The Leopard

from by Tam Lin

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lyrics

I went to the doctor. She asked how I was.
I said, I’m feeling just fine.”
She said, “Boy, you’ve got to stop holding things in.
You’ll do damage that way in time.”
She had a picture of a leopard hanging on her wall.
It was running through the jungle so free.
I said, “All right, I’ll take whatever it is you’ve got.
Give it to me straight. I’ll give it a shot.”
She said, “All right, repeat after me …”

“Darkness, please stay.
Don’t run away.
I see you hiding year after year.
Darkness, please stay.
Don’t run away.
Don’t go till I know why you’re here.”

When I was a boy, I had a stuffed leopard.
It soaked up my tears and my drool.
Its eyes fell out, then the lining tore.
Then one day I found it gone after school.
I was thinking about my doctor as I got back home.
It was getting dark, and I turned on a light.
Then I remembered this time when that man hit my mother:
I heard the crack of a cup and the scream of my brother
and I ran through the darkness and hid in the covers
and the leopard was waiting to carry me off through the night …

… It spoke. It said:
“Do you see the jungle you’ve been carrying inside you, my son?
Do you see the jungle, full of creatures so desperate and dumb?
And none of them knows what it is that they need.
And none of them knows why it is that they feed.
They just feed.
On and on, they just feed.
When the jungle gets hungry it eats itself.
When the jungle gets tired it wets itself.
When the jungle gets angry it cuts itself.
When the jungle gets lonely it fucks itself.
And you are not outside of that circle of pain!
No, you are not outside of that circle of pain.
You are not outside of that circle of pain.
It goes on, it goes on in the back of your brain.
You get it now?
You get it now?
You get it now?”

I went to the doctor. She asked how I was.
I said, “I don’t really know what to say.
I’m a boy and a leopard, locked in a man.
I think I’m killing myself day by day.”
She smiled and she said, “You’ll be all right.
Don’t try to keep it all straight in your head.”
Then she gave me the picture hanging on her wall.
She said, “Your pain is nothing but the lies you tell.
So don’t lie … and remember what I said …”

“Darkness, please stay.
Don’t run away.
I see you hiding year after year.
Darkness, please stay.
Don’t run away.
Don’t go till I know why you’re here.
Don’t go till I know why you’re here.
Don’t go till I know why you’re here.”

Words and music copyright of Paul Weinfield/Tam Lin Music Publishing (BMI, 2013)

credits

from Medicine For a Ghost, released November 13, 2013
Paul Weinfield: vox, guitars, synths
Ryan Mackstaller: electric guitars
Ward Williams: cello
Adam Platt: piano, organ
Benjamin Wright: bass
Keith Robinson: drums
Mario McNulty: percussion

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about

Tam Lin New York, New York

Tam Lin is making an album! Medicine For a Ghost: a lush, sweeping record about memory, trauma, and healing that will help in the fight against sexual violence. Learn more at: www.indiegogo.com/medicineforaghost

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