Beyond poor
Beyond ostracized
Destined to be obscured
Beyond right in your offset eyes

On dominus ground
If what I say isn't true
I do it to reason with you
Kiss and no tell
The police down at the motel

I'm aware, I see
Yet somewhere as you reach down
I'm afraid you'll want me to go without

I'm aware, I see; yes, I do
Yet somewhere as you reach down
I'm afraid you'll want me to go without
To return what I've given out

Beyond poor
Beyond ostracized
Destined to be obscured
Beyond right in your husband's eyes
Does he bow when you're around?

What I say isn't true
But I do it to reason with you
Kiss and no tell
The last man in was the first to take the vow

I'm aware, I see; yes, I do
Yet somewhere as you reach down
I'm afraid you'll want me to go without

I'm aware, I see; yes, I do
Yet somewhere as you reach down
I'm afraid you'll want me to go without
Return what I've given out


Lyrics submitted by brettjrob

Black Nurse song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI got the idea that this song is about knowing someone who would be perfect for you but they are in a relationship and how cruel that feeling can be. I feel a "black nurse" is a good term for someone like that, someone who has the ability to heal you but won't

    See the lines:
    The last man in was the first to take the vow (the last man she was with married her)
    Destined to be obscured/Beyond right in your offset eyes (she doesn't seem him)
    I'm afraid you'll want me to go without/Return what I've given out (afraid his love won't be returned)
    Cozenon March 31, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Easily the best song on Coloring Book. And what? No replies yet? I don't quite get the meaning of this song, but I think this is some of their best songwriting to date.
    BrokenDaggerXSouthernSwaggeron March 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell daryl, its too damn cryptic, what's this song about
    stftkon March 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentvery cryptic indeed, it's hard to understand. I've got a lot of ideas, but I just don't know. But the way it's put together is just outstanding. The entire ep is just mind blowing!
    jayefon March 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCozen i think you are on to something.

    "Return what I've given out"

    Is that a plea or a demand? Song ends there quite abruptly.
    chriszewskion April 05, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can't help but think it's 'The last man in was the first to take the BOW'
    and i'm also not so sure on that 'Does he bow when you're around?'.. not that i have any significantly better suggestions, although maybe something to do with ground, and it sounds like the same thing before the last stanza is repeated again.

    generally, i like the idea that this is a black nurse who has the ability to help, but doesn't. it fits.
    mowglicoyon July 13, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationLet me begin by saying this song is amazing. Darly Palumbo is a poetic genius for me.

    I interpret this song to mean there's a woman, who could either be a hooker (beyond poor, beyond ostrasized) or she's having an affair. She does it because she thinks she's 'healing' the men she's with (black nurse, where 'black' implies darkness), although she's obtaining benefit at the same time (she's the one on 'dominus ground').

    On some ocassion it ended badly when she may have either gotten caught or someone beat her up (police down at the motel). So she's loved several men by now or had numerous loves. She treats them all as if they were her husbands, but she may not actually have one, or he's irrelevant (Beyond right in your husband's eyes... what I say isn't true). Daryl is able to read into her by her behaviour (Does he bow when you're around?... I'm aware, I see, yes I do).

    She's ended up devoting herself to whoever pays her the most (kiss and no tell, the last man in was the first to take the vow). Daryl finds it disgusting that she's had a history of relationships without devotion but has just landed herself another man who's taken the vow without knowing her past.

    The act of 'reaching down' could be interpreted to either be a physical sexual act, or the act of entering his psyche. I think it's the former because she is too shallow for the latter. She gives him some kind of healing through sex, although, he knows she will never love him purely, (I'm afraid you'll want me to go without), he never realised that until it was too late that he was not her only lover, hence the bitterness (Return what I've given out).
    OT82on October 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOT82

    I think you have some good ideas and there is definitely aspects of marriage going on here.

    However I think this song like most on the Coloring Book EP and The Singles EP has to do with drug/alcohol addiction.

