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drew piston


gun shy

she said she's always been a bit gun shy
he said he'd never been to rome
they might have both said something
about a midnight bust

so he took her out to breakfast
at an all night cafe
they both drank black coffee
to hide a weakness

she'd give a couple fingers
for a chance to kill his second wife
but her baby's stuck in san quentin
and he'll be there all his life
i'll be there all my life

she found a job in jersey
hocking jewelry
she moved into a high rise
with an honest boy

then she drove to california
just to get closer to the sun
but she kept finding his likeness
in her magazines

she sold her el camino
tattooed another her tear
he never showed up in mexico
cause he was doing ninety years
i'm doing ninety years

so please stop writing letters
about your life in sunnyvale
cause i'm living eight by eight now
playing chess by the u.s. mail

she'd trade a couple cowboys
for a working switchblade knife
she loved a man in omaha
and then she took his life
then she took my life

sidekick rime

he’s a little boy from carolina
with a fire breathing foe
he’s got sneakers made of iron
and an odd number of toes
and i ain’t nothing but a shipwreck
i can’t even leave my bed
there’s a bird hanging round my neck
but it still isn’t quite dead

the parking lot is ankle-deep in teardrops
and nobody is wearing any clothes
and if the whole world burned round
i would only slow you down
so let me go
he arranged a final showdown
at the cemetery gate
fought his enemy at sundown
to a gruesome stalemate

i just sat there in my treetop
and chewed my useless tongue
and cleaned the mess up with a floor mop
and told him he had won
the parking lot is ankle-deep in teardrops
and nobody is wearing any clothes
and if the whole world burned round
i would only slow you down
so let me go


ghost town waltz #1

jackson has left us behind
went away in a new suit of clothes
said he’ll never be back to see us
except for funerals
he’s found a girl that will love him forever
he’s found a girl that will mend all his pants
she is young she is shy and she sings lullabies
as we gather here
and drink to the weather

edna can’t sleep for her money
and she hides it all under her bed
and she hasn’t been seen for decades
there are some who will swear she is dead
but the little greek boy he denies it
he comes round with her bread every morn
and there’s a light on all night though it’s not very bright
as we gather here
and drink to the weather

maury won’t stop his talking
about a land that lies over the sea
and no one ever stops to listen
though he speaks to whomever he sees
about a town that is small but it’s wealthy
and no one there ever grows old
there’s a band that will play come each holiday
as we gather here
and drink to the weather

and god can’t be reached for the winter
they say he sleeps like a great grizzly bear
and when he wakes up his temper is fearful
and there are spiders that live in his hair
but for now there is no one to watch us
and so we’ll all sin like sailors on leave
and if the devil sits down i will buy him a round
as we gather here
so come here and sit down beside me
and whisper your name in my ear
you’re a pretty young thing that i’ll keep on a string
as we gather here
and drink to the weather


old man dancing


dawn breaks over the clouds break over the waves break over me
and my bones break over the thought of spring
and i tripped today on an ottoman because i can’t see out
from where my glasses scratched against your sharpened cheek bones
dawn breaks over the clouds break over the waves break over me
and my bones break over the thought of spring
and i tripped today on a garden gnome because i can’t see out
from where my glasses scratched against your sharpened cheek bones

i am waiting to see what you’ll say
and the furniture’s been rearranged and there’s blood on the floor
i am waltzing in the geriatric ward

one day
i cut off both my hands and let my cards fall into the green sea
and honesty gave my last regrets to a woman in birmingham
who turned them into wings and flew to heaven

i am waiting to see what you’ll say
and the telephone’s a silent stone whose whiskers touch the floor
i am waltzing in the geriatric ward


something to see


i got a call from a southern whore
it’s been twenty years since i set foot
out my front door
she’s going to teach my to dance i’m going to buy her a gun
we’re going to fly all night and shoot down the sun
shoot down the sun

i burned down the cornstalk maze
but i can go back to howard’s
in just three days

