The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
Sufjan Stevens Lyrics


Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door

Oh I am not quite sleeping
Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstretched
North of Sylvanna we swim in the Palisades
I come out wearing my brothers red hat
There on his shoulder my best friend is bit seven times
He runs washing his face in his hands

Oh how I meant to tease him
Oh how I meant no harm
Touching his back with my hand I kiss him
I see the wasp on the length of my arm

Oh great sights upon this state, hallelu
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake, hallelu
Trail of tears and Horseshoe Lake, hallelu
Trusting things beyond mistake, hallelu

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

I can't explain the state that I'm in
The state of my heart, he was my best friend
Into the car, from the back seat
Oh admiration in falling asleep
All of my powers, day after day
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed
Deep in the tower, the prairies below
I can tell you, the telling gets old
Terrible sting and terrible storm
I can tell you the day we were born
My friend is gone, he ran away
I can tell you, I love him each day
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged
I can tell you I love him each day
Terrible sting, terrible storm
I can tell you

Lyrics © New Jerusalem Music
Written by: SUFJAN STEVENS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

westingshouse

Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door

Oh I am not quite sleeping
Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstretched

North of Sylvanna we swim in the Palisades
I come out wearing my brothers red hat
There on his shoulder my best friend is bit seven times
He runs washing his face in his hands

Oh how I meant to tease him
Oh how I meant no harm
Touching his back with my hand I kiss him
I see the wasp on the length of my arm

Oh great sights upon this state, hallelu
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake, hallelu
Trail of tears and Horseshoe Lake, hallelu
Trusting things beyond mistake, hallelu

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

I can't explain the state that I'm in 
The state of my heart, he was my best friend 
Into the car, from the back seat 
Oh admiration in falling asleep 
All of my powers, day after day 
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed 
Deep in the tower, the prairies below 
I can tell you, the telling gets old 
Terrible sting and terrible storm 
I can tell you the day we were born 
My friend is gone, he ran away 
I can tell you, I love him each day 
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged 
I can tell you I love him each day 
Terrible sting, terrible storm 
I can tell you



Nuclear Effect

The first song I'm genuinely obsessed with, emotionally. I know I'm probably just rehashing what others are saying about this song, but this affected me greatly because in the singer's POV, he only wishes to meet his dear best friend again, but it's very the opposite for the friend. The singer's mind drifts to this memory that stuck with him even after years, evident from the fact that a lull and the sight of a wasp was the only thing that made him remember the moment again. He recounts the day they spent at the Palisades just hanging out in the water, and he joked with his friend by biting him several times (probably playing pretend or something) whilst his friend is trying to run away most likely due to blushing so badly, which explains the washing his face with his hands line (I don't know what love is like, but I understand that being so close and touching a lot with your crush is an intoxicating feeling, whether sexual or not. So his friend was probably hiding the obvious blush by pretending to wash his face a lot).


The next stanza (I think that's what it's called, English is not my main language) shows that the singer genuinely was just joking around, not expecting himself that they would be kissing. "Oh how I meant no harm" is really a punch-to-the-gut for me, because the singer never expected such an innocent thing would be the very thing that messes with his friend's mind so much that it drove them apart (internalised homophobia is not fun at all). The wasp can be the sting of guilt and love at once, because that was when he realised he loved his friend dearly, whilst the guilt for the "oh shit" moment, because from that point on, there's no way in hell they'll be able to go back to how they were.


This song is sounds so damn innocent and hopeful, yes somewhat bitter because it seems that the singer is not letting it go, and used the sights around him as a distraction instead. I only knew Sufjan Stevens recently, so as far as I'm aware he is from a religious background. It is highly likely that his friend is too. So after that kiss, both are battling their own thoughts. Singer decides to focus on the beauty of nature God has bestowed, but the Hallelujah (which I think means Praise the God) was never said fully because well, you know how it is with religion and homophobia. I related to this so much because it is my religion that both was the cause and solution for my problems (I'm bi). So when I praise God, I can never find myself to say it as genuinely as I would've at the time before I knew I was bi. I believe the singer in this setting is the same as I.


