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The first time I heard Arabic oud was while watching my then- belly dance hero, Rachel Brice, dance live for the first time. She performed a gooey, wonderfully slow dance to what I thought was a flamenco guitar piece. I later asked her what that guitar tune was and she had no idea what I was talking about… most likely because I had the instrument wrong.

This piece reminds me of what I loved so much about that first oud peice I heard. The musician is Saïd Chraïbi, a Moroccan oud player who recently passed. I’m in love with his musicianship and composition style.

One of my favorite Andrew Bird tunes for this morning… (it’s a cover of a Blind Willie Johnson tune with the same name.)

From “Fingerlings”

I fell in love with a bad bad man
Ever since I met him I’ve been sad sad sad

June faded into bloom
The September moon waned and grew
Your perfume haunted me long after
I saw the swing of heaven’s gate opening towards me

Luxurious in your arms
Your smile is a cool sun in the dark
Misery rejoices when you’re near
And fever, no sign of sickness
Keeps me burning down in my heart

Winter melts, she shies away
Quiet like the silence a dying star makes
I’m a jailbird to your music
A criminal in your prayer
I watch you in your sleep
Even when you’re not there

Picture this:
Your lips on my lips
A mirror has to do for now
‘Cause you vanished like a cloud

Rainbows wept color
All over the streets
When you went away
Maybe one day we’ll meet

Oh woman you’re callin’ me
Haven’t slept a wink since 1916
I wasn’t born then
But sure feels time’s been tickin’

Shadows parade outside my door
I wish we were dancing across this old floor
Car horns honkin’ down that dirty street
Wish you were yellin’ time time to wash my feet

Lipstick I’d wear for one million years
Just to stop the tears
Your eyes from fallin’, fallin’….

Antony of Antony and the Johnsons reads this poem in the background of Coco Rosie’s “Tekno Love Song”. I like this for its starkness, disconnectedness, and the atmosphere it creates in my mind. I’ve looked for more poetry by Antony and haven’t found anything I like quite so much, which makes me think that maybe it’s not an original, though I’ve been told that it is.


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