Shivers Inside
Elis Regina – MPB Especial – 1973 - DVD

Once upon a time I was accused of disappearing into my world of books and films where darkness came too soon.  Total nonsense of course.  There was music too.  But the suggestion was that I was missing out.  Total nonsense too.  Products have so much to teach us.  So many stories to tell …

Thank you.  That’s kind of you.  That was a poem about seeing Ted Hughes perform on my sixteenth birthday and being totally intimidated by his brooding presence, and the intensity of his delivery.  That was something that stayed with me for a long time.  The title – Onion Soup – is a reference to a special tea my mum prepared and for some reason Ted Hughes has always been associated in my mind with onion soup.  Don’t ask.

Okay.  I’ll finish off with a work in progress.  So this is the first and who knows possibly the last performance of my poem or rather prose poem, a paean or exercise in prosody that’s about becoming besotted with a DVD of the great Brazilian singer, Elis Regina, who was known as hurricane or little pepper.  She was a great performer, a star of the bossa nova scene, and one of the first people to popularise songs by the new generation of Brazilian artists who came through Tropicalia and those turbulent times.  I so wish I could have seen her singing.  Anyway here’s my eulogy for Elis, with apologies to Allen Ginsberg:

Elis, I've given my all and feel I'm nothing.
Elis, seven pounds and ninety nine pence
You can save on postage
I'm spending too much money.
Elis save me from myself
Let me imagine I'm in the studio too
When will you sing that song just for me?
Aguas de Marco. The one you sang with Tom.

Elis, why are my eyes filling with tears?
How come it took so long to get to know you?
I could sit in this room for hours on end and stare at the screen in the corner
The papers are so sinister and there's too much information
The technology is too much for me
And makes me want to escape
Elis the radio keeps playing a little prayer
I haven't got a hope in hell
I'm talking to myself again

Elis, the camera's so close to you
I can see every facial movement
Elis, I'm feeling sentimental
Everybody can see your eyes are dancing
What are they trying to tell me?
Your Luisao is lost in deep concentration
I can at last find space to breathe
Elis what other records do I need to order?
Elis the world's too small now. The seller knows me.

I have to ask you
When will you give up smoking?
Elis how can I run away when you light up
Elis your cigarette's burning
They wouldn't let you play now
Patti said no one can smoke like Jeanne Moreau
It occurs to me she'd never seen you
Elis I still haven't told you what you did to me when I first heard Os Argonautas

Elis I've read my Caetano
Elis I'm trying to imagine those times
Brazil there's still so much to learn
Elis when I was younger the police broke up one of my shows.
They were wearing Conflict t-shirts. I'll say nothing about that.
Elis I'm entirely serious

I'm worshipping you.
How have you managed to say so much without saying anything at all? Quaquaraquaqua. Is this correct?
Elis I'm Re-Joyce-ing
Elis I hear bossa everywhere
Elis keep singing. I love what you're doing
I listen to you every chance I get

Elis who cut your hair like Julie Driscoll's?
Elis I'm hypnotised by your performance on my television set
That necklace must weigh you down
Those secrets must get you down
I promise I won't pass them on to non-believers
Elis it's true I don't want to join the crowds or clutch glasses in noisy places, I'm short tempered and misanthropic anyway
Elis I'm telling the world about you if I can only work out how.

Thank you.  I’ll shut up now.

© 2007 John Carney