Everybody seems to wonder what it’s like down here. [But] I gotta get away from this day-to-day running around – everybody knows this is nowhere.
I was chopping down a palm tree, when a friend dropped by to ask if I would feel less lonely if he helped me swing the axe. I said “No, it’s not a case of being lonely we have here – I’ve been working on this palm tree for eighty-seven years!”
He said “Go get lost!” – and walked towards his Cadillac; I chopped down the palm tree, and it landed on his back.
It’s hard enough losing, without the confusion of knowing I tried. But you’ve made your mind up; that I’ll be alone now, there’s nothing to hide.
See the drunkard of the village falling on the street: [he] can’t tell his ankles from the rest of his feet. He loves his old laughing lady ’cause her taste is so sweet, but his laughing lady’s loving ain’t the kind he can keep.
There was a woman he knew about a year or so ago: she had something that he needed, and he pleaded with her not to go. On the day that she left, he died, but it did not show.
I’ve seen the needle and the damage done: a little part of it in everyone. But every junkie’s* like a settin’ sun.
* “junkie” originally refers to a drug addict, particularly one addicted to heroin, seeing as “junk” is slang term for heroin [source]. However, as the term developed in society, it has also evolved to refer to an enthusiasm for anything (such as a “book junkie” being obsessed with books.)
I caught you knockin’ at my cellar door: I love you, baby, can I have some more? Ooh, ooh, the damage done.
I hit the city and I lost my band: I watched the needle take another man. Gone, gone, the damage done.
I sing the song because I love the man! I know that some of you don’t understand [how you need to] milk-blood* to keep from running out.
* “milk-blood” most likely refers to the act of extracting heroin-laden blood, for reinjection at a later time. It usually is one’s own blood, but could also be the blood of someone who has just overdosed. It is done as “insurance” in case one’s heroin supply runs out. [source]