The Medicine Show

John the Ball, Louie the Chain
the Excelsior Champion heavy in the brain
Mary the Wand, Sarah the Wasp
name your price, pay your cost
they come so high and the go so low
you can see them all at the Medicine Show

the one-eyed son played a game of lose
with a rusty glass against a pair of shoes
no one believed a word he said
he lost his head and was sent to bed
everybody said that he played too slow
and you can’t do that at the Medicine Show

Sweet June the Innocent came for a treat
with her address stamped on the bottom of her feet
when the lights went out she began to shout
and she never did get out
now she waits on tables when the lights are low
she’s the white wine mistress of the Medicine Show

Drug Store Sam told his right hand man
“stash it all just as fast as you can”
so he brought it all down in a wire cage
left lookin’ funny with his face all changed
he had the eyes of a fish, the head of a crow
you gotta be careful at the Medicine Show

the bar man slinks around the telephone booth
while you pay for your drinks with your last gold tooth
the man with the hook watches the door
while the three-legged pick pocket covers the floor
you’ll forget everything you know
when you get inside of the Medicine Show

everybody knows it when they pass the door
some walk for miles not to pass it no more
some cover their ears, hide their eyes
break to a run when the hear the cries
“hey you stranger, don’t you know
this is the Medicine Show”

everybody warned me not to take a drink
but my head just swam, my eyeballs blinked
the room came up and clapped my ears
they filled my hat with silver spears
a bull frog, a black crow
they paid me well at the Medicine Show