Desolation Row

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor’s filled with sailors
The circus is in town

Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand’s tied to the tight-rope walker
The other one’s in his pants

And the riot squad, they’re restless
They need someplace to go
As lady and I look out tonight
On Desolation Row

Albert Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way about an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk

He looked immaculately frightful
He bummed a cigarette
Then he went off, sniffing drain pipes
He was reciting the alphabet

And you would never know, just to look at him
But he was famous, long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row

Yes I got your letter yesterday
About the time the doorknob broke
You asked me how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?

All those people that you mention there
Yes I know them, they’re all quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
I gave ’em all new names

But right now I don’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them from
Desolation Row

Bob Dylan, Desolation Row
Live 1998


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