationship he had was, as someone who gave too much love or maybe tried to make things work and yet gained nothing in return. That everything he held dear about his "significant other" was a long held fabrication. He was a "nobody" to this other person the entire time. He realizes it now.

    So he retaliates with a 'sleeping vengeance' stemming from a broken and angry heart. It's as if these lyrics are expressing "if she can do whatever she wants, then I'll do whatever I want" kind of thing.

    Yet the irony is that he says its "ruthless" for missing this person. Makes you wonder what being a brute really means. Ruthless for loving, or ruthless for hating? Quite poetic. Beautiful song.
    coldasiceon November 14, 2013   Link

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