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Desolation Row Lyrics

Artist: Bob Dylan

They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting
the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors, the circus is in
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker, the other is in
his pants
And the riot squad they're restless, they need somewhere to
As Lady and I look out tonight, from Desolation Row

Cinderella, she seems so easy, "It takes one to know one,"
she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he's moaning. "You Belong to Me I
And someone says, "You're in the wrong place, my friend, you
Better leave"
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on Desolation Row

Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to
The fortune telling lady has even taken all her things
All except for Cain and Abel and the hunchback of Notre Dame

Everybody is making love or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he's dressing, he's getting ready
for the show
He's going to the carnival tonight on Desolation Row

Now Ophelia, she's 'neath the window for her I feel so
On her twenty-second birthday she already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic she wears an iron vest
Her profession's her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon Noah's great rainbow
She spends her time peeking into Desolation Row

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette

As he when off sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet

Now you would not think to look at him, but he was famous
long ago
For playing the electric violin on Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients, they're trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she's in charge of the
cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read, "Have Mercy on His
They all play on the penny whistles, you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from Desolation Row

Across the street they've nailed the curtains, they're
getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera a perfect image of a priest
They're spoon feeding Casanova to get him to feel more
Then they'll kill him with self-confidence after poisoning
him with words
And the Phantom's shouting to skinny girls, "Get Outa Here
If You Don't Know
Casanova is just being punished for going to Desolation Row"

Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory where the heart-attack
Is strapped across their shoulders and then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero's Neptune the Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody's shouting, "Which Side Are You On?"
And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain's
While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much about Desolation row

Yes, I received your letter yesterday (About the time the
doorknob broke)
When you asked me how I was doing, was that some kind of
All these people that you mention, yes, I know them, they're
quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another
Right now, I can't read too good, don't send me no more
letters no
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row


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