On the Nickel cover
On the Nickel cover

On the Nickel Lyrics Meanings
by Tom Waits

Rock
1990
1K

On the Nickel Lyrics

Sticks and stones will break my bones
But I always will be true
And when your mama is dead and gone
I'll sing this lullaby just for you
So what becomes of all the little boys
Who never comb their hair?
They're lined up all around the block
On The Nickel over there

So you better bring a bucket
There is a hole in the pail
If you don't get my letter
Then you'll know that I'm in jail
So what becomes of all the little boys
Who never say their prayers?
They're sleepin' like a baby
On The Nickel over there

If you chew tobacco, and wish upon a star
You'll find out where the scarecrows sit
Just like punchlines between the cars
I know a place where a royal flush
Can never beat a pair
And even Thomas Jefferson
Is On The Nickel over there

So ring around the rosie, you're sleepin' in the rain
And you're always late for supper
And man you let me down, let me down again
I thought I heard a mockingbird, Roosevelt knows where
You can skip the light with grady tuck
On the Nickel over there

So what becomes of all the little boys
Who run away from home?
The world just keeps gettin' bigger
Once you get out on your own
So what becomes of all the little boys
The sandman takes you where
You'll be sleepin' with a pillowman
On the Nickel over there

So let's climb up through that button hole
And fall right up the stairs
I'll show you where the short dogs grow
On the Nickel over there

Writer(s): Lyrics © BMG Rights Management
Copyright: TOM WAITS
Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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2 Thoughts & Meanings

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me is the full quote. Suppose it means being called a bum, homeless, is meaningless as you have other things than pride to concern you. Great song - my favorite version is Puddles' Pity Party (Big Mike Geier) version of it on YouTube. Poignant.

The "Nickel" refers to 5th St in Los Angeles, in the heart of Skid Row... an area known for it's large population of homeless people. Waits has called this song his "lullaby for the homeless," trying to evoke a sense of humanity for those who live there.

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