    Beyond poor/beyond ostracized makes me think of a drug addict, who really has no connection to this world whatsoever.

    Instead of a man married to a whore (a typical GJ theme) I think the man is dealing with his wife who is drinking/doing drugs. "If what I say isn't true..." refers to him lying to her simply to get her to leave this place/mental state and get help.

    The chorus is her POV: "I'm afraid you want me to go without."

    However "dominus" means owner and there is plenty to suggest prostitution. It might be a combo.
    zb277on January 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with the guy who says this song is probably about drugs and alcohol, because it is so plentiful in Daryl's lyrics, but I'd like to do a different interpretation. Especially as a person who's an alcoholic/addict in a recovery program, I've spent my time obsessing with drugs and alcohol, and its nice to be able to fantasize about something different.

    I want to start with the title, and take it at face value: An African American nurse. I live in the bible belt and I've worked in a hospital, and I can tell you that a lot of white folks, especially older white people will ask for a different nurse if they are given a black nurse. Which, is crazy, because the care will not differ. Though I'm sure there are instances where a black nurse could be resentful given past insults and may have lowered her level of care. This is,

    "Beyond poor, beyond ostracized. Destined to be obscured. Beyond right in your offset eyes." - comes from a speaker who is conscious of the black nurses' oppression.

    Not to sound elitist, but anyone who's familiar with the terms hegemony or postcolonialism will know that rich old heterosexual white guys are the ones who write history. Subconsciously or intentionally, to varying degrees, the more distanced you are to being a rich heterosexual white man, the less we know about you, because you were never written about or your writings never seemed important. "Beyond right in your offset eyes," is what I really confirms this for me. We don't know that the way we have learned history is inaccurate (or perhaps a lot of history seems to have been discounted), so we don't perceive it as wrong. And its not wrong, but it is again, one perception.

    "On dominus ground" - speaker aware of his/her own personal situation.

    "If what I say isn't true, I do it to reason with you." Speaker is conscious of history's perception, and is now speaking to listener/reader. Since history is faulty, or denies credit to marginalized people, then speaker knows he/she must speak within the context of faulty history, because we all know it to be the same thing. On top of this, in my personal experience, if you speak with someone who thinks history is all accurate, then they by proxy believe you to be a conspirator or conspiracy theorist... which happens with a lot of people who haven't been forced to read essays or ideas about this. It is the same logic as if someone tells a child their mother is a bad person. All that child can see is that the mother is a good person, regardless of what the mother does, and is unlikely to believe it and may be highly offended someone could say such a thing.

    "Kiss and no tell, the police down at the motel." Black women are notoriously slept with throughout history by white men and betrayed by them, through denial, child birth... anything necessary. I think the speaker has slept with the black nurse, and now the black nurse may be trying to blackmail the speaker some how, and the speaker frames the black nurse.

    "I'm aware, I see, yet somehow as you reach down, I'm afraid you'll want me to go without." Speaker while being intimate with black nurse is conscious of the situation, finds pleasure in the situation, but knows that the nurse has the power to sexual please him, and by proxy has basic power over him. Speaker is paranoid because he/she is conscious of the situation.

    "Beyond right in your husband's eyes. Does he bow when you're around?" I think speaker knows that he has power over black nurse and husband, and is making black nurse aware of his power. Husband may be able to provide love, but is not able to provide wealth, like speaker can.

    I might be totally wrong about all of this, but I prefer this interpretation, or maybe any interpretation over drugs and alcohol. Also I want to say this is an excellent song regardless, its been stuck in my head for 3 days straight. 3 fucking days straight!
    useless006on September 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI forgot to add what I think it all comes together as meaning:

    Since the world inevitably becomes more progressive, and more conscious of what we've done, how are we going to feel about all of that? It seems like in order for us to not face our past, we just oppress again.

    I say we because I am a white hetero-male, I'm just not old yet. I don't know at what age I begin the oppression of all who are not me.
    useless006on September 11, 2013   Link

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