"Citizen Ship" as written by Ivan Kral and Patti Lee Smith....
I was nothing. It didn't matter to me.
Ah, there were tags all over my sleeve.
There was water outside the windows
and children in the streets [ ] rats with tags.

Ain't got a passport.
Ain't got my real name.
Ain't got a chance, sport, at fortune and fame.
And I walk these endless streets, won't you give me a lift.
A lift. A lift. On your citizen ship.

They were rioting in Chicago, movement in L.A.
Sixty-eight it broke up the Yardbirds.
We were broke as well.
Took it underground, M.C. borderline, up against the wall.
The wall. The wall.
Show your papers, boy.

Citizen ship we got mem'ries.
Stateless, they got shame.
Cast adrift from the citizen ship,
lifeline denied, exiled this castaway.

Blind alley in New York City, in a foreign embrace.
If you're hungry you're not too particular about what you'll taste.
Men in uniform gave me vinegar, spoon of misery.
But what the hell, I fell, I fell.
It doesn't matter to me.

Citizen ship we got mem'ries
Citizen ship, we got pain.
Cast adrift from the citizen ship,
lifeline denied, exiled this castaway.

I was caught like a moth with its wings outta sync.
Cut the chord. Overboard. Just a refugee.
Lady liberty, lend a hand to me, I've been cast adrift.
Adrift. Adrift. Adrift. Adrift. Adrift. Adrift.

On the citizen ship we got mem'ries
Citizen ship, we got pain.
Lose your grip on the citizen ship,
you're cast, you're cast away.
On the citizen ship you got mem'ry.
Citizen ship you got pain.
Citizen ship you got identity.
A name. A name. A name. . .

What's your name, son?
What's your name? . . .
What's your name?
[ ]
Nothing. I got nothing.
[ ] Jersey.
Give me your tired, your poor
Give me your huddled masses
your wartorn [ ]
Give me your wartorn and your [ ]
Lift up your [ ] unto me.
Ah, mythology.

Lyrics submitted by JJ_Ramone, edited by stedborn

"Citizen Ship" as written by Leonard J Kaye Jay Dee Daugherty

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Citizen Ship song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentMy favorite among Patti Smith's songs. This one meant a lot to me in my youth when I was disillusioned by nationalism and political culture was already toxic. (My favorite graffiti in the early 1980s was "U.S. Out of North America". The chaotic movements of the song will always fit perfectly with the youthful realization that the adults can't always contain the fires they set. I was not the first person to feel "cast adrift", without identity, a name. So many images of riots in the streets, unsettling, passionate, necessary.

    "Life During War Time" is a similar song. I always suspected that song was an ode to this one. Is that possible. Both evoke adventure, danger, commitment, and so many other youthful attractions. Living off the beaten track, and being quite young during the tumult of the 50s, I found the sense of riots in the streets as almost an historical record of that time when they were rioting in Chicago. Today it's Baltimore.

    "Dancing in the Streets" is a perfect antidote to the somber mood evoked by Citizen Ship.
    stedbornon April 29, 2015   Link

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