The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68
And he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday
Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark café
You laugh he said you think you're immune
Go look at your eyes they're full of moon
You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies pretty lies
When you gonna realize they're only pretty lies
Only pretty lies just pretty lies
He put a quarter in the Wurlitzer and he pushed
Three buttons and the thing began to whirr
And a bar maid came by in fishnet stockings and a bow tie
And she said "Drink up now it's getting' on time to close"
"Richard, you haven't really changed" I said
It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head
You got tombs in your eyes but the songs you punched are dreaming
Listen, they sing of love so sweet, love so sweet
When you gonna get yourself back on your feet?
Oh and love can be so sweet Love so sweet
Richard got married to a figure skater
And he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator
And he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on
And all the house lights left up bright
I'm gonna blow this damn candle out
I don't want nobody comin' over to my table
I got nothing to talk to anybody about
All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hidin' behind bottles in dark cafes dark cafes
Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away
Only a phase these dark café days
© June 28, 1971; Joni Mitchell Pub Corp
Let's put to rest the belief that this song is about Chuck Mitchell. It's not. In the book "Will You Take Me As I Am" author Michelle Mercer gets to the bottom of it:
Mitchell felt the need to get explicit. "Okay, this is where that song came from," [Joni] said. "Patrick Sky, a fellow folksinger, said to me one night in a bar in New York, 'Oh, Joni, you're a hopeless romantic. There's only one way for you to go. Hopeless cynicism. And that was it That one little nugget became that song." In the song, Richard marries a figure skater and becomes a homebody, "Patrick Sky married a figure skater and didn't go to the bar anymore. So you assume he went for domesticity. And there's a little dark humor thrown in there-—he bought her a dishwasher and he drinks at home with the lights up high instead of at last call."
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