Not quite written on a bet, this song was an ‘assignment’ in a songwriter’s workshop some pals and I had going for a few meetings.
And it probably shows some wrenchmarks… lacking any emotional inspiration, whatsoever, I fell back on the eternal pop music subject, lust. What I lacked in emotional investment, I probably tried to compensate for with attempted cleverness. And, as any man of the world knows, cleverness and lust are problematic collaborators.
Tell It to Me in a Language That I’ll Understand
Tell it to me baby
in a language that I’ll understand
I don’t speak french italian
hollandaise or hindustan
you look like a straight talkin’ woman
why don’t ya give it to me like a man
don’t put it between the lines
I won’t get the inference
don’t get into that dialectical material
let’s just split the difference
Why don’t ya come right out and say it
and then let’s see the evidence
I know ya got something to say to me doll
don’t bother putting it in words
I think I know what you’re thinking
only I think I thought of it first
I guess the question is
Can we fall in love right now
or do we gotta talk all night first?
When I was writing this and when I originally recorded it, it was called “Poland” because I was so impressed with the crushing situation faced by Polish democrats in the face of the Russian-backed Polish Communist government’s repressive tactics and inability to provide food and basic necessities to the Polish people.
But that was more a distancing metaphor for my own darker feelings. The giddy euphoria I had felt getting out of the hospital after 2 months after my motorcycle wreck quickly evaporated when I hit the bricks in my walker. While I soon exchanged the walker for a pair of crutches, and six months later a single cane — I was, without my knowledge, walking on a broken leg. And from that point on, for several years, my leg didn’t improve, but rather got worse.
(Second opinion, people. Get a real one — not from the other docs in the group, no matter how “top flight” they supposedly are. I didn’t sue but, for the sake of the community, I probably should have. Several years later, my doctor, a very nice man who I suspect had serious problems reintegrating into civilian life after training as a battlefield orthopedist in Vietnam, paralyzed a young man in a “routine” vertebrae fusion. The story was that he’d wanted to make sure the young man would be able to go back to his warehouse job. Very similar to my own story with the good doc — he asked me if I wanted him to fuse my broken hip rather than reconstruct it as a functioning hip — since the fused hip would be better for carrying heavy loads — I, too, was a warehouseman at the time — of course, with a fused hip, one would never be able to walk with anything even approaching a normal gait. Psycho. But a nice guy. He let me drink in the hospital — even when I was on injections of morphine and demerol. Talk about yer warm and fuzzies. Then again, it wasn’t any fun at all when I went straight from warm and fuzzy pain meds in the hospital to beer and whatever I could find around my girlfriend’s place when I first got sprung. I kept reaching for that nurse call button…)
Anyhow, where was I… ah yeah, my leg was broken and aching all the time, almost a year and a half after the wreck. Throw that together with a stretch of destructive storms that seemed to go on all winter, compounding my physical misery, a disintegrating relationship with the girl I’d been seeing, and world political malaise — and ya get this cheery little ditty…