Don Juan's Reckless Daughter

Joni Mitchell


I'm Don Juan's reckless daughter

I came out two days on your tail

Those two bald-headed days in November

Before the first snowflakes sail

Out on the vast and subtle plains of mystery

A split tongue spirit talks

Noble as a nickel chief

Striking up an old juke box

And he says:

"Snakes along the railroad tracks."

He says, "Eagles in jet trails ..."

He says, "Coils around feathers and talons on scales ...

Gravel under the belly plates ..."

He says, "Wind in the Wings ..."

He says, "Big bird dragging its tail in the dust ...

Snake kite flying on a string."

I come from open prairie

Given some wisdom and a lot of jive!

Last night the ghosts of my old ideas

Reran on channel five

And it howled so spooky for its eagle soul

I nearly broke down and cried

But the split tongue spirit laughed at me

He says, "Your serpent cannot be denied."

Our serpents love the whisky bars

They love the romance of the crime

But didn't I see a neon sign

Fester on your hotel blind

And a country road come off the wall

And swoop down at the crowd at the bar

And put me at the top of your danger list

Just for being so much like you are!

You're a coward against the altitude-

You're a coward against the flesh-

Coward-caught between yes and no

Reckless this time on the line for yes, yes, yes!

Reckless brazen in the play

Of your changing traffic lights

Coward-slinking down the hall

to another restless night

As we center behind the eight ball

As we rock between the sheets

As we siphon the colored language

Off the farms and the streets

Here in Good-Old-God-Save-America

the home of the brave and the free

We are all hopelessly oppressed cowards

Of some duality

Of restless multiplicity

(Oh say can you see)

Restless for streets and honky tonks

Restless for home and routine

Restless for country-safety-and her

Restless for the likes of reckless me

Restless sweeps like fire and rain

Over virgin wilderness

It prowls like hookers and thieves

Through bolt locked tenements

Behind my bolt locked door

The eagle and the serpent are at war in me

The serpent fighting for blind desire

The eagle for clarity

What strange prizes these battles bring

These hectic joys-these weary blues

Puffed up and strutting when I think I win

Down and shaken when I think I lose

There are rivets up here in this eagle

There are box cars down there on your snake

And we are twins of spirit

No matter which route home we take

Or what we forsake

We're going to come up to the eyes of clarity

And we'll go down to the beads of guile

There is danger and education

In living out such a reckless life style

I touched you on the central plains

It was plane to train my twin

It was just plane shadow to train shadow

But to me it was skin to skin

The spirit talks in spectrums

He talks to mother earth to father sky

Self indulgence to self denial

Man to woman

Scales to feathers

You and I

Eagles in the sky

You and I

Snakes in the grass

You and I

Crawl and fly

You and I