The Columbus Memoirs

Nick Toczek & Signia Alpha


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I came across America
While clearing out the cupboard in the back room
Picked it up
Opened it at New York
Streets that hadn't been dusted in years
Took out a skyscraper and lit it
Towering inferno that tasted fine
Decided to write the book

It was late spring
That morning I went to the garden and dug up the biplane
Wings that glinted in the sun
It flew better than ever before
And I determined, there and then
To take up that option on the necessary airspace
To mount a voyage of discovery

So we systematically killed off their buffalo herds
Nowadays we'd destroy their factories
Same difference

Came in low over Manhattan
Monday: built The White House
Tuesday: erected The Statue of Liberty
Refueling in a small town in the West of Ireland
"America?" repeated the man
As he passed me the last of the cans of gasoline
Sunday: played baseball and built a church
Custer's death on the evening news

Arrival is immunization, immigration, passport control
And The Committee of Un-American Activities
Departure was: cancel milk and papers
Leave front-door key with the neighbor
Switch off gas and electricity
Reports high cloud and clear weather ahead
Little sign of air turbulence
The wings glinted
Three week supply of food and drink
Landed in New Hampshire
Climbed down from the cockpit
A small step for man but

Designed a flag
Built a cabin
Learned my zip code number off by heart
Watched our civil war from the roof of The Empire State Building
Got home in time to catch the Late Late Show
Or else, I rang some friends
Party, my place
And we talked things over
Decided to call them 'dollars'

Later, we go out, buy hamburgers
The guy, he likes our money, we like his burgers
At the drive-in movie
She suggested 'color' could be changed to 'color' without a 'u'
On the way home, I said, "and 'thru' instead of 'through', OK?"
She said it sounded fine to her
So we got married
Had two kids
And decided to head west in search of gold and a new life

Thirteen stars, that was obvious, but how many stripes?
Later, we added more stars and bought Alaska, wholesale

Put an ad in The New York Times
It read
Wanted, covered wagon, two horses
Will exchange for biplane
Good flyer, only one previous owner

A hundred miles out we join up with a wagon train
It features John Wayne, RIP
And we each get twelve dollars a day as extras
Union rates in those days

And the kids died
One of fever before we'd reached the Midwest
The other in Korea

Some work in Hollywood before the depression
Made some dealing in slavery
Lost it all in a poker game

Marriage annulled
Hoboed, swept bars, bummed cigarettes and stole
Got drunk more times than I could count
Threw crates of tea into the harbor
Those were the days

I could dance as well as Fred Astaire in my youth
Do you remember Sly & the Family Stone at Woodstock?
Far out!
Do you remember the Alamo?
Too much!
Do you remember who cut down the cherry tree and never told a lie?
Groovy, baby!

Watergate, and the ways the wings glinted in the sun
Do you remember all of that?

I won a Purple Heart in Vietnam
Killed children and mainlined
Swore allegiance and swore, and still hate Puerto Ricans
Ecology, cosmology
Walt Whitman's white beard, and the collective guilt
I was with Lincoln when he okayed the dropping of the H Bomb on Cuba
We drove out the British
Imported apples and horses and god
Marketed tobacco and coffee and black musicians

I rode pillion with Pancho Villa on a Harley Davidson 74
Paid for by the CIA
By day, we dealt in drugs and guns
By night, bugged and burgled by Presidents
We slept beneath the Star Wars
Dreaming of our Nazi past
To wake up one day beside James Dean
Were with him still when he died of AIDS

And we were waiting on the quayside
Whenever they shipped in the zipped-up
Handsome, homecoming hero stiffs

Were cheering when they lowered the last of the batch
Into oceans of empty rhetoric
We buried Buddy Holly in a jukebox

My motto was: 'the only good Injun's a dead one'
We used to sing all the time
Penny whistle, a banjo, a guitar, a drum
Proud songs that made tall men

I remember it all as if it were yesterday
"Yes," I said to him, "America!"
And climbed up into the cockpit
The wings just glinted

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Written by: Nick Toczek

Lyrics © DistroKid

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