got a boot for a wallet got a hole in my heart
i got sixteen kids
i can’t tell them apart
i got a call from a midwest belle
so i left my tent
at the gates of hell

she’s going to cut my hair we’re going fly all night
i’m going to cook her breakfast with all of my might
with all my might
got a bottleful of whiskey and a piece of milquetoast
got an outstanding debt
with the holy ghost

i left home when i was just a boy
now i’ve shrunk to the size
of a wind-up toy
and if you come crawling back
i’ll be in the graveyard shack
looking for my mama on tv
she’ll be something to see

got a bottleful of whiskey and a piece of milquetoast
got an outstanding debt
with the holy ghost
got a boot for a wallet got a hole in my heart
i got sixteen kids
i can’t tell them apart

and if you come crawling back
i’ll be in the graveyard shack
waiting for the reaper to get to me
or something to see


missus margee


sarah's got nothing but high hopes 
and a mix tape of mine
she sits all day at the window 
writing mail

i've got a kettle of whiskey 
in case you drop in for tea
i'll tell you all about my dream of twelve fingers
and playing guitar

well i'm sorry missus margee
i'm not all i's supposed to be
twenty years since idaho
they let me out

so buy me a coyote and eyepatch
so no one will look straight at me
hire a squad car to track down that lawyer
we scared away

send all the women to utah
where they'll be safe from me
find me a job where i come home too tired
to turn on the light

well i'm sorry missus margee
i'm not all i's supposed to be
twenty years since idaho
i let you down


ghost town waltz #2


you cut your hair like a teardrop in a bar outside williamsburg
and you sent me a plain white postcard with a thumbprint so i could be sure
and a piece of road from the midwest and a joke that made me cry
you said you would not return until after i'd learned
how to catch you telling a lie

i heard how you saved a child with amature street surgery
and i knew you where good with your hands but not quite to that degree
and i heard how they ran you for mayor and how the ballots all came pouring in
and how the moon was bone-white when you left in the night
and you were out on the road once again

then you woke up in san francisco where even the whores all have wings
and you ate at a cafe called howards where the waitresses treat you like kings
you climbed up a hill in the daytime and looked to me over the sea
and it's a long way around but if you don't touch the ground
you'll be back in time to sleep next to me

so i'm going to love you
just like the dawn
come back home

the beer here is flatter than kansas and the coffee is weaker than france
i remember the weight of your hair and the manner in which you would dance
and a piece of road from the midwest and a joke that still makes me cry
i'm baiting my nets with your old cigarettes 
to catch both you and the lie


dishes


i dreamt we piped the water down
to your tomatoes in the ground
while waiting for the water's heat
to reach a dish-washing degree

eye lag screws and pvc
a forlorn ingenuity
vestiges of letters past
vegetables out in the grass

somnambulance, the sirens
i woke before we kissed my darling
standing on the second floor
a furniture department store

i looked down to the square beneath
i felt your hair against my cheek
my remonstration was not met
with sympathy or due respect

my ghost will find you
long before i die
dressed in orange and packing

a king took me to his hotel
the cheapest one outside of hell
he stole my belt and both my shoes
his henchmen where all dressed in blue

i told them of your perfect charm
the smoothness on your upper arm
the bottle where i keep your face
impunity and my disgrace

my ghost will find you
long before i die
dressed in orange and packing
a bird dog at its side


coney island candy


i’m just like coney island candy sickly sweet and sugar bad
i’m just like coney island candy half as cheap and twice as bad

now the car is full of angry men
a dime a dozen brings them back again
i just been wondering where my daughter’s been
i’m drunk enough to feel sad
mack the knife he sang a different song
i lied i’ve never been to ol’ hong kong
turns out i learned to play guitar all wrong
you were the best i ever had

i’m just like coney island candy sickly sweet and sugar bad
i’m just like coney island candy half as cheap and twice as bad

