A north wind sinks
The fence around a lot full of debris
Near the corner of Memorial and me.
Where resurrected
Brick and drywall lean back into place,
There’s a terrified reflection of my face.

All alone at the gleaming knife display
In the Army Surplus Sales,
As the dusk descends and my inspiration fails.
Ghost-filled discount parkas,
Sleeping bags,
Peer at me from
The crumpled dark.

Inky bruises punched into the sky by bolts of light,
And then leak across the body of tonight.
While rain and thunder drop and roll,
Then stop short of a storm,
Leave the air stuck with this, waiting to be born.

As I stand before an unresponsive
Automatic door --
Just another door that won’t open for me anymore --
The exit red gets brighter then blinks off.
Presses me into
The crumpled dark.

There’s a billboard by the highway
That says “Welcome to;”
“Bienvenue à;"
But no sign to show you when you go away.

And our demolitions punctuate
All we mean to say, then leave too late.
So I’ll make my shaky exclamation mark
With a handful of
Crumpled dark.


Lyrics submitted by kyoung, edited by CAKunited

Heart of the Continent song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentHow he does it...I don't know. But this man can write a song..and write it well. This song is wonderfully depressing; poetic genius really. Like honestly, how many songwriter can put "unresponsive automatic door" in a song and have it flow?
    velorium117on January 23, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningWhen playing this live, John said "Heart of the Continent" is the the new road sign you'll see when driving into Winnipeg. It replaced the former sign (and Weakerthan's song), "One Great City."
    HellionChildon January 30, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningFor about 50 years, a store called United Army Surplus Sales was located at the corner of Memorial Boulevard and Portage Avenue in Winnipeg. You can see a picture of it here: farm4.static.flickr.com/3179/…

    It was torn down in 2008, and they've since built a new building for the University of Winnipeg on the site.

    In the song, a person is standing near the debris after the demolition, remembering the store that used to be there, and the person he used to be. He thinks about the way the past disappears without you even noticing it, just like there's no sign to tell you when you've left the city, and you're left with the things you wish you had said when you had the chance.
    INotIon November 12, 2012   Link

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