She’s forgotten the hot shiver
of a new hand
stroking her hair
Her skin stretched and soft
like blotting paper
no longer absorbs
the ink bruise of lovebites.
Crooning a broken record of a lovesong
she tangles her hair
for the few seconds
her body convulses
And feels the power she once had given
to the nook of broad shoulders on men.
I’ve been submitting quite a few poems to literary magazines lately, so I’ve been using this blog only to post very rough first drafts or discarded poems or poems which require substantial reworking. Apologies for that! I’m still cheekily linking this up to dVerse Poets Open Link Night, which starts later on today, because I always enjoy going there for a visit. Join me if you can!
There is a website where you can enter your year of birth and get to ‘see’ the top music tracks of each year of school, the soundtrack to your early life, as it were. Which got me thinking… what are the songs that meant most to me in my life? They weren’t necessarily the ones that were the greatest hits at the time, nor are they trendy, cool, or chosen for their artistic merit. I probably should be embarrassed to death about at least half of them. I’m certainly somewhat surprised and frustrated that they are so often related to ‘other people’, to falling in love and such things. But, like it or not, these are the songs to which I developed a personal connection and which are vivid reminders of certain periods of my life.
1982 – The Wall – Pink Floyd
Is there any school child who did not rise up and sing ‘We don’t need no education…’? Even though I actually rather liked school. At least in those early years.
1983 – Scary Monsters (Super Creeps) – David Bowie
The first single I ever bought. Then I bought the album; then some of his earlier albums. This was David Bowie of the Serious Moonlight Tour, the pastel suits, the ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Little China Girl’. But I preferred his earlier music… and his film roles in The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Hunger, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and his cameo in Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. I was completely besotted with him and convinced that he’d wait for me to grow up and we’d get married. Spoiler alert: he didn’t.
1987 – I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight – Cutting Crew
My first big love affair with a boy with turquoise eyes… who vaguely resembled the lead singer of this band and taught me nearly everything I know about skiing.
1989 – I Want to Break Free – Queen
A secret anthem during my teenage years and my difficult relationship with my parents. But also the year that all of us young people finally broke free in my country – or at least found democracy and capitalism. For better, for worse…
1990 – She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals
I was interpreting for international television crews during the first free elections in Romania. I was often the only (young) woman in a gaggle of (older) men, but I think I managed to make them toe the line. This was the song that they said reminded them of me. It reminds me of the world of possibilities that was opening up to me just then.
1992 – Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba
One of the happiest years of my life, when I did my M.Phil. in Cambridge. I learnt ballroom dancing for the first time and fell completely in love with it – this was our cha-cha music. This was also the year that I met the great love of my life. Sadly, it didn’t last very long.
2003 – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Andy Williams
The song I used to croon to my first-born, waltzing with him in a kangaroo pouch up and down the living room. How can a mother not identify with these words? ‘You’re just too good to be true/ can’t take my eyes off you/ You’d be like heaven to touch/ I wanna hold You so much/ At long last love has arrived/ And I thank God I’m alive…’
2014 – Sweet Darling – Frero Delavega
This is a really silly (and somewhat sexist) song, but it’s the one that my boys have adapted to sing to our beloved cat when she is debating whether to go outside in the wet, cold or snow: ‘Oh, my sweet darling Zoe/ don’t go!’ It perfectly captures all their humour, tenderness and silliness – and their affection for their ‘little sister’.
Will 2015 bring any memorable songs? I intend this to be a year of movement, of leaving lethargy behind and getting stuff DONE. So it’s either full circle to Pink Floyd and ‘Shine On, You Crazy Diamond’ or else… I’m rather tempted by this:
I’ve always been fascinated by doorways and gates, especially if someone is trying to close them in front of me. I cannot resist peering in and imagining what lies beyond.
In this period of celebration of 25 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of Communist regimes in most of the East Bloc countries, events which marked me profoundly and changed the course of my life, I do wonder if the landscape we espied beyond those walls quite lived up to our euphoric expectations. Or if it ever could.
But I do know that I am forever grateful that we could open those gates and discover for ourselves.
The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible.
The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind. (E. B. White)
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. (Albert Camus)
Look on every exit as being the entrance to somewhere else. (Tom Stoppard)
We are afraid of the enormity of the possible. (Emil Cioran)
This is dedicated to East Berliner journalist Thomas Otto, whom I met in late October 1989, and who had the first open and honest political discussion with me. ‘All you need is more choice…’