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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2021, 20:15
by Steve
It started, as all good stories do, with a cat. Not my cat, you understand, not even mine to use (is any cat ever anybody's, except its own?), and not even DotS's cat, although the cat has moved into DotS's home and is kindly allowing her to still live there, provided, of course, that she adheres to the rules that bind her there.

Bubba hasn't mentioned his real address, and is going by a false alias, but let's call him Bubba for the sake of this story. He has a beautiful white coat. He fancies himself as a bit of a music critic, and, sadly, his opinion of Joanna's work is something of a reflection of Joanna's towards cats. He will tolerate Jackrabbits, and Instrumental 1999. He was very dismissive of Peach Plum Pear. I thought he might accept Does Not Suffice (In California Slight Refrain), and he seemed prepared to let it slip by ... until those final few seconds with the feedback and dissonance.

"Is he packing up his map of Mozambique?", I asked, in an allusion to a dimly remembered song, which, after a bit of googling, I (re)discovered was Carole Bayer Sager's 1977 work, You're Moving Out Today. (I'd post a link, but it's honestly not recommended).

It did, however, set me thinking about how that song and Newsom's compare, and contrast. Both are about the departure of one partner from a shared home. But where CSB's song is humorous, and tells of the departure of a male partner who has singularly failed to grasp the responsibilities of cohabiting, JN's is the departing female's lament that she has tried as hard as she could. In both cases, the songs include a list of possessions that are being removed from the home - including the aforementioned map of Mozambique. For some reason, Joanna forgets to mention this particular article in her inventory, although I am sure that, like most people, she would have had such a map.

I was inspired to throw together a quick pastiche of a couple of verses of Does Not Suffice, trying to work a 'map of Mozambique' in somewhere.

I then essayed a more comprehensive version. I topped up my knowledge of Portugal's former colonies and territories throughout the world, mainly derived from a youth misspent in philately, by resorting to Wikipedia, that fount-of-all-knowledge, and was eventually able to draft the revised version below. Only one line survived from my first attempt*. I kept as much of the scansion and rhyme of Joanna's words as I could, but sacrificed virtually all of the meaning.

DotS might record a guitar version of it. It is yet to to be seen whether Bubba remains reclining, or votes with his rather sharp, fine white feet:

IN SEARCH OF SPICE (Slight Requiem for the Portuguese Empire)

I will pack up my pretty dresses Lourenzo Marquès.
I will box up the Malukus my high-heeled shoes.
A sparkling ring, for every finger grand Angola, and small Cabinda,
I'll put away, and hide from view like Tete and Diu.

Coats Coasts of bouclé Funchal, jacquard Cape Verde and cashmere , Mombassa;
cartouche and tweed Saint Tome & Prince, all silver shot and Kionga
and everything Zambezia that could remind you
of how easy I was not my time in East Timor.

I'll tuck away my gilded buttons Ponta Delgado;
I'll bind my silks in shapeless bales give Macao to the Chinese;
Wrap it all on up, in reams of tissue Daman and Goa, to Mrs Gandhi,
and then I'll kiss you, sweet farewell Brazil.

You saw me rise to our occasion empire status,
and so deny the evidence can’t deny me Madeira.
Caused me to burn, and twist claim and run,
and grimace against you paint all the maps pink,
like something caught of Quelimane
on a barbed-wire fence and Mozambique.

Now, you can see me fall back here Then Portuguese Congo, Guinea,
Redoubled and Socotra,
full bewildered Nyassa Co and amazed Angra.
I have gotten into some terrible trouble Inhambané and little Dadra,
beneath your blank and rinsing gaze Were mine to keep, but now are gone.

It does not suffice
for you to say I am a sweet girl still have Horta,
or to say you hate to see me sad Spain may give me Olivença
because of you they won’t.
It does not suffice,
to merely lie beside each other sit inside my borders,
as those who love each other without empires do.

I picture you me, rising up in the morning:
stretching out on your across boundless bed seas,
beating a clear path to the shower East Indies,
scouring yourself red spreading lusophonia.

The tap of hangers lack of col’nies,
swaying in the closet showing in my atlas
unburdened hooks books,
and empty drawers failed local wars
and everywhere I tried to love rule you
is yours again independent,
and only yours bar the Azores.

la lalalala ...

* The last line of the third verse.

Joanna's words (retained)
Joanna's words (deleted)
Added words

Edit: Added "in" in line 8. Toyed with the idea of changing "to keep" to "back then" but decided against it.