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Bright Eyes Poison Oak Lyrics

Last updated: 10/19/2012 02:34:46 PM

Poison oak, some boyhood bravery
When a telephone was a tin can on a string
And I fell asleep with you still talking to me
You said you weren't afraid to die

In polaroids you were dressed in women's clothes
Were you made ashamed, why'd you lock them in a drawer?
I don't think that I ever loved you more

Then when you turned away
When you slammed the door
When you stole the car
And drove towards Mexico
And you wrote bad checks
Just to fill your arm
I was young enough, I still believed in war

Well, let the poets cry themselves to sleep
And all their tearful words will turn back into steam

But me I'm a single cell
On a serpents tongue
There's a muddy field where a garden was
And I'm glad you got away
But I'm still stuck out here
My clothes are soaking wet
From your brother's tears

And I never thought this life was possible
You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for

The end of paralysis
I was a statuette
Now I'm drunk as hell on a piano bench
And when I press the keys
It all gets reversed
The sound of loneliness makes me happier

Thanks to Conor Oberst for submitting Poison Oak Lyrics.

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Thank you for helping. | Reviewer: School Student | 10/18/12

Thanks to this great band I officially have a subject to write about and maybe I'll be able to figure out what some of the lyrics mean because some of these comments say one thing and then others say another. I'm going to figure it out and post later.

Yellow Bird | Reviewer: Maureen | 4/12/12

Simon Joyner - look it up

"How do you feel about Bright Eyes borrowing the yellow bird symbol for Im Wide Awake, Its Morning?"

That song of mine, Came a Yellow Bird, was a really important song for Conor. He lost somebody in his family and wrote all the songs where he references that song, because he really appreciated it. He came over, before he recorded the songs and played them for me and asked if it was okay that he referenced my song in them and of course it was not a problem. I was flattered that the song meant so much to him that he pulled out a symbol that he wanted to use, because it had to do with the same kind of message. He did a great job writing about a difficult subject and I was glad to be a part of it in that way.

Meaning | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/2/11

This song is referring to the cousin with whom he grew up with. The cousin was always confused about his sexuality and broke down, stealing a car, going on a rampage and killing himself. Connor cared deeply for him.. He knew homosexuality was not something one could control and was ashamed that people had pushed him to the point of ending his life. I cry everytime I listen to it. :/ As for the yellow bird, it symbolizes both the mine shaft relation and true love.

you're all right | Reviewer: allen | 3/6/11

I'm pretty sure it is a song about a boy. A boy Conor loves. Who is his brother. the past, memories as kids, the drug addiction, and the suicide. "bad checks to fill your arm" is obvious. but the yellow bird refers to a canary in mine shafts that were used to detect unseen gas. the bird would pass out or die and alert mineworkers. Connor's brother is the canary dying to show Conor the danger of his path. Connor can't believe his brother commited suicide but the act has awoken Conor from his stagnant life. "my clothes are soaking wet from your brothers tears" either refers to Connor's own tears or maybe another little brother. So touching. full of sadness, heartache, loss, and hope for redemption.

YELLOW BIRD. | Reviewer: caroline | 2/23/11

You're all trying to figure out the yellow bird thing.
I' think the use of it goes back to mining.
They used to use a yellow canary bird in mines, and when the mine conditions were unsafe,(low oxygen levels or pressure or something, i can't quite remember) the bird would pass out, warning all the miners it was unsafe and they need to leave and get to safety. A yellow bird is mention in another bright eyes song as well, and it makes sense. "You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for" is kind of like saying, i think, 'You're that something that keeps everything safe' or even the idea that the yellow bird is watching out for him.

?? not sure. I always thought that's what it was about..

A Single Cell | Reviewer: Christine | 1/19/11


I think when he says he's a "single cell on a serpent's tongue", he's, like you said, alluding to The Bible, but as for the 'single cell' part, I don't think it's a reference to anything in particular as much as it is a statement that he's nothing but another sinner, enveloped by a world of sinners, each as insignificant and small as the next, each "a single cell on a serpent's tongue". Of course, that's just an opinion though.

