What do these lyrics mean in "The Nurse Who Loved Me"?
It's pretty obvious that the song The Nurse Who Loved Me by A Perfect Circle is about an institutionalized person who is convinced that his nurse is in love with him. However, there's always been one line that I never understood. In the 2nd verse, Maynard sings:
Say hello to all the apples on the ground.
They were once in your eyes, but you sneezed them out while sleeping.
Is this just the incoherent ramblings of a madman, or is there some meaning to this?
I can't say I have an answer, but it's possible that the phrase "apple of your eye" is related, but I can't connect the dots to sneezing and sleeping.
interesting fact, perhaps relevant to your question: A Perfect Circle covered this song. The song is originally written by Failure, released on the album Fantastic Planet
Considering this is Maynard, he's more than likely the only one that knows the "true" meaning of the song (unless he talks about it in an "interview" I missed.) He typically leaves his audience to make of it as they wish, hence his primary band name Tool (use the music as a tool for yourself.)
The general story of the song is about a patient in and out of a manic mental state and his delusional fascination in his caring nurse. The music is atmospheric, calm and meditative giving off the feeling of fantasy and imagination. Ultimately, the song is very dark with strong metaphoric value Maynard accomplishes so well.
Within the first verse, the patient fancies the integrate patterns of the rug. "Say hello, to the rugs topography." He assaults the nurse and pushes her face to the floor to visualize how she and the rug look together. "It holds quite a lot of interest with your face down on it."
After doing this, medical staff sedate him and take him away, "Say hello to the shrinking in your head." When the sedative starts taking effect, the patient is fighting against it and is soon unconscious. "You can't see it, but you know it's there so don't neglect it."
The chorus focuses on his misconceived love for the nurse and his love for medicine. "I'm taking her home with me," is his determination to have or take the uniform wearing nurse. "All dressed in white." "She's got everything I need, Pharmacy keys," she has the key to making him feel good (love or medication?)
As nurses are typically kind and friendly at heart, the patient notices these general nurse-like acts of care and kindness as love. He's so wrapped up in his delusional love, he doesn't notice the nurses behavior with other patients. He believes he is receiving special treatment. "She acts just like a nurse with all the other guys."
Within the verse in question, the patient is in a manic imaginary state."Say hello to the apples on the ground" is in reference to the nurses red pool of blood (roughly the size of an apple.) He see's the nurse as an "apple of my eye." She is deceased or unconscious as the red "apple" pools of blood accumulate from her nose onto the rug. "They were once in your eyes, but you sneezed them out while sleeping." The nurse has lost her life including everything she was or had (including the patient,) "Say hello to everything you've left behind." The death of the nurse is beautiful and important as she can no longer reach for it. " It's even more a part of your life now that you can't touch it."
"I'm taking her home with me, all dressed in white" He snaps from his fantasy to see the nurse bringing him love (or medication?) "She's got everything I need"
The multiple vocal layers within the 3rd chorus indicates an alternate reality the patient is experiencing. (Voices in my head.)
The final verse is the very same as the first, "Say hello to the rugs topography." The patient receives medication from the nurse and the love cycle continues.
Largely agree with Jasper, but I think "Say hello to the rug's topography" is the patient himself being held down, rather than him holding down the nurse.
"Considering this is Maynard"....this is a cover song, so Maynard is likely guessing like you and me. I never read this song as about an assault at all, in any version. I think of the "apples" as things that he lost, his kids perhaps, due to a heroin addiction that had him nodding out for some years.