How to Embrace a Swamp Creature


 Heretic Pride




the Mountain Goats



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How to Embrace a Swamp Creature is the 10th song on the album Heretic Pride.

Press Kit notesEdit

How to Embrace a Swamp Creature

This is a song about sleeping with somebody with whom you've just parted ways and with whom you later tell yourself you had no intention of sleeping on that day when you "stopped by" to pick up your stuff, or to "just say hi," or whatever other excuse you feel like using. It's all good y'all, you ain't gotta lie to me. 


Got out of bed, could not remember my own name
Condemned to walk the soil amongst all creatures wild and tame
Go where I go, do what I must 
Crawl starving on my belly
Licking up the dry dust

I see the light in your window
Ride the elevator to the sixth floor
Stand with my arms at my sides as you open up the door

But I’m out of my element I can’t breathe
I’m out of my element
I can’t breathe

Alone with your bathroom mirror
Try to get my head straight
Breathe on the glass and wait for it to clear
Clean slate

Meet up with you in the kitchen
Where the air is hot and dry
Open up all the faucets
Be fruitful and multiply

I stand where the flashing swords gleam
And I try to shake my head clear of the dream

But I’m out of my element I can’t breathe
I’m out of my element 
I can’t breathe

I start to sweat, I can’t cool down
I’m scared of all the strangers in this town
I try to tell you just why I’ve come
It’s like I’ve got molasses on my tongue

I made it through town somehow
But who’s going to save me now?

I’m out of my element I can’t breathe
I’m out of my element
I can’t breathe

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "...When I tell you this is a song about a person going to a house of somebody they used to date, maybe fairly recently, maybe not, you know, that isn't to say it's just some scurrilous thing. It's probably a pretty big moment for these people. God bless and keep them." -- 2007-09-30 - Middle East Downstairs - Cambridge, MA
  • "So this is a song about a bad habit that you might find yourself getting into. I have come to be the voice of reason when that time comes that this bad habit of yours asserts itself. It only tends to happen after you've done broke up with somebody and haven't found anybody new yet. And you might think to yourself one day, 'Where, where is my Born Against singles compilation? I was gonna listen to that, I wanted to hear the song 'Albany Academy.' And so, you think, 'Oh, I know who's got it, my ex has got it. I will just call him or her up and see if I can go get my record.' Now, you may believe in your own innocence in this situation, but I have come, like a vision from the heart of the fire, to call you a liar to your face and say that you know, and I know why you're going over there today, and it has nothing to do with any Born Against singles compilation, because you could go get that song off the Internet like the rest of us inside of the next thirty seconds and you don't need the vinyl and you don't need the CD. I know that you need some intimacy, and I know that you want to see them again. We should both be honest about that. This is called 'How to Embrace a Swamp Creature.'" -- 2008-02-29 - Bimbo's - San Francisco, CA

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