Perdido Records


Charlie Wood
Charlie Wood



©2014 Charlie Wood / VHB Publishing (BMI)


Tough to be a rat down there

Searchlights coming, third rail humming

Concrete and pig iron, awful hard to scratch at

Muck and gunk, hard to smell or taste or see

But there they are, somewhere

And there they go, somehow

Tough to be a rat down there


Humble, hand-hewn tunnels

Blasted open, overrun and undone

White tiled, twisting cylinders of cindery wind

Mechanised squeals and shrieks and hisses

Nullify any animal sounds

You better run & jump & squeeze in tight

Better tuck your tail in.  Gotta keep your head down

It's tough to be a rat down there


Inside the clattering cabinets

Jerk and buck and rumble

Clacking out swing time as they

Plunge through the subterranean labyrinth

Brisk, efficient, fully automated


While another tube squirms through the 

Gut of each captive with urgent purpose

Vital, perpetual, headed nowhere


Like sardines with the heads left on

Dead-faced, bloodless, cold

Dirty newspapers scattered across

The floor of each squalid cage

They will not look you in the eye     

They count the stops and read the signs

To know how far, and which is next, and where they are


Then bustle importantly out into the scurrying throng

Rival porcupines bristling with

Wary distaste

Ruthlessly self-contained, awful hard to make contact

Callous, careless, hard to know or feel or love

But there they are, somehow

And there they go, somewhere

Tough to be a rat down here