Whatever the meaning, this is definitely one of my favorite songs of his. It's utterly amazing. :)

Single Cell on a Serpent's Tongue | Reviewer: Vanessa | 12/8/10

Does anyone know what the line "single cell on a serpent's tongue, there's a muddy field where the garden was" refers to? Clearly it is an Original Sin allusion, but I have been trying to find any literature on the "Single Cell" bit, and I haven't had any luck.

Isn't there an Original Sin story involving this? I vaguely remember seeing something on the History Channel about it, but now I can't find anything.

LMAO | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/8/10

I love this song too and was feeling all touchy feely sad....that is until I read this:

"The song is about a boy.
A boy Conor loved.

: )"

I don't know, maybe it's the smiley but I laughed so hard I cried a little. I couldn't help but think about the gay rumors and pretty much took it as a joke. All of these articulate meaningful reviews and thoughts...and then this. Hahahahaha *sigh*

yellow bird | Reviewer: kbusche | 3/24/10

"You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for... "

'Yellow bird' comes from Simon Joyner's song- "Came a yellow bird" if you listen to the song- you'll understand the Bright Eyes lyrics a little more.

Collin and Yellow Bird | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/1/10

This song is about Ian's brother/Oberst's cousin, Collin McElroy, who committed suicide after battling a meth addiction and sexuality issues.
I've read a lot of different things about the yellow bird reference, the one I think is probably most accurate is the idea that it comes from a book by Perry Smith, in which the yellow bird represents preservation of life. I think it is most commonly recognized as a symbol of true love/soul mate.

again yellow bird | Reviewer: prime | 2/10/10

what is "yellow bird" really? It was mentioned 2 times in the "We are nowhere, and it's now".

"Did you forget that yellow bird?
But how could you forget your yellow bird?"

anyway... for me the song is about the pain.
poison oaks are notoriously poisonous plants, and irritate when you come in contact with certain things. The singers past caused so much pain and doesn't go away easy because of things that always remind him of their relationship.

hm | Reviewer: matt | 1/8/10

no im pretty sure this is a love song to his brother. its talking about two childhood bestfriends. it doesnt have anything to do with homosexuality when little boys are little people dress them as girls and take pictures, and its something they become ashamed of later.polaroid is an older camera. he then talks about how his shirt is soaked with your brothers tears well he is the brother he has been crying because his brother has left him outside of paradise(the garden)

Yellow Bird | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/2/09

In Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", the character was rescued from his jail cell by a Yellow Bird. Yellow Bird now stands for an allusion for someone's only hope. Maybe Conor Oberst saw Collin as his only hope, and with his suicide, Oberst was lost. That's my interpretation. I've been a devoted fan of Conor for many years. His music has saved me from myself.

Erin B from Omaha | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/28/09

This song is about my late friend, Collin, who took his life while we were working together at the soda fountain at the drugstore. Collin was an amazing spirit and he used to read to me and we'd play music together at my apartment in Dundee--we would bang on my piano until the guy living upstairs would come down and yell at us!. The day before his death he left a copy of his beloved book, "Wuthering Heights" on my coffee table. In the book was a note. It was a very sad note and I chose not to share it with anyone. Collin and I had a connection because we were addicts and suffered from severe depression. I wish he were still here. His death was one of the reasons why I had to get the fuck out of Omaha. I fled to the West Coast thinking I could beat my addictions and depression. The past 8 years have been a constant battle, but I am sober now, and I feel that Collin was with me to help me through my journey.

Polaroids | Reviewer: Ed | 8/28/09

yeah, Laney's got it right.

I knew there was a struggle with sexuality with the line "In polaroids you were dressed in women's clothes
Were you made ashamed, why'd you lock them in a drawer?" But I had never pieced the whole thing together until now.

When he says "the end of paralysis" I just die. He sings with such emotion, it's absolutely breathtaking.

It seems as though the yellow bird reference has many meanings, because I haven't disageed with any of the explanations of it so far. There is obviously a lot of guilt in suicide, but it's also seen as a way out towards the light.