"Shore Leave" as written by John Leonard Keller, Bill Hughes and Roxanne Seeman....
Shore Leave
Well with buck shot eyes and a purple heart
I rolled down the national stroll
and with a big fat paycheck
strapped to my hip sack
and a shore leave wristwatch underneath
my sleeve
in a Hong Kong drizzle on Cuban heels
I rowed down the gutter to the Blood Bank
and I'd left all my papers on the Ticonderoga
and was in a bad need of a shave
and so I slopped at the corner on cold chow mein
and shot billards with a midget
until the rain stopped
and I bought a long sleeved shirt
with horses on the front
and some gum and a lighter and a knife
and a new deck of cards (with girls on the back)
and I sat down and wrote a letter to my wife

and I said Baby, I'm so far away from home
and I miss my Baby so
I can't make it by myself
I love you so

Well I was pacing myself
trying to make it all last
squeezing all the life
out of a lousy two day pass
and I had a cold one at the Dragon
with some Filipino floor show
and talked baseball with a lieutenant
over a Singapore sling
and I wondered how the same moon outside
over this Chinatown fair
could look down on Illinois
and find you there
and you know I love you Baby

and I'm so far away from home
and I miss my Baby so
I can't make it by myself
I love you so

Shore Leave...
Shore Leave...

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

Shore Leave song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI always wished he would make an album called "For No Man".

    So, when coupled with his name, it would read "Tom Waits For No Man".
    ThomYorkeGuyGarvey92on July 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSwordfishtrombones seems to have a war theme all the way through and this song is self explanatory. He does a fantastic version on the film big time.
    mrsiegalon September 23, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe contradiction that is lived by lonely men in the Navy hitting the town anywhere in Asia
    rudythesandwichboyon May 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a fav at my house and we quote it often for our own amusement. For example when it rains, someone invariably announces the intention to go shoot billiards with a midget...

    Note the reference to Illinois, home state of his wife, Kathleen.
    Dawgon August 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEasily my favorite Waits' song. I love the haunting "shore leave" crackled voice at the end. He really sets the tone of how miserable the character feels, and can't wait to get home. Not to mention how fun it would be to shoot billards with a midget. lol
    voltafan101on August 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone notice how it sounds like he's wailing the name "Shirley" at the end? Just a though. Wickedly awseome song.
    ikefoxon September 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo, ikefox, he's saying "Shore leave"
    nova handson October 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand how many separated lovers didn't think of the moon as the only one thing that they can at the same time, the one possible shared experience.
    mariaralucaon March 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song presents such a good atmosphere and really good suitable instruments.
    IrishMan44on November 12, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe didn't write this song though? Really?
    IrishMan44on November 12, 2014   Link

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