Saturday, December 17, 2005


Poem of the Month

I Want It Back

I lost the thread, I lost the map
It's not a feeling, it's a fact
I had it once, I was on track
Why won't it stay?

I want it back

I see you there in that magazine
You're looking smart, you sound supreme
You got such lip, you know the street
You been around, you took some heat

You mighta killed, you might be cruel
You might be stupid but we love you
You're in the paper, you're in the air
You're in my head, you're everywhere

I want it back

You're so extreme, you're feast or famine
You got one mission, just like a salmon
You said in life, mistakes are many
How come you never admit to any?

Are you for real or are you bluffing?
You really get me, famous for nothing
And every morning you got a name
In a world where people all look the same

I want it back

I can't give love, I don't know how
I write in code so you won't know
I was on drugs, I took a nap
I didn't mean it, I want it back

I dreamed again of paradise
I floated steady, it felt so nice
to sell your soul, just think of that
I'm halfway there, I want it back

I want it back

Shawn Colvin and John Leventhal

In the book Uncoupling, there is the concept regarding who has the power in the relationship. That book says it belongs to the one willing to leave. I think it exists all the time, not just before a breakup, and the relationships which last the longest are those where the power is close to 50/50 between the two.

This is a song by Shawn Colvin and I, like many who know it, believe the "it" she wants back is the power in the relationship. Some women don't ascribe to that and say the "it" is a purer sort of love or some such treacle. They're wrong. Let me explain.

The "it" she's lost is not a feeling but a fact in the first stanza. Isn't love a feeling? The next two stanzas describe the object of her affection ending with you're in my head, you're everywhere. I'm reminded of the pop tune that gets in one's head and can't be gotten rid of. These are images of loss of control (through an infatuation type love, I'll grant you).

The next two stanzas are more praise for the object of her love, then the telling stanzas. She can't give love (more evidence the "it" is not love). Then she gives excuses for the loss (I was on drugs I took a nap) and then says she didn't mean it. Mean what? Has she given some sort of offense? Most likely these are her rather pathetic excuses to her self for allowing herself to get into the position where she doesn't have the power which, she reminds us, she wants back.

The final stanza removes all doubt about the identity of the "it." She dreams again of the paradise. The floating nice feeling she wants back. But she admits that she's halfway to selling her soul. That's an allusion with a pedigree. Between the Devil (the buyer) and the seller, who has the power? Is this an image or allusion to love? No, Faust sells his soul for knowledge and power, not for love. She's halfway willing to become even more powerless, souless, in fact, and she doesn't want to go the whole way, because she does not want to be the fawning powerless half of the relationship. She wants the power back. QED.

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