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Tired Of Sleeping

Oh Mom, the dreams are not so bad
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

Oh Mom, the old man is telling me something
His eyes are wide and his mouth is thin
And I just can't hear what he's saying

Oh Mom, I wonder when I'll be waking
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

Oh Mom, the kids are playing in pennies
They're up to their knees in money
In the dirt of the churchyard steps

Oh Mom, that man he ripped out his lining
He tore out a piece of his body
To show us his "clean quilted heart"

Oh Mom, I wonder when I'll be waking
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

Oh Mom, the bird on the string is hanging
Her bones are twisting and dancing
She's fighting for her small life

Oh Mom, I wonder when I'll be waking
It's just that there's so much to do
And I'm tired of sleeping

single cover
Single Release : 06.1990
Lyrics : Suzanne Vega
Copyright : © 1990 AGF Music Ltd. / Waifersongs Ltd.
Album : Days of Open Hand

"Days of Open Hand" - tracklist :

Notes:

"This is a song from the dream images. I find it weird to sing because it makes me feel sad, but I also feel that it's one that I have to sing. Its a song of having intense dreams and wanting to wake up from them in your real life, as opposed to a deluded dream world where no one's connecting. The "Oh Mom" lines aren't specifically about birth. But probably there have been many times in my life when I felt that I was the child reassuring my mother that everything would be fine. I put the quote marks around "clean quilted heart" because the phrase was so clear in the dream."
"The Open Hand Book - Notes on her New Album", Musician, 1991, also published in Language and in the Limited Edition of 99.9F° (http://www.vega.net/handbook.htm) transcribed by Eric Szczerbinski

Suzanne explaing the line "Oh Mom":
"Not really. In fact, I wondered what she thought of it. We never really talked about it. That's kind of a strange song. I started writing it about eight years ago. It was something I found in one of my notebooks. "Oh Mom, the dreams are not so bad..." And I couldn't figure out what the rest of it should be, so I just left it there. And eight years later I had this thing of "there's so much to do and I'm tired of sleeping." And suddenly all of the dream images came out. It all gelled, all of a sudden. It's kind of to my mom, but not really. If she asked what it was about, I couldn't tell her."
[...]
"The image in my mind is that of a child is sleeping. She's having a bad dream. She's probably said something in her sleep, or shouted, and the mother comes. The child wakes up and says, "I'm fine, you can go back to bed." The child is comforting the mother. I'm tired of sleeping anyway, I was thinking of getting up, don't worry, go back to bed. But then, of course, the dream images that the child is having are terrifying. The bird on the string. But there's this constant need to comfort the mother. It's weird. It relates to my life. All the characters in the song relate to my life in some way. I think the kids of the church steps are my brothers and sisters. But that gets terribly Psych 103. But it almost doesn't matter. What matters more is the feeling of the song."
Interview with Paul Zollo in Song Talk, Vol. 2, #17, Spring 1992, also published in "Language", 5:1 August 1992, (http://www.vega.net/songtal2.htm) trancription by Steve Zwanger

Suzanne explaing the lines "The kids are playing in pennies / They're up to their knees in money / In the dirt of the churchyard steps":
"That's an image I saw in a dream. For a long time when I sang that song, I would feel like crying. It took about a year to be able to sing it and not want to cry."
[...]
"I think the line in the dream was "the children are begging for God." And there's a double meaning to that. One is that they're begging for money for God. Like alms for the church. And I'm not Catholic or Christian. I don't go to church. So I don't understand why I would have that dream. But on the other hand "the children are begging for God" is asking for salvation."
[...]
"It seemed to me that it was me and my brothers and sisters playing on the steps of this church. My stepfather's father was a minister, and that might have something to do with it. It's all very dense, personal stuff. I can't give you a better answer than that."
Interview with Paul Zollo in Song Talk, Vol. 2, #17, Spring 1992, also published in "Language", 5:1 August 1992, (http://www.vega.net/songtal2.htm) trancription by Steve Zwanger

Suzanne based Tired of Sleeping upon notes from a notebook eight years before she wrote this song (Ed.).