The Debt I Owe
Words by Woody Guthrie, text edit and additional words by Lou Reed, Music by Lou Reed
Excerpt from Woody Guthrie essay The Debt I Owe, 10/25/1946
Every day, several times a day, a thought comes over me.
I owe more debts than I ever can pay back more money than I'll ever see.
I walk around the streets of Coney Island . I look through the windows of every store. I peep through the hallways and the doorways and I think of this debt I owe.
I feel like a piece of crushed wreckage, some smashed car in a salvage yard, a vision of an old newspaper blown across an old navy yard, a curbstone chipped and beaten, a piece of gum stuck to a shoe, an empty pack of used matches, an empty version of you.
People stroll and they saunter like papercups thrown in the trash. They're crawling all over the sidewalks, their wallets stuck in their pants. And it comes over me like a mist rising, a fog falling over a ship. The bell is ringing out danger, but it's too late to cancel this trip.
I see the mist rising before me, my hand reappears by my face. By my waist a cold empty pocket, on my wrist the tears from your face. And I think of what I thought this cold morning, it's the same thing I'm thinking at three. I owe more than I can ever pay back, more than I'll ever see.
I think of what I thought this cold morning, I think of what I'm thinking at three. At ten and at midnight the same damn thing, I wish this debt was about money.
© Copyright 2011 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & Spirit Music Group
Note of Hope
Woody Guthrie, Rob Wasserman & Friends
This Track Performed by Lou Reed and Rob Wasserman