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Laurie Anderson – Slip Away lyrics

What's this? A little dust in my eye
Well I'm not the type to cry
It's four A. M. I'm standing by the bed where you lie
Sleeping the sleep of the newborn
I put [my] finger to your lips. Warm air.
Five A. M. You lift your hand and open it.
Then you slipped away. You slipped away.
Oh death, that creep, that crooked jerk...
He comes, he comes walking. He comes sneaking
Down that long irreversible hallway
Grabs you in your sleep

I walk outside to the parking lot.
Bright coins of water on the sidewalk.
Big white building where your body lies
Stands in the middle of the fields. Icy air.
And after all the shocks the way the heart unlocks
And ooo we slip away. We slip away.

I'm thinking about the way that lost things always come back
Looking like something else
A fishing pole, a shoe, an old shirt, a lucky day
Ooo then they slip away into the remains of the day
Ooo they slip away. They slip away

I'm thinking how you taught me how to win
And how to loose
And how to fight the crippling blues that I was born with
Bad dreams and nightmares
Ooo they slip away. Ooo they slip away into the remains of the day.

I know that sometime I'll stop looking for you.
Stop seeing your face every day
Bad dreams and nightmares and big bad wolves
Ooo they slip away into the remains of the day
Ooo they slip away into the remains of the day
They slip away

You told me you had no idea how to die but I saw
The way the light left your eyes
And after all the shocks the way the heart unlocks
And ooo then you slipped away. You slipped away

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  • u
    This song is about Ms. Anderson's father; about her feelings as she watched him die. She first describes his death as he "slipped away" with "that creep, that crooked jerk" snatching him away.

    The scene moves to the outside of the hospital as she sees "coins of water" on the sidewalk. (Her tears? Or just reminders of them?) She ponders the sudden outrush of emotion as "the heart unlocks" as "we slip away". (From the hospital? From her father's body? From memories? Or just from feelings of grief?)

    The music behind this piece supplements the raw emotion of its lyrics. The spoken pieces of reflection that suddenly turn into the almost ethereal "slip away" choruses while a violin in the background mimics funerary wailing. It's a little bit chilling, truth be told.
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