And yet, the stanza ends with "trusting things beyond mistakes". Singer hopes that things will be okay even after the "mistake" he did.


Singer repeats "we were in love", with such surety that and celebration that it's hard to not believe what singer is saying. They most likely really were, with how his friend reacted. They both probably knew this, but perhaps singer was oblivious to his own feelings whilst his friend is aware but never says anything of it.


I don't really understand the next stanza I'm sorry.


Then they went back home. Singer's heart probably beating like hell, because he's nervous and afraid what will happen next. This dude is his best friend! On the ride back, they both fell asleep probably due to exhaustion. Singer finds admiration in this because he can stop thinking about it for a time, however short that is. The singer says that he can tell us that they swaggered and swayed, because whilst his friend is deep asleep, the singer was probably awake a short time after with how anxious he is with what happened. His friend probably didn't mention what just happened AT ALL, and he is scared to. So he was probably so aware with everything that's happening that he can recount the movements they made on the way home.


He probably have recounted this moment so many times that it's gotten old as he is (Sufjan is like, only few years younger than my dad so personally that's old enough). Terrible sting and terrible storm probably alludes to the stinging of the wasp (you know how you say something is a bad thing even though it was actually a positive thing, but the outcome of said thing isn't to your liking) whilst terrible storm is probably his friend storming out of his life out of anger (that stems from internalised homophobia). They most likely had a big fight. Singer says that he can tell the day they were born, this likely means that they were so close that he can tell each other's birthday or any detail about each other on top of his head, or it could mean he could tell the day they met each other, thus a relationship is created (the day "we" were born). His friend is now gone, and is no longer his best friend. Ran away means to leave a place or person secretly and suddenly. Singer is hurt by this, and it's like a terrible storm- sudden and damaging. Yet even now he still thinks of his friend. Days leading up to his friend running away, his friend probably fought a lot with him so suddenly, and the innocent tone of this song makes me believe that singer genuinely cannot fathom why the sudden hatred towards him. This can also speaks about his feelings about his religion, how despite fighting with his doubts and fears that involves his religion, he still loves God. The singer laments once again on how terrible the sting of the wasp was- the sting of his dearest friend running away- the sting of what-ifs, before falling asleep mid-reminiscing. Singer never did move on like what usually happens, showing how genuine his love is for his friend- the hopeful tone consistent.


The way this song was sung and written is so innocent to me, I've genuinely been listening to ONLY this for the past month. I know same-sex love is not much different than hetero ones, but growing up in heteronormative, homophobic religious setting makes you more aware about what is taught as "not normal" to you. The naivete of love that this song tells makes me just.. rethink of how I perceive love. If I truly can't feel romantic love, or I've been repressing myself to hell and back because I've only seen same-sex love as something that is just inherently sexual, love being a second thought.

Anyways yeah, thanks for coming to my TEDTalk. I've only found Sufjan Stevens recently and have no idea about Christianity and America's geography stuffs, so apologies if I have any bad thoughts on this.



kirigaya kazuto

Lyrics:
Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door
Oh I am not quite sleeping
Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstretched
North of Sylvanna we swim in the Palisades
I come out wearing my brothers red hat
There on his shoulder my best friend is bit seven times
He runs washing his face in his hands
Oh how I meant to tease him
Oh how I meant no harm
Touching his back with my hand I kiss him
I see the wasp on the length of my arm
Oh great sights upon this state, hallelu
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake, hallelu
Trail of tears and Horseshoe Lake, hallelu
Trusting things beyond mistake, hallelu
We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait
We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait
We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait
I can't explain the state that I'm in
The state of my heart, he was my best friend
Into the car, from the back seat
Oh admiration in falling asleep
All of my powers, day after day
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed
Deep in the tower, the prairies below
I can tell you, the telling gets old
Terrible sting and terrible storm
I can tell you the day we were born
My friend is gone, he ran away
I can tell you, I love him each day
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged
I can tell you I love him each day
Terrible sting, terrible storm
I can tell you



