The ragamuffin gunner is returnin' home like a hungry runaway
He walks through town all alone
He must be from the fort he hears the high school girls say
His countryside's burnin' with wolfman fairies dressed in drag for homicide
The hit and run, plead sanctuary, `neath a holy stone they hide
They're breakin' beams and crosses with a spastic's reelin' perfection
Nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin' immaculate conception
And everybody's wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood
Sticker smiles sweet as gunner breathes deep, his ankles caked in mud
And I said, "Hey, gunner man, that's quicksand, that's quicksand that ain't mud
Have you thrown your senses to the war or did you lose them in the flood?"

That pure American brother, dull-eyed and empty-faced
Races Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight
He rides `er low on the hip, on the side he's got Bound For Glory in red, white and blue flash paint
He leans on the hood telling racing stories, the kids call him Jimmy The Saint
Well the blaze and noise boy, he's gunnin' that bitch loaded to blastin' point
He rides head first into a hurricane and disappears into a point
And there's nothin' left but some blood where the body fell
That is, nothin' left that you could sell
Just junk all across the horizon, a real highwayman's farewell
And I said, "Hey kid, you think that's oil? Man, that ain't oil that's blood."
I wonder what he was thinking when he hit that storm
Or was he just lost in the flood?

Eighth Avenue sailors in satin shirts whisper in the air
Some storefront incarnation of Maria, she's puttin' on me the stare
And Bronx's best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware
Everything stops, you hear five, quick shots, the cops come up for air
And now the whiz-bang gang from uptown, they're shootin' up the street
And that cat from the Bronx starts lettin' loose
But he gets blown right off his feet
And some kid comes blastin' round the corner but a cop puts him right away
He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish
Still breathing when I walked away
And someone said, "Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud."
I wonder what the dude was sayin' or was he just lost in the flood?
Hey man, did you see that, those poor cats are sure messed up
I wonder what they were gettin' into, or were they just lost in the flood?

Lyrics submitted by fearofmusic

Lost In The Flood song meanings
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  • +5
    My InterpretationHere goes my interpretation:

    The man returning home from Vietnam and clearly seeing what his society has become. Wolfman fairies dressed in drag for homicide I feel is the new role of Heroin in post Vietnam 1970's. Wolfman Fairies are the dealers, disguised but amongst society... for homicide, symbolizing... to disguise their true evil.

    Hit and Run meaning deal and get out... all of this while people's faith and religion is put on the back burner. "Everybody drinkin unholy blood..." is how the community in "the Bronx" has become. We then see the gunner himself doing heroin when he breathes deep. The important part of the song is the perspective of the man who is alive to see drugs destroy gunner, and then slowly destroy society... symbolizing the rising waters of the flood this man has witnessed.

    The line that puts the comparison of war to a drug ridden society is "Have you thrown your senses to the war, or did you lose them in the flood?" The Flood began, gunner drowned in the flood, and it escalated slowly throughout the song. Quicksand symbolizing a degeneration and sinking which will continue slowly... unlike mud which you can easily take care of.

    Dull Eyed and empty faced we find Gunner living life and slowly sinking.... in the background of the U.S in the 1970's. Gunner then crashes his car horribly and the flood ultimately usurps him. Clearly, "nothing left that you could sell" means that Gunner has sold all of his items for drug money. "Junk all across the horizon" symbolizing his fatal downfall because of the drug.

    What was he thinking when he hit the storm, or was he just lost in the flood, informs us that indeed the feeling on the drug is "the flood", that gunner most likely was slowly drowning the entire time and may not have even had time to realize his degeneration.

    The song then shifts......

    Eighth Avenue Sailors in satin shirts whispering are still drug dealers (satin!?), we see a drug community, bronx's best apostle holding his hardware (gun) when the cops come flooding into battle the gang (the flood is taking over, the pitch crescendo's......... you can almost feel a titanic like rise in the background keyboard........ everything is out of control.

    We now see the society and the world that usurped Gunner..... and are forced to remember that he was a nationalistic person.... a person fighting for this country which is under the flood. Leading us to ask what are we really fighting for?

    The Irony of Gunner's death being caused NOT by fighting in the war, but by the very society he was fighting for is the purpose of the song to me. A victim of his own freedom, which while willing to die for, took his own life.

    That's how I feel.
    Scott0880on October 12, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti always thought that the words "lost in the flood" was that persons inevitable fate and their inability to escape their surroundings.

    in the first verse i think bruce is tryin to say that the inevitable fate of the soldiers that returned home from veitnam was that they were never the same, were changed, and in some ways lost parts of themselves in the war. i think the ironic religious references in this verse show that the returning soldier, who once viewed the church and religion as a place he could turn to for truth and safety, has changed and after what he witnessed in the war can no longer trust in religion and can no longer believe in it because of the traumas he went through.

    i think the second is explaining how small town or country kids spend their lives workin on their cars and racing them and their inevitable fate is death in a car accident. The "hurricane" is the accident itsself and the "blood where the body fell" is proof of the persons death.

    the third verse is about city kids who spend their lives involved in gang/street violence and eventually reach their inevitable fate which is death by violence. in my opinion the line "his body hit the street with such a beautiful thud" is showing how the media, movies, music have glorified violence and in some ways made it seem like an art form.
    early15on October 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPossibly my favorite Bruce song... that is not on Born to Run lol, but still, incredible song...
    marcy32on March 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is how you know brilliantly written and performed poetry; there is no other way to put into words the meaning that he is trying to convey, but everyone gets it when they listen to it.
    Blenderhead91on October 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of Bruce's best songs, definiately the best of "Greetings." It is so cynical, and yet so up-lifting. The best is the Hammersmith version, it blew me away
    sawyejron February 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think Bruce is telling a story about 3 distinct characters, but demonstrating that many people are disenfranchised by American society and resort to a way of life that is really beyond their control (or at least they don't see that they have any other options), and ultimately, they pay with their lives. The church, full of its hypocracy, only creates more confusion of good vs. evil. And the stander-by's with their train-wreck mentality demonstrate how coldly people shrug off loss of life and continue to focus on material things and their personal status. We are all lost in the flood- whether you are one of the victims or one of the careless observers.
    TLMon March 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song.
    cowboyupinblueon May 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthow has only one person commented on this b-e-a-u-tiful song?????? This song is INCREDIBLE.

    "He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish
    Still breathing when I walked away
    And someone said, "Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud."
    I wonder what the dude was sayin' or was he just lost in the flood?".............i rest my case how amazing this song is.
    coldfoldson July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreetings from ashbury if non stop hits and this is no exception.
    someone said, "Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud."
    I wonder what the dude was sayin' or was he just lost in the flood?
    hurricane001on April 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis (and lots of bruce) makes me wish i was a piano player. It's just not perfect for acousitc guitar :(
    BobDylan23on June 05, 2007   Link

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