Mercy me, the night is long.
Take my pen, to write you this song.
Lord: is it harder to carry on,
or to know when you are done?

All my life, I've felt as though
I'm inside a beautiful memory,
replaying
with the sound turned down low.

Long-life, show your face.
Slow-heart, curb your taste.
Smoke me out of my hiding place.
Long-life, state your case.

What in the world are we waiting for --
building glowing cities along the shore,
where the wind batters in,
baiting my kin like a matador?

So much value, placed upon
what lies just beyond our plans:
waving my handkerchief,
running along, to the edge of the sand.

Long-life, speak your name.
I'm so tired of the guessing game.
But, something is moving,
just out of frame:
Slow-heart,
brace and aim.

Breaching slowly, across the sea,
one mast --
a flash like the stinger of a bee --
to take you away,
a swarming fleet is gonna take you from me

The universe is getting loose:
sodden spread,
from some leaden disuse,
rushing, unhinged
towards diminishing lights,
like a headless caboose.

I'll wait for you,
alongside the ocean
and make do
with my no-skin
But then, Long-life,
will you let me in?
And then, Slow-heart,
are you gonna know him?
Long-life, speak your name.
I wait, while I decry the wait.
And when I die, may I relate:
Slow-heart, congregate.

To leave your home, and your family
for some distortion of property?
Well, darling, I can't go
But you may stay
here, with me.


Lyrics submitted by kitteh, edited by e11ie

Occident song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentOccident is defined as "The part of the horizon where the sun last appears in the evening", so if we're considering Have One On Me to be the general timespan of a relationship, the conclusion of disc two being the end of the relationship, it makes sense.
    Skylingon March 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment***** beautiful beautiful beautiful *****
    so tired of the guessing game...
    adropfellon February 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song can be about Emily again.
    Marjoramon February 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCorrected lyrics and better formatting:

    Mercy me, the night is long.
    Take my pen, to write you this song.

    Lord: is it harder to carry on,
    Or to know when you are done?

    All my life, I've felt as though
    I'm inside a beautiful memory,
    replaying
    with the sound turned down low.

    Long-life, show your face.
    Slow-heart, curb your taste.
    Smoke me out of my hiding place.
    Long-life, state your case.

    What in the world are we waiting for-
    building glowing cities along the shore,
    where the wind batters,
    baiting my kin like a matador?

    So much value, placed upon
    what lies just beyond our plans:
    waving my handkerchief,
    running along, till the end of the sand.

    Long-life, speak your name.
    I'm so tired of the guessing game.
    But, something is moving,
    just out of frame:
    lSlow-heart,
    brace and aim.

    Breaching slowly, across the sea,
    one mast-
    flash, like the stinger of a bee-
    to take you away,
    a swarming fleet is gonna take you
    from me.

    The universe is getting loose:
    sodden spread,
    from some leaden disuse,
    rushing, unhinged,
    towards diminishing lights,
    like a headless caboose.

    I'll wait for you,
    alongside the ocean,
    and make do
    with my no-skin.
    But then, Long-life,
    will you let me in?
    And then, Slow-heart,
    are you gonna know him?
    Long-life, speak your name,
    I wait, while I decry the wait.
    And when I die, may I relate:
    Slow heart, congregate.

    To leave your home, and your family
    for some distortion of property?
    Well, darling, I can't go.
    But you may stay
    here, with me.
    Juanjo25on March 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOutside forces are coming in to tear up what they've built together.
    fishbellyfaceon April 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti adore the dichotomy of the phrases: "long-life" and "slow-heart." its as though whom she's addressing in the song is referred to as "long-life," and she would therefore be the "slow-heart." as to why she uses these handles... i'm unsure. perhaps could someone expound upon that?
    indiansummeron June 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with skyling's comment. the title of the song definitely indicates where the couple stands in the progress of their relationship. this goes along with my belief that, in "go long", the relationship resumes briefly for a little more than "one last hurrah."

    "occident" takes the form of a song (or letter) written to the narrator's lover. she knows that the relationship is basically over, but wonders whether it would be easier not knowing, and simply carrying on as if everything were fine. an argument could be made for either side.

    the lines: "something is moving, just out of frame [...] breaching slowly across the sea, one mast-- flash, like the stinger of a bee-- to take you away, a swarming fleet is gonna take you from me" signify that she knows what's left of the relationship is facing an imminent end. she waits for that end, while she decries the wait. this is in keeping with her previous question: it's harder for her knowing when she is done, because then it's just time spent waiting.
    ericaruthon September 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think 'with my no-skin' may actually be 'with my nose-skin', as in "by the skin of your nose." But I'm unsure because I don't have the CD, so if the booklet contains lyrics that say no-skin I'm wrong!

    Anyway, I love the syncopation in this song. Great vocals, too.
    Stereoscopeon April 12, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty convinced all of Have One on Me is a breakup album about her and Bill Callahan. I think this is another song about being in love with a travelling man. She is so rooted to her home and she hates waiting for him come back ( something moving just out of range... I wait while I decry the wait) and she hates that the world seems like its set up for people to leave.

    Building glowing cities along the shore
    A swarming fleet is going to take you from me

    To leave your home and your family
    For some distortion of property

    I believe she's talking about how property is supposed to be the land you live on and tend to and are tied to. The land you care for, and the person she's talking to just moves around not knowing any land, maybe buying it or squatting on it, but truly has no property because he has no roots.

    And she offers him a home with her.
    1ironauton May 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningLong life, show your face
    Slow heart, curb your taste
    Smoke me out of my hiding place
    Long life, state your case

    This song, and particularly this stanza, seems to be a meditation on (and conversation about) long-term relationships: finding reasons to stick it out through tough or negative times, taking a long-view of the relationship in the context of a whole life, fighting against the impulse towards change, movement and newness.
    e11ieon May 31, 2013   Link

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