Pablo

Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door

Oh I am not quite sleeping
Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstretched

North of Sylvanna we swim in the Palisades
I come out wearing my brothers red hat
There on his shoulder my best friend is bit seven times
He runs washing his face in his hands

Oh how I meant to tease him
Oh how I meant no harm
Touching his back with my hand I kiss him
I see the wasp on the length of my arm

Oh great sights upon this state, hallelu
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake, hallelu
Trail of tears and Horseshoe Lake, hallelu
Trusting things beyond mistake, hallelu

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

We were in love, we were in love
Palisades, Palisades
I can wait I can wait

I can't explain the state that I'm in 
The state of my heart, he was my best friend 
Into the car, from the back seat 
Oh admiration in falling asleep 
All of my powers, day after day 
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed 
Deep in the tower, the prairies below 
I can tell you, the telling gets old 
Terrible sting and terrible storm 
I can tell you the day we were born 
My friend is gone, he ran away 
I can tell you, I love him each day 
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged 
I can tell you I love him each day 
Terrible sting, terrible storm 
I can tell you



pradnya wicaksana

Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door

Oh I am not quite sleeping
Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstretched

North of Savanna we swim in the palisades
I come out wearing my brother's red hat
There on his shoulder my best friend is bit seven times
He runs washing his face in his hands

Oh how I meant to tease him
Oh how I meant no harm
Touching his back with my hand I kiss him
I see the wasp on the length of my arm

Oh great sights upon this state! Hallelu-
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake. Hallelu-
Trail of Tears and Horseshoe Lake. Hallelu-
trusting things beyond mistake. Hallelu-

We were in love. We were in love.
Palisades! Palisades! Palisades
I can wait. I can wait.

Lamb of God, we sound the horn.
Hallelujah!
To us your ghost is born.
Hallelu-

I can't explain the state that I'm in
The state of my heart, he was my best friend
Into the car, from the back seat
Oh admiration in falling asleep
All of my powers, day after day
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed
Deep in the tower, the prairies below
I can tell you, the telling gets old
Terrible sting and terrible storm
I can tell you the day we were born
My friend is gone, he ran away
I can tell you, I love him each day
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged
I can tell you I love him each day
Terrible sting, terrible storm
I can tell you...



All comments from YouTube:

jules

sufjan stevens could literally write a song that is 100% him strumming guitar and singing "I love men I love men I love men I love men" for five minutes and y'all would still be like "wow he's such good friends with his fellow heterosexual men!!!"

cordell longstreath

Sufjan get the cooty

Marta Sofia

So there IS bomosexual subtext in this song!! Good, i had a feeling it did

cordell longstreath

@lions for scottie years ago I disagreed with what you just said but I'm finally able to accept it. Kind of dumb how we react to what doesn't confirm our reality

lions for scottie

haikat4 why do straight ppl want to claim gay art so badly idk how much clearer the lyrics and title alone have to be to make it obvious this is abt the gay experience growing up

MAXIMUS

Travis Leader the song is about HIS best friend at the time. He confirmed it in a live performance

12 More Replies...

Haven Pukey

The predatory wasp is a symbol for internalized homophobia thanks for coming to my TED talk

Pablo Rojas

I always thought it was a symbol of the church. Even though Sufjan has been a devout Christian his whole life, he still struggles with the oppressive nature of its policies especially towards homosexual acts. And there are a lot of Christian references scattered throughout this song (bit 7 times by the wasp for example)

littleferrhis

Wasp: White Anglo Saxon Protestant

NooRiePie

i saw a video from a live show where he narrated the incident from his childhood. The links on bottom, it's around 18-minute mark. I honestly can't say if it's about internalized homophobia or describes a sexual or romantic encounter because kids do show affection to each other by kissing or stroking. I mean I don't think as a young kid you necessarily see that act as something sexual you know. But who knows. The only thing that actually makes me doubt my interpretation is when he says, ' we were in love. ' https://youtu.be/dM0Jphnp3hw

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