Nhoj Morley


Chapter 8: Soupline to Paradise

Lyrics by Frank Trust


Back in the early '80's, my pal Frank (alias Sir Bubbles Varoom) had a fascination with abandon car plants in Detroit and books and stories about the Depression. He took polaroid photos of rusty buildings around Zug Island and then headed to the local bar to get more smashed. All that stopped when he fell through a rotted floor and filled his legs with pins and pain. Except for the getting smashed part. He favored little red brick bars near the Rouge River plants around shift change time. He liked to watch the workers. He learned to emulate their walk and dressed like them. It was one phase of a serious long-term Hemmingway-complex.
Along the way, he wrote song lyrics. They were mostly bits and pieces on cocktail napkins or little promotional flyers from a bank lobby. I would collect them when possible from the floor of his car. That way I could do what he never did… finish something. I stitched something together that finally met with his approval. He insisted it be clumsy and ungrammatical because that is how they talk down at the little red brick bar. I can tidy it up now because he can't stop me.


How can we be so cruel?
How can we be so kind?
Perpetually out in the cold
Life, the eternal soupline
In this land of profit and pressure
of thrown down hands
of demigods and New Deals
Receive yourself on the soupline to paradise
Hope filed away in a back-logged appeal
I'm that little guy, never did make it
to the American pie-sky
Who's gonna shape it?
The tickling fingers of the invisible hand?
The created Creator with the unknown plan?
We're a board brain trust with cold hard numbers
of the common man and the union people
I never bargained for you
You never bargained for me
Let's write it off as manifest destiny
Work the line! Stamp it! Shape it!
Cold polled steel! For product and progress!
Mother's breast-assembly line-animal machine
Now don't confuse it!
Soupline- so benign Soupline- so sublime
Mechno-facture each artifact as a prayer
and a hymn to our steel sky
Anything but necessity such are the lust of the mind
Anyway exceptional means can be bought can be sold can be mine
All of our wants and all of our needs Manufactured without soul
For that I live and that I breathe for that I have lost all control
Now that we're here, nothing is clear but the rat race to the end
of the soupline
It's Paradise.