Genesis 3:23


 The Life of the World to Come




the Mountain Goats



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Genesis 3:23 is the third song on the album The Life of the World to Come.

Bible VerseEdit

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. NIV Translation


House up in Clearlake
Where I used to live
Picked the lock on the front door
And felt it give

Touch nothing, move nothing, stand still
Keep my ears open for cars
See how the people here live now
Hope that they're better at it than I was

I used to live here
I used to live here
I used to live here
I used to live here

Pictures up on the mantle
Nobody I know
I stand by the tiny furnace
Where the long shadows grow

Living room to bedroom to kitchen
Familiar and warm
Hours we spent starving within these walls
Sounds of a distant storm

I used to live here
I used to live here
I used to live here
I used to live here

Fight through the ghosts in the hallway
Duck and weave
Stand by the door with my eyes closed
When it's time to leave

Steal home before sunset
Cover up my tracks
Drive home with old dreams of play in my mind
And the wind at my back

Break the lock on my own garden gate
When I get home after dark
Sit looking up at the stars outside
Like teeth in the mouth of a shark

I used to live here
I used to live here
I used to live here
I used to live here

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "...But the next time I came back, I'm going back to North Broadway and I'm gonna have a good hard look at the building, and I, uh, I walked up the stairs, and I stood there, you know, and then somebody who lived there came out. And I slipped right in. And I got in the elevator and I went down and I stood in front of my old door and the scuff mark from my boot left there twenty years ago was still there. And I was like, 'this is why you do these things, John, because this feeling kind of can't be replaced by any other kind of feeling.' So this is called 'Genesis 3:23'." -- 2009-08-21 - Durham Be Easy Festival - Durham, NC
  • "I have that feeling that this is something that other survivors of abuse do. When I go back to any place where I used to live, I sort of have to go past where I used to live. I have to drive past there; I have to look at it. It's not like I linger on the sidewalk or anything. I went back to Claremont [California] recently, and I have three or four houses I have to drive past. [laughs] I make this circuit of it. I do this sort of pole position-shaped racecourse thing around Claremont. So yeah, I do that wherever I go. It's a certain feeling you got. It's not necessarily a good feeling, either; it's sort of a strange disconnected feeling. But I'm assuming there's a lot of people who have to do something like that. I think when my father does things like this, he thinks that it would just be fun to see it, but for me it's looking at where stuff happened. The first time I remember doing that was four or five years ago, maybe fewer. I had this one that was kind of a traumatic version of it-- not traumatic, it was actually really great, but traumatic in the sense of huge. I went to Portland, and the house I lived at in Portland is a place where I very nearly died. There's whole weeks there that are totally lost; I'll never know what happened during them. And it's a really scary building to me. I had driven past it in previous tour stops in Portland, but we were doing two dates at the Doug Fir, and we were staying at the hotel, the Jupiter, that's attached to the Doug Fir. It's like four blocks from my old place. So I took a walk over there the next morning, and I stood there, and I thought, "Wow, there's that building. God, it looks exactly the same." A lot of Portland has changed over the past 10 or 15 years, but it was exactly the same beautiful building with marble walls in the entryway. You'd think it was expensive, but it's totally not; it was just old. I walked up the stairs to the glass door, just to remember what it was liked to stand there. And then somebody came out, and I just walked right into the entryway. I was like, "Oooh, I'm inside the building." [laughs] And it was so cool. So I just got in the elevator and took it down to the basement, where I lived, and stood in front of number 10, which was my door. The scuff mark that I left on it coming home drunk a million years ago was still there. [laughs] It was sort of intense to be in there. Those kind of feelings, you sort of can't even process them; there's just too much information. You can't understand what the little ghosts are saying. For me, it's sort of a fact-finding expedition, but you can't really read the facts when you get in the home." --2009 interview with Pitchfork Magazine
  • [interviewer: In the Bible, Genesis 3:23 is a verse about being cast out of the Garden of Eden. What you just described does not sound very much like a garden of Eden] Well, everything's Edenic. Everything is. I really don't know what your past is like, but I've got to assume, like everyone else, you have plenty of pain in it, right? But when you go back to the places where the pain was at, you find that there was more stuff there, and that there's stuff about it that you miss just because it's you. Because that's who you were, and you grow to accept that. When you do that kind of stuff, whether it's Eden or not, it is. Every place that you left is Eden in some way. --2009 interview with Pitchfork Magazine
  • "About homecomings. We shot The Life of the World to Come in Claremont, where I grew up. Peaks, valleys, summits, troughs: I don't even know what to tell you. The place where I wanted to kill myself when I was a teenager: that was Claremont. The place where I discovered enough inner strength to want to outlive all the things that had made me feel that low: that was Claremont, too. For me, playing in Claremont is like discovering that gravity is really only a tentative theory and that there are many other possible explanations for why things that grow too heavy for their branches tend to fall towards earth. Rachel and I met when we were children on a playground at an elementary school about six blocks from the room in which we're singing this song; to sing this song together here was a woozy, wonderful feeling and a big highlight of the year for me." -- 7/29/2009 - The Life of the World to Come: a film by Rian Johnson, liner notes

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