tired of songs that say that it’s all right
a boxer always wants just one more fight
a metaphor might help me sleep at night
i’m drunk enough to feel sad
a suitcase is my only friend
you should learn to play the mandolin
five hundred dollars makes me glad again
you were the best i ever had


war machine


snake for a tie and dead man's watch
drowning a mouse in a bucket of scotch
we can fly like birds we can crawl like bugs
if your mama shows up we can lie like rugs

dead man's watch and a bucket of scotch
snake for a tie with the drowning mouse
we can fly like birds we can crawl like bugs
if your mama shows up we can lie like rugs

i'm in love with the war machine
i met her at the antique show
the earth cries out and the heavens steam
when i flip the switch to make her go

snake for a tie and dead man's watch
drowning a mouse in a bucket of scotch
we can leave like women we can stay like stains
if your mama shows up we'll fall like rain

i'm in love with the war machine
i met her at the antique show
the earth cries out and the heavens steam
when i flip the switch to make her go


i, human


we piled in
paid the toll and then
crossed the state line
white bullets flying

we stopped for pie
i caught your eye
but the waitress spilled
before i could get my fill

we went to bed in the bed
of a pickup truck
by the side of highway
when it got late

took off our clothes
we were so close
my heart was on fire
when i saw the wire

and then everything clicked
your perfect charm
no need for sunscreen
no cause for alarm

then i thought of the mob
the torches bright
black cars and g-men
coming through the night

real secret
i'll never tell
but if you tell me
i'll take it well


lullabye


don't play this song for kids or rats
don't ever call me peter
don't trust your pop to treat you well
he only loves your mother
just ship the goods and stow the oars
and let me do the talking
we'll dance all night and in the morn
we'll marry mr. walken

i'm so glad you're here with me
you know i love you so

mary had a little lamb
it was an alcoholic
he'll only let you pet him for
a tanqueray and tonic
the little prince can fly us to
the yukon in his rocket
the anti-dote to donkey ears
is safe inside my pocket

i'm so glad you're here with me
you know i love you so

the bridge troll's head above your bed
will serve well as a warning
to anyone or anything
that hunts you ere the morning
just don't play this song for kids or rats
don't ever call me peter
don't trust your pop to let you live
he only loves your mother

it's true i love you dearly but I hope you never know
my name


arson


i saw you last night in the shadows
of the orange and red arson glow
i made a crow noise as loud as i dared
but i fear it was lost in the snow

i followed you back to his mansion
and drugged both the hounds in their lair
climbed up the poplar and tried to catch
a glimpse of your crimson black hair

but if you do it to your place as well
then they'll never suspect

i saw him much later beside you
with nothing but trust in his eyes
and the fears and doubts that burn through one
who is much too big for her size

but if you do it to your place as well
then they'll never suspect you
or hunt the right whale
and i can still watch you and win your heart
with favors or threats in the mail

i dreamt i saw you in a thundercloud
that floats above the world
and you can hide valuables over at my house
i won't say a single word

a pony can't learn the piano
and i can never see over your head
to the throngs and masses that widen the berth
like we're freshly woken walking dead

but if you do it to your place as well
then they'll never suspect you
or hunt the right whale
and i can still watch you and win your heart
with favors or threats in the mail


yvette


yvette will never be the same
yvette will never be the same
i took a wild swing and tore the wheels off of everything
i adore
for no reason at all

i hid inside a picture frame
i hid inside a picture frame
lost myself in a painting now i’ve wound up hating all
i’ve become
for no reason at all

i set fire to your home
i set a fire to your home
i threw in my last clothespin i cut my shoulder open down
to the bone
for no reason at all

i left your picture in a lake
i left your picture in a lake
i wrote a note so god’ll know to find me in a bottle of
jimmy beam
for no reason at all

i rode off into the sun
i rode off into the sun
i lost my horse and show gun i left my girl now no one’s here
to share my stew
for no reason at all

yvette will never be the same
yvette will never be the same
i took a wild swing and tore the wheels off of everything
i adore
for no reason at all






