Playing Stories — Chapter 29: La Mer

Chapter 29: La Mer
from a 1946 single by Charles Trenet
posted at 15:45, 16 June 2019


And with a song of love
The sea rocks my heart for life

The sea rises in the night
It washes onto the beach, diving into every pocket of air
Bubbles rise up and the silvery moon smiles
Shimmering in the waters on the sands
Then the grains blush as the waves sink in
Perhaps they can see it swirling around them
Perhaps they feel its cool arms behind their back
And perhaps they drown in the baptism
Dive underneath the water, listen to them speak
And you hear a cry: don’t you want me?
Why do you try to cover me up, do your worst to have me become your best?
Tears run with saltwater, lose themselves in the sea
And you sit on the edge, their tears stinging your skin

But maybe the ocean weeps as well
For the battle raging within and without
Every droplet is an infinite battlefield: elements in an unholy clash
Forced to balance each other out
Even in one tiny drop the salt, the sand, the seascraps fight for control
Till the water burns with the shouting and screaming
Meanwhile — meanwhile it tries its best
Every step it takes just another move to being lost
In a sea of friends, in a city of identicals
Their voices try to say “hello”, “goodbye”, “nice sun today”
Who said that? It’s no good, there’s no answer:
A moment and they’re miles apart, in a darkness, in a crowd of trillions
Moonlight’s no good: where the hell is it going anyway?
Is that the turning for the beach? Will it be swept through the tide?
Even beaching on the sands is a relief from the chaos
How safe it is in there.

And it’s because they’re just that way
It’s so easy for them to melt away
To dissolve into each other, to become one with the elements
But every once in a while, they look at us
And they long for a shape, somewhere to express themselves
Weighted down by physics, dancing along with the world
Yet they are everywhere, nowhere at once
Their company is each other, a trillion different strangers
Have I seen you before? You’ll never meet again. Worn out faces and bodies
Tossed on the waves, rising into the air
Then back into a whole new world of water
More tears: more searching: have I seen you before?
It wasn’t like this five seconds ago
It’s not fair
I want my friends back
Even if I only knew them for half a second
As they sink into the deep and the dark
Looking for something real — no:
Looking for something corporeal.

And when I dip my hands into the shimmering pool
See them drop back again, bland and colourless, looking for a form
Their wishes are granted.
They fold innocently around my fingertips, bound by something small
A few break free: for a moment they’re themselves
Insides burning with war, outside a perfect circle
A little wave of my hand, and they stop
Floated in the air by a logical impossibility
Even the minerals inside them stop and turn to look:
Above them, a curious shape, a splash frozen in time
Is this really happening? Am I free? Is this the same face I saw a second ago?
And am I finding friends at last? Has God changed the laws of gravity?…
No. Just a woman who knows how the world feels
And not feel a thing because everything is roaring
Everyday a search for someone who stops, hears, listens
And she won’t have it happen to others
Even if it happens to her
So for a moment, they are themselves.

Then the morning breaks, and I become another drop in the city myself.

Well, since we’re doing this, I thought I might do poetry. Which is even shorter, of course, and I can’t do funny poetry. But whatever. Sorry I couldn’t come up with better, business is simply booming these days with the summer crowd coming in.

Let’s say… first week of July? And I thought somewhere farther. Europe, maybe. Come over next week, maybe we can work it out?


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