by The Mars Volta
"Idle Tooth" was the original title for the song.Deep Thought
It's hard to parse out much of a narrative in this song, so we might look instead at the imagery that "idle tooth" evokes. This is totally subjective, something you might have fun with. "Tooth" might evoke animalistic violence or danger. "Idle" could boil this down to a waiting violence, a beast in the back of his cave sitting patiently. And maybe the words just sound cool together. What do you think?
"I crawl along the ceilings in your room"
How incredibly frightening. You might have seen this in today's horror movies.Deep Thought
Your instinct might be to think of movies like Trainspotting (1996), where there is a scene in which a character dreams that his dead son is crawling on the ceiling above his bed. Maybe Cedric Bixler-Zavala is accessing these pop culture memories, but there is plenty of room here for interpretation. The next lines, "the cold is spinning thread / to answer you" might make this thing crawling on the ceiling a spider spinning a message with its web. Whatever it is, it's clear from the scary imagery that this creature personifies a demon of some sort.
Toltec. Sounds mystic, doesn't it? Well, it is! The word is used to describe a mythical ancestry of the precolonial inhabitants of Central America.Deep Thought
The word Toltec means a few things, but to the traditonal cultural groups of Central America it approximates to "wise artist." Several cultures refer to Toltecness, so the definitions vary, but it's a good thing; in fact, to say you have Toltec ancestry is to elevate your status. This is like saying your dad is from Atlantis. It's awesome. Some recent authors have taken liberties with the word to stretch its meaning to include a broader spiritual connectedness.
"Contact high, inhale the vapors"
A contact high is the feeling of (typically drug) influence received just because you are near someone who is actually under the influence.Deep Thought
"Inhale the vapors," huh? People commonly attribute their contact highs to inhaling smoke exhaled by someone smoking weed, for example. There isn't anything that suggests this is true, though – exhaled smoke contains almost none of the substances that alter one's consciousness. But there is still something to be said for the idea of a contact high. Ever notice how happiness is contagious? The psychological effects of being around people acting in certain ways can be powerful, powerful enough to make you feel "altered" in some druggie way.
Here, though, the subject seems to be the vapors of the "meat" that someone left out. What exactly that meat is – a human sacrifice?? – is up to interpretation, but some crazy witchcraft action is definitely going on.
Not to be confused with a hanged man, the hangman is the executioner who hangs people.Deep Thought
What does this mean in context? It's really hard to figure out the syntax of this song's lyrics, but if read carefully it would appear that getting that to get that high from an earlier line is to "let the hangman smile for that something to shake by the roots." The hangman, a kind of grim reaper, could be smiling because you're just barely skirting death.