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JC Watson

The Gipsy Kings Play Songs of Love

And never did she give so much thanks
as when she heard them—
for their despoiling of her intact spirit,
broken open in the ordinary store
where one could listen for no money down;
the best things in life are free.

Love. She'd had such pride in it.
She knew it. It was the one thing
she knew, the subatomic particles,
the poisons, the prisons, the black holes
at three in the morning. Only this
had she missed: abandon. To that place
where the woman is the man
and the man is also the woman. Where
in their enthrallment they ought to be afraid
for their lives. To that place where
the sheer joy of it splits a body open.

No, abandon had never entered her imagination,
so that when she heard this music,
she knew it had come from a long way off.
From a place where when a man dances
with a woman, his hand impressed upon
her naked back, he burns a brand between
those sorrowing shoulder blades which until
that moment have balanced so delicately
the things women carry when they are not loved.

It is not the priest who marries them. He
is the embroidery. It is the stories, those of love,
bestowed and severed, which are rushing all at once
from the graves of their ancestors, through the feet
of the Gipsies—stories which twist
about their legs so they must dance as they play,
twirl about their spines so they must bend
toward the dead.

Stories—the seeming dualities of sex and suffering,
of death and love—how all these are one.
How we can die of love. And the nights
cannot contain us; the days cannot keep
us from the doors and windows. How in
that foreign world there are the joyous who walk
content through thorns into fire.

From this place the Gipsy Kings sing
their songs of love. They cannot be blamed
for her undoing, cannot restore her innocence
which beckons but does not compel. No.
From that ordinary store she rushes,
burning, split, transformed.

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