Flat


After you win the draw of the draft, college leers like a step of the ratchet.
You cruise control across the plains, a flat rock metals the pedal of the microbus.
The diner guy says strip the stripes took him three years to earn or see you outside
With junkies and trash, winter on Haight, love sailed on the tide, youíre too late to catch it.
Flat broke in Fresno, fill raisin flats, stoop dust to dusk for laughing sombreros.
New Mexico father-in-law says it donít look right to sleep in their friendís drive.
You sleep in back while Mike and Don drop speed and drive back east straight thru the night.
At the lumberyard sit on the stack of photo grain paneling hung over and high.
Lucky, string tie, cheroot and boots, says come back when youíre ready to work boy.
Get in line for unemployment, sleep in, walk nights, and read Dostoyevsky.

Waiting for that long wave. Waiting for that Kondratieff wave,
Gonna swallow all these ebbs and flows and carry me home.

Could close the bar and miss the turn, how Bunky explained heís too stoned to ride,
Or get his ex-girlfriend pregnant, work warehouse nights, serve a sentence of life.
But Daveís brother went to art school out in the midwest, says youíd get in all right.
You show up with nothing to show, class mates founder, learn you can flat out work.
They really like what you thinkís crap, donít care where you came from or how you talk.
Transfer to where they said was tops, the show me state, where cliques already lock,
An entourage of acolytes, artists not too good for faculty pay.
Thomas sure talks, gives you a show. You pay him back by sleeping with his wife.
Out the window watch them haul back drilled out, blasted, peeled steel skin empty safes.
Photocopy transformation. Stay up reading Art Forum and Robbe-Grillet.

Looking for that long wave. Looking for that Kanagawa wave,
Gonna leave the fishes flopping in the mud and wash me white as foam.

Night shift sweeping factory floors, get used to it once the college kids left.
Sleep on the bench, paperback pillow, doing a double, watched oíer by union reps.
Bullshit artist with no studio, why not try computers like Larry says?
Youíre telling me oneís always true, and zeroís false? Hell that makes perfect sense.
Jean calls to say come marry me or Iím through with you. Long distance hurts like hell.
Door number two is nothing but you, so you say I do: not want to be alone.
Feet on the stove on the frozen farm, dark driving to the lab when she gets home,
Canít say enough, never before, so they give half your grant to their buddy.
All night program a database in county jail, rehab a house, have a baby.
Deputy slams his blackjack flat, laughs when you start from reading the manual.

Watching for that long wave. Watching for that everlasting wave,
Gonna clear the mussels on the rocks wide open to the moon.

For two three years in the front room on Alanís cash you build the new machine
While your toddler sees from your lap waves swim, congeal on the oscilloscope.
Crushed you donít know that working half as well as specíd is more than most would hope.
Years afterward when your kid sees a static screen she says make it move daddy.
When aliens tell your partner destroy it all through their hypnotic beam
They save you from the valley of fear to market, manufacture, sell and finance.
While your wife knows as you implode that you lost her, caused it to end badly.
Sleep on the couch, space heater glows, see clear to sketch the next best nobody wants.
Until you turn to people who knew people who saw, take the job they offer.
You separate, sell off the house, U-Haul south from flat earth and read Auster.

Wishing for that long wave. Wishing for that single life saved,
Gonna suck up all these peaks and troughs back where they belong.

Portable fan blows on the bed, shotgun duplex with no air condition.
You fake the math but microcode piecewise crackless near flat subdivision.
Bring down family, suburban tract, you invent magic lanterns for the mind.
Why stay at home and put up screens or babysit when thereís so little time?
Unfinished porch, balky furnace, ninety hour weeks, too late when you get back.
Jamie says canít plug in and talk, supposed to take days to debug the I/O.
Chip shipment slipped, hack in old parts, rewrite demos to intro at the show.
Nobody knows, see to believe, they want it all, buy the whole team intact.
You say no thanks, VCís on board both sides want to liquify, do the deal.
She says move out, A/C this time, take one chair to sit think and read Malkiel.

Hoping for that long wave. Hoping for that sacrificed grace,
Gonna sweep out across the reef and scour the barrier clean.

The time you sold the stock went up. You learn to hold. The company goes under.
Wonít get, dad said, a decent job, take the package, and wait for them to sue.
Suit up, apply, regular guy, impressed, you guess, but why would you work here?
You get the call, startup again, Weiís slant is than bite more donít off you chew.
Everyone knows itís sure to fail, with nothing to lose you can break even.
Arrogant doubt, rivals flat lie, Andy says tell them it works and keep going.
A cowbirdís egg need not be best, open its mouth soon wider than the rest.
Laughter, applause, questions, answers. After it ends what are friends walk away.
Meetings kill clocks. Pictures fall flat. Little of you goes a long way they say.
Head home at five. Dishes to do. Tuck in and read Tolkien to kids in beds.

Looking for that long wave. Looking for that unbelieved love,
Gonna rise up like a wall in the sky and shimmer in the sun.

After the sale stay for the vest. At lunch run home to build your studio.
Make stuff to use. Bend to the wood. Koji-san calls it frozen poetry.
Either itís good, land of the blind, except the likes of the few folks you know,
Or itís no good, friends are flat wrong, cast from the garden even before the fall,
Danielís hand wrote, not saved by work, weighed and measured by what the tribes agree.
Hillside alone, maybe found live, maybe found dead, maybe found not at all.
Can the torn mend? Their drugs poison. Insight canít see what hides inside the mind.
Rewrite memory of a childís pain invented by artful analysis.
Work against hope for a quick blip of waveform on the flat line of a life time.
Read Lovelock on the hot wet dry decline. Mourn collective paralysis.

Waiting for that long wave. Waiting for that unforgiving grave,
Gonna rumble thunder thump and roar and drown out my song.