Well I've opened up my veins too many times
And the poison's in my heart and in my mind
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion, I'll settle for lies

Is it any wonder that my mind's on fire
Imprisoned by the thoughts of what you do
Is it any wonder that the joke's an iron
And the jokes on you

Experiments that failed too many times
Transformations that were too hard to find
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion, I'll settle for lies

Yes I know the secrets of the iron and mind
They're trinity acts a mineral fire
Yes I know the secrets of the circuitry mind
It's a flaming wonder telepath

Well I've opened up my veins too many times
And the poison's in my heart and in my mind
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion, I'll settle for lies

Is it any wonder that my mind's on fire
Imprisoned by the thoughts of what you do
Is it any wonder that the joke's an iron
And the jokes on you

And the joke's on you


Lyrics submitted by shut, edited by SMUSER17506205

Flaming Telepaths Lyrics as written by Donald Roeser Albert Bouchard

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Flaming Telepaths song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI heard somewhere that this song is about mind control experimentation by secret Nazi Doctors/Scientists in WW2. (Hence the whole secret treaties theme) I have also been told that Astronomy is the sequel to this song, and has also to do somehow with gaining some kind of knowledge due to mind control experiments. But I also agree with the drug use refferences as well. I think it may not be about one or the other, but sort of both. Two meanings intertwined in one string of thought. But I've ALSO heard (sorry for length) that Secret Treaties (the idea of, at least) is based on some actual fact. That there really were secret transactions between Allied and Axis leaders, like Germany, Italy, UK and USA. I'm not sure how much water this holds, but I think whoever wrote this knew about that possibility.
    HarvesterofEyeson December 06, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe joke's on you
    vipergt196on January 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with BOCult's interpretation this song is amazing. Most people think Astronomy is their best song but this is my favorite. The way the synthesizer feeds into piano and then into the guitar solo is just a flat out perfect piece of music.
    SirRaustusBearon October 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta lot of this song makes me think of heroin use.
    opened up my veins too many times-shooting heroin into a vein.
    lots of references to a poison, drugs=poison, that's clear to see, haha.
    i'm after rebellion, i'll settle for lies-maybe something like, he was trying to rebell from something bu turning to drugs, but everything people told him about them were lies, but since he's hooked, he has to settle.
    experiments that failed too many times-referring to experimenting with drugs, and things just getting worse from there.
    BOCult1904on March 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment I've heard this song connected to heroin use...and that may well be, but I can't help thinking its tied to their fascination with vampires somehow. Being bitten on the neck could be "opened up my veins" and whatever makes it permanent could be the "poison in my heart, mind, blood stream, and pride"...they mention transforming in many songs, transforming into a vampire could be what was too hard to find, with failed experiments...and my minds on fire (panic sets in because you realize its too late) imprisoned over thoughts of what to do...my life's a joke now, and my jokes an iron, could be if I bite you, it will burn like an iron...and the joke's on you...anyway, its an excellent song...one of my favorites...
    polarbear555on August 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Flaming Telepaths" refers to experimental drug use (note: one article on BOC mentioned this song as being about a science fictional experimentation of drugs on humans, with disastrous side effects).
    Cumarison February 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe title indicates to me that it has something to do with psychic warfare and experimentation, by nazis probably. The drug reference is also the B side to the meaning. I dont believe they were heroin addicts but they may have experimented.
    dale112070on August 28, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about autism, some have been driven to suicide trying to kill the child in them and many seen their lives destroyed. Jesus, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett. All geniuses have Asperger syndrome
    yannick102on August 20, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbsolutely adore this song whatever darker meanings it likely has.
    Opening your veins... yes, could be drugs or vampires or suicide....
    The niggle with me though is something I have not read here - the title "Flaming Telepaths".... yes, there could be an allusion to Firestarter... am reminded of the Hawklords song Psi Power about it being like a "radio you can't switch off" and how it might drive you to extremes.
    Incidentally might be worth checking out the super-sinuous version of FT by Espers.
    Rockinroystonon November 04, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf the penultimate line in the song is in fact "Is it any wonder that my jokes an iron," it seems to me to be the most enigmatic line in the verse. Open to interpretation naturally, but I do not feel the term 'iron' here has anything to do with a device for pressing one's clothes.
    So I looked up some information on iron symbolism. Iron could refer to irony - the joke being on you that you've opened your mind only to drive yourself crazy.
    Likewise, iron in the bible is sometimes used to symbolize natural truth, e.g. a truth as hard as iron. In that case, Is it any wonder that my joke is a natural truth, and the 'joke's on you' referring to your natural demise. This was my first sense of the song before delving deeper.
    Of course there is, as is so often the case with those of the soft white, a literary reference as well. In the short story, I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen, the iron stands between the secondary character and the first limiting her ability to fully engage with the other. I'm not saying this is what Lanier et al was thinking, simply that these sort of things have a way of creeping into the collective. Hence the joke is the blockage itself, and your blockage is your desire.
    To be honest, I want to believe there is room for all three given the development of the last three songs on the album. Even in this day of MP3 players and short attention spans, I have HoE, FTs, and Astronomy all in one track. There is a progression here if you look with your eyes closed: HoE being this amoral monster in pursuit of knowledge beyond his own vision, FTs experiencing it and its ramifications, and finally a vision spanning time and space, Astronomy.
    I could be wrong. It's probably just about vampires.
    oldgreyrabbiton November 18, 2020   Link

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