WE SAW A FARMHOUSE BURNING DOWNMy husband received this letter into The Red Hand Files from Jay from Toronto, Canada,

I have been obsessed with YouTube footage of Joni Mitchell’s beautiful performance of Coyote with Roger McGuinn & Bob Dylan at Gordon Lightfoot’s house and have often wondered what you’d think.

Nick asked me to post it and tell you that he loves this brilliant piece of footage. We both do! Bob Dylan so internal and Joni Mitchell unleashing her feverish cascade of words, as the song propels forever forward on its peripatetic journey. Joni Mitchell is so effortlessly and epically talented and quite possibly the greatest songwriter of her generation. Jay, we love this song and this wonderful performance. Love Susie. x



No regrets, coyote

We just come from such different sets of circumstance

I'm up all night in the studios

And you're up early on your ranch

You'll be brushing out a brood mare's tail

While the sun is ascending

And I'll just be getting home with my reel to reel

There's no comprehending

Just how close to the bone and the skin and the eyes

And the lips you can get

And still feel so alone

And still feel related

Like stations in some relay

You're not a hit and run driver, no, no

Racing away

You just picked up a hitcher

A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

We saw a farmhouse burning down

In the middle of nowhere

In the middle of the night

And we rolled right past that tragedy

'Til we turned down to some road house lights

Where a local band was playing

Locals were up kicking and shaking on the floor

And the next thing I know

That coyote's at my door

He pins me in a corner and he won't take no

He drags me out on the dance floor

And we're dancing close and slow

Now he's got a woman at home

He's got another woman down the hall

He seems to want me anyway

Why'd you have to get so drunk

And lead me on that way

You just picked up a hitcher

A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

I looked a coyote right in the face

On the road to Baljennie, near my old home town

He went running thru the whisker wheat

Chasing some prize down

And a hawk was playing with him

Coyote was jumping straight up and making passes

He had those same eyes just like yours

Under your dark glasses

Privately probing the public rooms

And peeking through keyholes in numbered doors

Where the players lick their wounds

And take their temporary lovers

And their pills and powders

To get them through this passion play

No regrets, coyote

I just get off up aways

You just picked up a hitcher

A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

Coyote's in the coffee shop

He's staring a hole in his scrambled eggs

He picks up my scent on his fingers

While he's watching the waitresses' legs

He's too far from the Bay of Fundy

From appaloosas and eagles and tides

And the air conditioned cubicles

And the carbon ribbon rides

Are spelling it out so clear

Either he's going to have to stand and fight

Or take off out of here

I tried to run away myself

To run away and wrestle with my ego

With this, this flame

You put here in this Eskimo

In this hitcher

In this prisoner

Of the fine white lines

Of the white lines on the free, freeway

Joni Mitchell