Black Market Baby


She lives in a house
That's way back off the road
There's a man with a lantern
And he carries her soul
A coal stove and a bed
A skillet(2) and a hound
She drove a camel through a needle
In this sinking boardwalk town

She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal
Wants to stay coal

I swang out wide with her
On hell's iron gate
Anything that you wanted
You could have
My eyes say their prayers to her
Sailors ring her bell
The way a moth mistakes a light bulb
for the moon and goes to hell

She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal
Wants to stay coal

There's no prayer like desire
There's amnesia in her kiss
She's a swan and a pistol
And she will follow you like this
In Moberly, Missouri
At the Iroquois Hotel(3)
She checked in with the President
And she ran up quite a Bill(4)

She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal
Wants to stay coal

Well, she's whiskey in a teacup
She gives blondes a lousy name
She's a Bonzai Aphrodite(4)
And a ticket back to Spain
She's a hard way to go
And there ain't no way to stop
Everytime you play the red
the black is coming up

She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's my Black Market baby (She's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal (She's my baby)
She wants to stay coal (She's my baby)
My baby wants to stay coal, coal, coal
My baby wants to stay coal

Written by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Waits-Brennan
Published by: Jalma Music (ASCAP), © 1999
Official release: Mule Variations, Anti Inc., 1999
Arrangements and lyrics published in "Tom Waits - Mule Variations" (Amsco Publications, 2000)

Known covers:
None

Notes:

(1) Black Market baby:
-
Tom Waits (1999): "Kathleen came home with "Black Market Baby." She had it almost all finished. She says, 'She's my black market baby, she's my black market baby, she's a diamond that wants to stay coal.' I thought she said cold. That was almost finished the minute that she said that. Just kind of filled it in." (Source: A Q&A about Mule Variations. MSO: Rip Rense, early 1999)

(2) Skillet n.: A shallow, long-handled pan used for frying food. Also called, regionally fry(ing) pan, spider (Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin - Third Edition)

(3) In Moberly, Missouri at the Iroquois Hotel:

(4) Bill: "She checked in with the President and she ran up quite a Bill" Might be refering to American President Bill Cinton and his amourous adventures

(5) Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love.
Tom Waits
(1999): "Kathleen came up with that [Bonsai Aphrodite] . We know this little gal who's just a gorgeous chick, but she's about four-foot-10, looks like she's been bound, like the Chinese do with feet. Kathleen said, "She's a Bonsai Aphrodite." It was Patricia Arquette. We told her about that, she said, "I love that, I'm gonna open up a Flower shop and call it Bonsai Aphrodite," which she did. But, apparently, it didn't last, went under." (Source: "The Man Who Howled Wolf ". Magnet: Jonathan Valania. June/July, 1999)