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Posts Tagged ‘lyrics’

In 1975 Morris Albert had a number one hit with a song in the United States he originally recorded as a chart topper in his native Brazil the year before. The song, schmaltz of the highest order, was so damn popular it was covered almost immediately by a whole host of performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Caetano Veloso, Frank Sinatra, Engelbert Humperdinck, Shirley Bassey, Glen Campbell, The O’Jays, Sarah Vaughan, and Johnny Mathis. Despite its success it is also considered one of the worst songs ever, probably because it seems so fraught with empathy and yet can’t manage to articulate that emotion.

But a funny thing happened on the road to creating a cento poem when I decided to strip away the nonsense in this melancholy love song: turns out the poem isn’t about lost love at all, its defiant, angry rebuff.

nothing more

trying to forget
love
for all my life

I wish
I never met you

never come again
never

again in my heart
again in my life
again in my arms

I may never hear the song Feelings again (please!) without this newfound respect for the kernel of truth hidden within. What I had assumed all these years was some poor simp whining over being dumped is actually a firm stance against them-what-done-em-wrong.

Bonus Cento Time!

I was curious to know if, in the original Spanish, the song was somehow less banal. I found the lyrics to Sentimientos, ran them through Babelfish, corrected for some obvious grammatical issues and… nope, just as sappy. But! There were different words to play with, and once I removed all those meddlesome “feelings,” discovered a more down-to-earth narration of love-gone-south.

tell me
how to forget

tears
suffering

tell me
because now I know
the idiot that I am

tell me
already

it’s not right
because, idiot that I am
I know

you will never tell me

Ah, the delicate torture that is the silent treatment once you’ve been spurned. You know you’re in the wrong, but you need to hear it! Okay, great. Now I can quietly go about forgetting all about the original (and the original original) for another good, long stretch.

Right, on to other Poetry Friday pursuits. Or, Right On! to other Poetry Friday pursuits! It’s all in the inflection. This week Gathering Books isn’t just the Poetry Friday host, it’s Myra’s birthday so its a poetic birthday party!

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Of course there’s a story behind it, and facebook is involved.  Ever notice how it doesn’t seem like you can go a day without hearing or saying something about facebook?

So my friend Mikki posted a lolcat that someone tagged to make reference to West Side Story.  This prompted comments, one of which was someone’s take on the Jet’s song, which I took as a throw-down to write a parody of Cool.  But could I let it go?  Could I stop from thinking about other song parodies while I should have been working on my thesis?  Would I be posting, would I have written my favorite couplet (this week) if I could have let it go?

Thinking about cats, out on the town, hiding from the bulls (police), and about the song Tonight, and then when I was in the doctor’s office waiting I came up with the following:

the bulldogs won’t arrest us
and calicoes in estrus
will caterwaul our names

Man, it isn’t everyday you get an opportunity to rhyme the word estrus. For context, here’s the whole of what I wrote in the waiting room.

tonight, tonight,
we’ll roam the streets tonight
tonight we’ll be perched on the walls

tonight, tonight
we’ll chase the rats tonight
perhaps even cough up hairballs

tonight
the bulldogs won’t arrest us
and calicoes in estrus
will caterwaul our names

and though we’ll fight
we’ll hiss and spit ’til morning light
tonight!

Someone with more time and ambition than I currently have should make an all-cat version of West Side Story.  I’ll be more than happy to help with the libreto.

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