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There are many things to like about Tom Waits’s “Downtown Train,” but I keep thinking of the lines “You wave your hand and they scatter like crows/They have nothing that will ever capture your heart.” Because, indeed, if you go downtown in any major American city — or any city anywhere, come to think of it — you’ll spot those girls. The ones with the claws that want to latch onto something lucrative and sensational.
And I don’t mean to be unkind in saying so, but you know the type. The ones who think that someone else can come along and solve all their problems with enough cash or a flashy automobile or admission to the right scenes. “Be careful of them in the dark” because in the dark you can’t see their eyes looking for the next sucker coming down the street. They can’t capture your heart because they haven’t any of their own. Just hands that clutch and hips that curve just so. “They try so hard to break out of their little worlds,” and you’re another rung on that ladder.