On Poetry and Culture Shock

Joni Mitchell

I can find no explanation to why Joni Mitchell isn’t more famous; maybe she was as famous as she deserved in other countries, not Spain. ON the topic of art made by women, a teacher of mine once taught me that the problem is not that art by males is considered superior, but that it is considered universal. A man’s experience is a universal experience; a woman’s experience is most definitely female. Whatever the case, I think this lyrics by Joni Mitchell tell the other half of the story just as well as her two male equivalents, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. It actually feels like hypothetical female bits of dialogue, if Leonard Cohen’s songs had such a thing (and if you change the love to desire). I’ve edited out a bit that doesn’t translate well.

Again and again the same situation
For so many years
Tethered to a ringing telephone
In a room full ot mirrors
A pretty girl in your bathroom
Checking out her sex appeal
I asked myself when you said you loved me
Do you think this can be real?

You’ve had lots of lovely women
Now you turn your gaze to me
Weighing the beauty and the imperfection
To see if I’m worthy
Like the church
Like a cop
Like a mother
You want me to be truthful
Sometimes you turn it on me like a weapon though
And I need your approval

Still I sent up my prayer
Wondering who was there to hear
I said send me somebody
Who’s strong, and somewhat sincere
With the millions of the lost and lonely ones
I called out to be released
Caught in my struggle for higher achievements
And my search for love
That don’t seem to cease

Otra vez lo mismo,
Tantos años
Atada a un teléfono, que suena
En una habitación llena de espejos.
Una chica guapa en tu cuarto de baño
Juzgando su atractivo.
Me pregunté si cuando me dijiste que me querías
Pensabas que era verdad.

Has estado con montones de mujeres maravillosas
Ahora te has fijado en mí
Calibrando la belleza y la imperfección
Para ver si soy digna
Como la iglesia
Como un policía
Como una madre
Quieres que sea sincera
Aunque a veces haces que se vuelva contra mí, como un arma
Y necesito tu aprobación

Da igual, sigo rezando
y me pregunto si me oye alguien
Y pido “mándame a alguien fuerte, y relativamente sincero”
Igual que los miles de solitarios
Pedí la liberación
Atrapada entre la lucha por la superación
Y la búsqueda de un amor
Que no parece que acabe.

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