The Monster EP


monster


i got a postman for my momma
i got a racehorse for my pop
i lived and died and I've bled inside
but i ain't never spilled a drop

there's a monster in the mirror
he mimics everything i do
he pisses on my rug and he sells me drugs
and he tells me i'm in love with you

why can't i steer clear of you
it's a cold dark rain that falls around my brain
and it won't let no sunshine through

you're the miller's black-haired daughter
you're a drunken one-man band
you're the starboard tack of the merrimac
and i just want to hold your hand

i been in the kitchen with dinah
sucking on a lemon rind
the years grow older and my heart turns colder
while i just bide my time

why can't i steer clear of you
it's a cold dark rain that falls around my brain
and it won't let no sunshine through


home


i left my wallet down in cali cause the cards all had my name
i headed up north where i belong and the sun shines just the same
i found a dog, a place to stay, and a bullet in my back
but i swapped it for two more and then i guess i hit the sack

because i woke up in a puddle of blood
but i fixed me up with some old dry leaves and a handful of mud
i got a job at the filling station where they just call me doug
but i quit after two days they didn't like me taking drugs

so now i don't eat nothing but what i kill i don't drink nothing but gin
i never call home to ma and pa they wouldn't like the state i'm in
i had a girl but i let her go about the time that things got good
she was too nice to me so i told her off like every bad man should 

now i'm home

well the werewolves don't come around no more since i shot their leader dead
you don't need a silver bullet you just got to shoot them in the head
i still go to church on sunday i'm a catholic born and bred
jesus himself he spoke to me yeah this is what he said

so now i don't eat nothing but what i kill i don't drink nothing but gin
i never call home to ma and pa they wouldn't like the state i'm in
i had a girl but i let her go about the time that things got good
she was too nice to me so i told her off like every bad man should 

now i'm home


die die


california's all i know
they buried my momma in the hot, hot sand
now she's standing outside my window
in a two-hole sheet and with a frying pan

sister tells me not to cry
and daddy's gone out to the cabaret
said every little thing will be all right
if i can just make it to my eighteenth birthday

die die die die

i wash myself in the bathroom sink
tub's full up with daddy's gin
turn on the light and watch my pupils shrink
we'll never scramble eggs again

blood stain on the kitchen floor
and now she's out running with the coyote pack
daddy's playing dress up with another whore
and the old blue dress they had to cut off of momma's back

die die

banker man comes into town
sister's wearing her push-up bra
walk in the kitchen and they both sit down
i go out to slash his tires with a cross-cut saw

momma's ghost in the old elm tree
single tear running from her eye
puts down the frying pan and says to me
son, everyone you know some day will die

die die die die


flying machine


the sidekicks all are gathered convention is in town
a cavalcade a sweet parade of lost dreams never found
where you chased me down o'er muddy ground
you wore your overalls
a wrestling match out in the grass
that ended in a draw

i walked home late last evening the fog crept through the trees
condensing there it fell through the air in drops down to the street
while 'neath open sky the ground was dry
i wish you could have seen
a lonely sight out late last night
when the rain fell from the trees

now darling
take my hand
a flying machine that i have planned
we'll build it tenderly and grand

the weathervane's a hurricane
i've loved you all along
two sailors lashed against the mast
as the storm turns into dawn

you make me float


misery


it's been so many days
it's been so long
i lost track of just how many ways
you done me wrong

but every night when the last bars close
and i've forgotten just how bellicose
you can be
i'm made of misery

i found what i had lost
but i still searched one more time
you test the breaking point
of every two by four you find

the bed is wrinkled but it's not smashed down
and i know you've been out on the town
baby
you're made of misery

i'm one heart short
and two bucks shy
i'm going to swear you off until the day i die

a roan-haired girl in this two-bit town
makes it so hard to lose what you have found
when it's misery








All songs on "Drew Piston" Ⓒ Drew Piston
All songs on "The Monster EP" are under a creative commons license