Song 10 - Pay in Blood.


Off the 2013 album Tempest, Pay in Blood is one of the most violent and sinister of all his songs. The question it generates is: who is talking? ‘In one of his most vicious songs ever, Dylan conjures a demonic figure—military brass, politician, CEO, pick your poison’ says Rolling Stone magazine.

I got something in my pocket make your eyeballs swim
I got dogs could tear you limb from limb

A relentless, chilling song. Again there are smoother versions, but this harsh, overwhelming version from 2016 best captures the evil mood of the song.

The lyrics below are what he sings in this performance. Some lines are at variance with the official version. (link) I see the rhyming trickster at work here. Another politician coming out (of) the abyss turns by some trickery of sound into: Another Politician pumping out his piss. Excuse me, did I hear that correctly? Perhaps Dylan lyrics should never be written down; what you hear is not always what you read.

Pay In Blood:

Well I'm grinding my life out, steady but sure
Nothing more wretched than what I must endure
I'm drenched in the light that shines from the sun
I could stone you to death for the wrongs that you've done

Sooner or later you make a mistake,
I'll put you in a chain that you never will break
Legs and arms and body and bone
I pay in blood, but not my own

Night after night, day after day
They strip your useless thoughts away
The more I take the more I give
The more I die the more I live

I got something in my pocket make your eyeballs swim
I got dogs could tear you limb from limb
I'm circlin' around in the southern zone
I pay in blood, but not my own

Low cards are what I've got
But I'll play this hand whether I like it or not
I'm sworn to uphold the laws of God
You could put me out in front of a firing squad

I've been out and around with the rising men
Just like you, my handsome friend
My head's so hard, must be made of stone
I pay in blood, but not my own

Another politician pumping out his piss
Another ragged beggar blowing you a kiss
Life is short and it don’t last long

They’ll hang you in the morning then sing you a song

Someone must of slipped a drug in your wine
You gulped it down and you've crossed the line
My head’s so hard it must be made of stone
I pay in blood, but not my own

How I made it back home, nobody knows
Or how I survived so many blows
I've been through Hell, What good did it do?
My conscience is clear, what about you?

I'll give you justice, I'll fathom your purse
Show me your moral that you reversed
Hear me holler, hear me moan
I pay in blood but not my own

You get your lover in the bed
Come here I'll break your lousy head
Our nation must be saved and freed
You've been accused of murder, how do you plead?

This is how I spend my days
I came to bury, not to raise
I'll drink my fill and sleep alone
I play in blood, but not my own