"Cemetery Polka" as written by and Tom Waits....
Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon, independent as a hog on ice
He's a big shot down there at the slaughterhouse
Plays accordion for Mr. Weiss

Uncle Biltmore and Uncle William
Made a million during World War Two
But they're tightwads and they're cheapskates
And they'll never give a dime to you

Auntie Mame has gone insane
She lives in the doorway of an old hotel
And the radio is playing opera
All she ever says is "Go to hell"

Uncle Violet flew as a pilot
And there ain't no pretty girls in France
Now he runs a tiny little bookie joint
They say he never keeps it in his pants

Uncle Bill will never leave a will
And the tumor is as big as an egg
He has a mistress, she's Puerto Rican
And I heard she has a wooden leg

Uncle Phil can't live without his pills
He has emphysema and he's almost blind
And we must find out where the money is
Get it now before he loses his mind

Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon, independent as a hog on ice
He's a big shot down there at the slaughterhouse
He plays accordion for Mr. Weiss

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

Cemetery Polka song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI interpret this as a crack at the everyday family. The whacky circus music that accompanies these lyrics make me think of my family, I think we can all relate somewhat. No family has really got it all together. Great track!!
    mrsiegalon July 16, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIndependent as a hog on ice suggests an incompetent person desperately asserting their independence and flailing around in a panic as a result.

    to me anyway

    I love it because it is both a superb piece of on-the-nail characterisation in a few words and yet also elusive enough to create breathing room for the listener to get creative and add their own interpretation.

    that defines good writing for me
    memorybabeon February 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAre hogs on ice independent? I think It's "Uncle Fillmore and Uncle William", not "Biltmore"
    Snuffyon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the hog thing means that he's dependent on others. It seems like a hog would have a hard time moving around on ice by itself.
    Phweemaggoton March 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's a southern idiom. There's a dictionary book of sayings and expressions actually named "Hog on Ice".
    ikefoxon February 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"He's a big shot down there at the slaughterhouse
    He plays accordion for Mr. Weiss!"

    Geatest boast anyone could ever make. Period. LOL
    Maybe my favorite TW min. and a half or so song. He does have quite a few.
    voltafan101on August 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great song. Does anybody know if the title is a reference to Jacques Brel/Scott Walker's song "Funeral Tango"?
    LordRobboon December 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSaying someone is independent as a hog on ice is like saying someone is pristine of a singer as Tom Waits.
    LargeWhaleson February 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMagnificent! I love how so many characters in Tom Waits' songs have glass eyes or wooden legs.
    Isaakon March 12, 2012   Link

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