"Kentucky Avenue" as written by and Tom Waits....
Eddie Graces Buick got four bullet holes in the side
And Charlie Delisle sittin' at the top of an avocado tree
Mrs. Stormll stab you with a steak knife if you step on her lawn
I got a half pack of Lucky Strikes, man, so come along with me
Lets fill our pockets with macadamia nuts, then go over to Bobby Goodmansons
And jump off the roof Hilda plays strip poker and her mamas across the street
Joey Navinski says she put her tongue in his mouth
Dicky Faulkners got a switchblade and some gooseneck risers that eucalyptus is a hunchback
There's a wind up from the south
So let me tie you up with kite string and I'll show you the scabs on my knee
Watch out for the broken glass, put your shoes and socks on and come along with me
Lets follow that fire truck
I think your house is burnin' down
Then go down to the hobo jungle
And kill some rattlesnakes with a trowel
We'll break all the windows in the old Anderson place
And steal a bunch of boysenberrys
And smear 'em on our face
I'll get a dollar from my mamas purse
And buy that skull and crossbones ring
And you can wear it around your neck
On an old piece of string

Then we'll spit on Ronnie Arnold
And flip him the bird
And slash the tires on the school bus
Now don't say a word
I'll take a rusty nail
And scratch your initials on my arm
And I'll show you how to sneak up on the roof of the drugstore

I'll take the spokes from your wheelchair
And a magpies wings
And I'll tie 'em to your shoulders and your feet
I'll steal a hacksaw from my dad
And cut the braces off your legs
And we'll bury them tonight in the cornfield

Put a church key in your pocket
We'll hop that freight train in the hall
And we'll slide all the way down the drain
To New Orleans in the fall

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

"Kentucky Avenue" as written by Tom Waits

Lyrics © AUDIAM, INC, BMG Rights Management

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Kentucky Avenue song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentsuch a great song.
    This is an example of Tom Waits brilliance.
    It conveys the normal childhood fun and hijinkx and the kids attempts to come to grips with the world around them. But, as the song progresses you realize his friend is in disabled:

    "Ill take the spokes from your wheelchair
    and a magpies wings
    and tie em to your shoulders and your feet
    i'll steal a hacksaw from my dad
    and cut the braces off your legs
    and we'll bury them in the night in the cornfield"

    He wants to help his friend escape at all costs.
    Such a powerfully wonderful song.
    Thanks Tom!
    matsientston September 22, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI definitely agree. These words (and the way Tom delivers them) never fail to move me. I think it vies with "Tom Traubert's Blues" as his most heart-wrenching song.
    Diego8978on February 23, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe greatest love song ever written. I agree with all the comments, not much more to add, the lyrics speak clearly for themselves. There is a great live version on the web. Tom certainly delivers these sentimental songs in such a beautiful way and pulls it off without it being too over the top. Not too many artists I know can do this. Brilliant song from one of his best early albums
    mrsiegalon May 13, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat is very special with this song is that many of the things in the song actually were parts of Waits own childhood. Dickie Faulkner, Joey Navinski, Mrs. Storm, and even the friend in the wheelchair he's talking to was actually one of his best friends. Charlie Deslisle actually interviewed Tom Waits years later after they parted ways when they were younger.

    Tom Waits(1981): "My best friend, when I was a kid, had polio. I didn't understand what polio was. I just knew it took him longer to get to the bus stop than me. I dunno. Sometimes I think kids know more than anybody. I rode a train once to Santa Barbara with this kid and it almost seemed like he lived a life somewhere before he was born and he brought what he knew with him into this world and so..." His voice fades off for a moment, then, "...It's what you don't know that's usually more interesting. Things you wonder about, things you have yet to make up your mind about. There's more to deal with than just your fundamental street wisdom. Dreams. Nightmares."
    Ex Abruptoon September 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song ended my marriage.

    When we were living abraod, this song was playing on my hi-fi. My wife (at that time) walked in just as Tom was singing "and cut the braces off your legs" she looked at me with utter disgust, hands on her chubby hips and said "what in the hellll are you listening to?"

    Love died that night, and our marriage later that same year.
    todzylaon February 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song makes me cry. so much beauty in it...
    PiKueloon June 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI only discovered how beautiful this song was a few days ago... and now i've listened to it properly i can see what you mean about making you cry...

    "i'll steal a hacksaw from my dad
    and cut the braces off your legs
    and we'll bury them tonight in the cornfield"

    thats the line that gets me... so simple and innocent...

    Its now up there with Fish and Bird, Poor Edward and Fawn as the Tom waits songs that affect me most!
    thief_of_timeon June 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYoung love in a way only tom waits can put it
    milk_and_honeyon September 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSad and beautiful
    Agree with matsientst
    listen to this song each night before I sleep - or try to sleep
    this song is last song i hear @ the end of my 'day'/ whenever/ whatever time .
    LOVELY lyrics as only TW can write and sing.
    ak47doubletapon September 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment I was driving my daughter to the mall or somewhere and she was listening to the radio. She was probably fourteen or fifteen. She was listening to the radio, and I told her I was gonna play one song. It would only take four or five minutes of her precious time, but I wanted her to really listen to it. After acting like I told her to paint the house or something, she agreed to listen.
    When Tom sang "I'll take the spokes from your weelchair" , her eyes opened wide and she sat up closer to the speakers. When it was over,she told me how excellent it was...and it was the saddest song she ever heard. I know she probably would have been crying if I wasn't sitting next to her.
    babsdaddyon April 21, 2010   Link

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