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Unicorn Tolerance




May 19, 2017



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Unicorn Tolerance is the fifth song on the album Goths.


Drawn to the dark
Covered by the blood when possible
Called to the corners
To any open crucible
Easy to reach
Bearing every mark unmissably
Want to leave behind some token of what I carried with me
Search in the storm drains
Sleep in the underpasses
Try hard to look hard
Behind my blackout sunglasses

But I have high unicorn tolerance
I have high unicorn tolerance
I have high unicorn tolerance
I have high unicorn tolerance

Swim with real sharks
Those who never speak when spoken to
Hard limits fade into memory
Once broken through
Scaling the well
Every single day instinctively
Feel shame, real shame
For what my friends must think of me

Dig through the graveyard
Rub the bones against my face
It gets real nice around the graveyard
Once you've acquired the taste
And when the clouds do clear away
Get a momentary chance to see
The thing I've been trying to beat to death
The soft creature that I used to be
The better animal I used to be

Draw where I'm drawn
Seldom wonder why, just follow you
Never blame the rags that swaddled me
For the place the river took me to
Long life to the spiders!
Safe travels to the crow!
Love to the ghosts
Who taught me everything I know

But I have high unicorn tolerance
I have high unicorn tolerance
But I have high unicorn tolerance
I have high unicorn tolerance

Comments by John Darnielle About this Song[]

  • "So I was in the fifth grade, right, and our teacher told us that we were to write a report. I love this concept. I'm not sure what that's supposed to prepare you for in life. Writing a report. It's's not...a business report. It's writing about something you feel passionate about that you that want to share with other people. I'm not sure that the rest of the world after elementary school encourages you to actually do that. But...but so I mean...I remember going, 'Aww man, I'm going to write about dragons.' Cause I was a young man who loved dragons. And unicorns. That's right. Magical and mystical things. But I had a lot of experiences as I went along through late childhood and adolescence that sort of...hardened my skin a little...and put a crust around my heart. So when a girlfriend of mine, one of the sweetest people I'd ever known, gave me a coffee cup with a unicorn on it as like the first present that we had exchanged, my eighteen year old self looked at it like, 'I used to like that stuff as a kid.' And immediately, the voice of my younger, truer self convicted me and said, "Have you betrayed the noble unicorn? Who sought only the best for you? Who wronged you in no way? Whose innocence you have turned your back on?' But I had not entirely, and I drank from that coffee cup until it broke. This is called 'Unicorn Tolerance.'" -- 2017-06-01 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
  • "As I say, Wear Black is a Portland song, and so is this.... I was in the process of trying to bury the good young me who had been under assault for a little while, and when you've been under assault for a while, there's an unfortunate tendency you can gain to join in the spirit of your attackers. I don't quite understand the dynamic, but it happens. You sort of become the person that the people who are against you are telling you you actually are down at your core. It's ugly and hard, but my younger self, my eleven-year-old self had always loved unicorns, and dragons. This is a song called 'Unicorn Tolerance.'" -- 2017-06-02 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA

Things Referenced in this Song[]

Live Shows this Song Was Played at[]

Videos of this Song[]