Washed my face in the rivers of empire
Made my bed from a cardboard crate
Down in the city of quartz
No news, no new regrets
Tossed a Susan B. over my shoulder
And prayed it would rain and rain
Submerge the whole western states
Call it a last fair deal
With an American seal
And corporate hand shake

Take the story of carpenter mike
Dropped his tools and his keys and left
And headed out as far as he could
Past the cities and gated neighborhoods
He slept ‘neath the stars
Wrote down what he dreamt
And he built a machine
For no one to see
Then took flight, first light
Of new morning

Lyrics submitted by twitty

Sunken Waltz Lyrics as written by Joseph Burns John Convertino

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Sunken Waltz song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentwalking away from the city life... transcention
    j.enslowon January 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was featured on NPR with Joey Burns talking about it. It's about the connection between finding a space in the sprawling urbanization of Tucson and finding a more metaphorical space in life.
    Carpenter Mike is an actual person Burns knew growing up who built and lived in a treehouse outside of the city.
    bocmaximaon January 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone know what a Susan B. is?
    xdvron March 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts a dollar coin. She was on the first $1 coin the US minted.
    kmk_natashaon March 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is awesome. yeah, susan b. anthony.
    xxblackoctoberxxon May 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOKOK: this is my interpretation of the song's three paragraphs.

    1st: the nation that the Protagonist of the song lives in, the USA, is an empire (and he dislikes this). Although it is an empire of wonders and amazing wealth, the Protagonist does not share its benefits (and he dislikes this).

    2nd stanza: the Protagonist is filled with regrets for the state of the Empire, and perhaps the world, and this not a new sentiment. The Protagonist then discards his worldly posessions. He wishes that the Empire would be destroyed, as if by God, because this is what his country deserves. He believes that, because the Empire no longer gives any "fair deals", the (fair) destruction of his nation would be the last fair thing that would ever happen to it. He believes that the strength and influence of corporations have caused the Empire to decline ethically.

    3rd: This is the actual "story". The first and second stanzas only describe what it is about, and how to interpret its meaning. The story is about a working-class American who became disenchanted with the state of the USA, and left society to follow his ideals.
    FeroxSenecaon August 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think 'City of Quartz' is probably a reference to Mike Davis' book about Los Angeles and what he beleives will become of it. This seems to tie in with what i think the song is ultimately about: a man who dislikes what he sees and chooses to reject a life in the city to find a meaningful one elsewhere
    getcarteron May 06, 2012   Link

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