Nina Simone/Carmina Masoliver
The Other Woman
If you look at the plump cushions on her bed, you will see
black smudges tucked between the patterns of the fabric,
as she twists telephone wires between her fingertips,
like an umbilical cord she can’t afford to cut. I smell her
on your shirt, as we dance under lilac skies and I dig my nails –
brittle from soap suds – into your back, so I can feel you’re still there.
Each piano key is a reminder of your fingers pressed into her,
and my voice quivers with each footstep, as we rediscover each other.
The gentle sounds, slow and long, build up as she fades away,
knowing it’s no way to spend a life, waiting for the door to sound.
The tinkle of the keys mirroring your laugh, your kiss,
your smile that says this is so much better than a dream,
some fantasy to make love and leave with a woman so easy to deceive;
it is not I who is fooled here, at home with wilting flowers and unclean floors.
When the music stops, we may not always fix the way the record skips,
but I know I’ll always have your lips to greet me in the morning.
Ain’t Got No, I Got Life
On the road, you drive forward
towards life, shoulders swaying,
fingers tapping to a beat
harder than your heart
against your chest, and breath
stronger than organ pipes
when you sing, you can feel it.
Freedom, indefinable, but you taste it
in the words you let out
like cadged birds, which have been
nesting in the bones of your ribs,
released into wild bramble bushes,
to pick blackberries, run in fields
barefoot, limbs flailing, pockets empty,
smile spread like a sunset, a kite
without strings, at one with the world
as it turns on its axis and you cartwheel,
blood rushing you’re your head,
the whole world in your hands.
People more appalled by a blaspheme,
supposedly, than strange fruit hanging from trees.
So, she speeds it up, because we just can’t keep
waiting, repeating history like a loop pedal.
Oh, you’ll applaud to the up-tempo rhythms, the jaunty style
and showbiz smile, but beyond that you’ll hear the tragedy
in her voice and she’ll squeeze the laughter from your lungs –
think this is funny, do you? Let the words fizzle away because
this is a show tune, but the show hasn't been written for it, yet.
The white world won’t fund the plot line, won’t admit that black lives
matter, when it’s a fact that since the sixties there’s been more
Medgar Evers and we’ve just replaced Alabama with South Carolina,
bombs with guns. Still black bodies, still bloody leaves.
And with police brutality on the rise, just look me in the eyes
as you say we’re equal now, when the KKK still exist,
still persist that they’re not racist, don’t preach hatred,
yet say their skin is superior, that it is their right.
Put the record on again, hear it crackle.