Key West (Philosopher Pirate)

Written by: Bob Dylan
McKinley hollered - McKinley squalled
Doctor said McKinley - death is on the wall
Say it to me if you got something to confess
I heard all about it - he was going down slow
Heard it on the wireless radio
From down in the boondocks - way down in Key West

I’m searchin’ for love and inspiration
On that pirate radio station
It’s comin’ out of Luxembourg and Budapest
Radio signal clear as can be
I’m so deep in love I can hardly see
Down in the flatlands - way down in Key West

Key West is the place to be
If you’re lookin’ for immortality
Stay on the road – follow the highway sign
Key West is fine and fair
If you lost your mind, you’ll find it there
Key West is on the horizon line

I was born on the wrong side of the railroad track
Like Ginsberg, Corso and Kerouac
Like Louie and Jimmy and Buddy and all of the rest
It might not be the thing to do
But I’m stickin’ with you through and through
Down in the flatlands - way down in Key West

I got both my feet planted square on the ground
Got my right hand high with the thumb down
Such is life - such is happiness
Hibiscus flowers grow everywhere here
If you wear one put it behind your ear
Down on the bottom - way down in Key West

Key West is the place to go
Down by the Gulf of Mexico
Beyond the sea - beyond the shifting sand
Key West is the gateway key
To innocence and purity
Key West - Key West is the enchanted land

I’ve never lived in the land of Oz
Or wasted my time with an unworthy cause
It’s hot down here and you can’t be overdressed
The tiny blossoms of a toxic plant
They can make you dizzy - I’d like to help ya but I can’t
Down in the flatlands - way down in Key West

The fishtail ponds and the orchid trees
They can give you the bleedin’ heart disease
People tell me - I oughta try a little tenderness
Amelia Street - Bay View Park
Walkin’ in the shadows after dark
Down under - way down in Key West

I play the gumbo limbo spirituals
I know all the Hindu rituals
People tell me that I’m truly blessed
Bougainvillea bloomin’ in the summer and spring
Winter here is an unknown thing
Down the flatlands - way down in Key West

Key West is under the sun
Under the radar - under the gun
You stay to the left and then you lean to the right
Feel the sunlight on your skin
And the healing virtues of the wind
Key West - Key West is the land of light

Wherever I travel - wherever I roam
I’m not that far from the convent home
I do what I think is right - what I think is best
Mystery Street off Mallory Square
Truman had his White House there
Eastbound - westbound
Way down in Key West

Twelve years old and they put me in a suit
Forced me to marry a prostitute
There were gold fringes on her wedding dress
That’s my story but not where it ends
She’s still cute and we’re still friends
Down in the bottom - way down in Key West

I play both sides against the middle
Pickin’ up that pirate radio signal
I heard the news - I heard your last request
Fly around my Pretty Little Miss
I don’t love nobody - gimme a kiss
Down at the bottom - way down in Key West

Key West is the place to be
If you’re lookin’ for immortality
Key West is paradise divine
Key West is fine and fair
If you lost your mind you’ll find it there
Key West is on the horizon line

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