Noir Poets: Johnny Cash

In Your Mind

In your mind, in your mind
One foot on Jacob’s ladder
And one foot in the fire
And it all goes down in your mind

Living at the bottom of the stairs in your life
Never a smile knocking on your door
The air is blue and so are you
Prehistoric monsters on the floor

Last verse of your last song
And God don’t hear dead men
The end of the line is in your mind
And you’ll be staying in

In your mind, in your mind
Bone for bone and skin for skin
Eye for eye and tooth for tooth
Heart for heart and soul for soul
Somebody said what is true

Lock it up and close it down
The sound of morning like a dove
High beyond the rattle and roar
Look into the face of love

In your mind, in your mind
One foot on Jacob’s ladder
And one foot in the fire
And it all goes down in your mind

In your mind, in your mind
Sunday words are back again
And you’ll eat your fun of the middleman’s pie
But just a piece you understand
You’ll get the rest up in the sky

Praise and glory, wounded angel
Shuffling round the room
Eternity is down the hall
And you sit there bending spoons
In your mind, in your mind
Father, son and holy ghost
Sacrificial drops the pain
On a silver planet cross
Sanctification on a chain

They say redemption draws knives
Storms of silence from above
Stop your ears close your eyes
Try to find the face of love

In your mind, in your mind
One foot on Jacob’s ladder
And one foot in the fire
And it all goes down in your mind

Johnny Cash  (1995) Song of Cash, Inc (ASCAP)

Noir Poets: Raymond Chandler

Farewell My Lovely (1975)

It got darker. I thought; and thought in my mind moved with a kind of sluggish stealthiness, as if it was being watched by bitter and sadistic eyes. I thought of dead eyes looking at a moonless sky, with black blood at the corners of the mouths beneath them. I thought of nasty old women beaten to death against the posts of their dirty beds. I thought of a man with bright blond hair who was afraid and didn’t quite know what he was afraid of, who was sensitive enough to know that something was wrong, and too vain or too dull to guess what it was that was wrong. I thought of beautiful rich women who could be had. I thought of nice slim curious girls who lived alone and could be had too, in a different way. I thought of cops, tough cops that could be greased and yet were not by any means all bad, like Hemingway. Fat prosperous cops with Chamber of Commerce voices, like Chief Wax. Slim, smart and deadly cops like Randall, who for all their smartness and deadliness were not free to do a clean job in a clean way. I thought of sour old goats like Nulty who had given up trying. I though of Indians and psychics and dope doctors.

Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, 1940, ch.34 par.3

Noir Poets: Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

I stayed in San Francisco a week and had the beatest time of my life… I stopped, frozen with ecstasy on the sidewalk. I looked down Market Street. I didn’t know whether it was that or Canal Street in New Orleans: it led to water, ambiguous, universal water, just as 42nd Street, New York, leads to water, and you never know where you are… And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotuslands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn’t in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn’t die, and walked four miles and picked up ten long butts and took them back to Marylou’s hotel room and poured their tobacco in my old pipe and lit up. I was too young to know what had happened.

On The Road, 1957

Noir Poets: Bob Dylan

Young Man With a Horn (1950)

Not Dark Yet

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music