Cobardia   1 comment

COBARDIA
Cowardice (1932)
LYRICS by: Luis César Amadori
MUSIC by: Charlo
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 12/1/13
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Sing along with ALFREDO BELUSI with JOSE BASSO

CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
No se que daño he hecho yo pa’ merecer
esta cadena inaguantable de dolor,
que cuando no te beso no puedo respirar
y siento que me ahoga tus labios al besar.
De sufrir tanto perdí la dignidad
y no me importa saber que me engañás.
¿No ves que necesito de vos? Te quiero ver.
Habláme como siempre. Decí que me querés.

Yo se que es mentira
todo lo que estás diciendo,
que soy en tu vida
sólo un remordimiento.
Yo se que es de pena
que mentís pa’ no matarme;
lo se, y sin embargo
sin esa mentira no puedo vivir.

Anoche mismo he podido comprobar
que ni la puerta de esta casa respetás;
yo vi con estos ojos los besos que te dio
y oí que se reían burlándose los dos.
Humildemente, sin embargo, ya lo ves,
yo te pregunto: ¿Todavía me querés?,
y cerrando los ojos escucho que jurás
que nunca me engañaste, que no me olvidarás.

I don’t know what damage I’ve done to deserve
this unbearable chain of pain,
that when I don’t kiss you, I can’t breathe
and I feel suffocated by your lips kissing me.
Suffering so much I lost my dignity
and I don’t care knowing that you cheat on me.
Can not you see I need you? I want to see you.
Talk to me as always. Tell me that you love me.

I know it’s a lie
everything you’re saying,
I am in your life
only a sense of deep regret and guilt.
I know it is for pity
that you lie instead of killing me;
I know, and yet
without that lie I can’t live.

Just last night I could confirm
that not even the door of this home you respect;
I saw with my own eyes the kisses he gave you
and I heard you both laughing mocking me.
Humbly, however, you see,
I ask you: Do you still want me?
and closing my eyes and hear that you swear
that you never cheated on me, that you will not forget me.

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved

El ciruja   Leave a comment

EL CIRUJA
The ‘surgeon’ (1926)
LYRICS by: Alfredo Marino
MUSIC by: Ernesto de la Cruz
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 11/18/13
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Sing along with EDMUNDO RIVERO

 When you thought that your Spanish was good enough to add that touch of authenticity to your tanguero personality, somebody with connections dropped the word “lunfardo” in between sips from a silver metal straw, similar to the one Pablo Veron was sucking from when he first received Sally Potter at his Parissian pad. ‘Lunwhat’ you said? Then you got this academic explanation about secret languages used by lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, and how the scoundrels of early Buenos Aires also had their own secret language. Now you not only have to deal with the cliche about the pimp and the prostitute, but you may have to put up with some creep muttering strange words with an air of importance.Relax, the only connections that the guy has, are a modem and a Company provided e-mail address. Tango passion is not a substitute for good sanitary practices, so also forget about sucking the mate brew from the communal metal straw. If the bacteria doesn’t get you, the laxative effects of the green concoction will.Take what Tango brings to you in stride and accept the fact that it has taken over one hundred years of evolution for the music, the poetry and the dance to reach us at this stage of our lives. It does not matter what others do or have done before. Nobody can really improve their dancing by pretending to be someone else. What counts is your own experience, how you live your life and how the Tango is now part of it.

This had been the subject of a conversation with La Mariposa a.k.a. Valorie, as we were cruising along I-5 through the San Joaquin Valley in California on a scorching August afternoon. This is the fastest way between Northern and Southern California, and it is also the gateway that connects you via I-10 to Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans.

We had done the trek upand down I-5 many times passing the time and watching the straight line of asphalt dissapear as far as the eyes can see. CD after CD was being popped in and out of the car stereo by the best DJ on wheels any man can hope for. She has a knack for picking out the right set to go along with the scenery and the time of the day. Rodolfo Biagi in the early hours of the morning when the eyes sneak in a few treacheous winks after an all night ride. Osvaldo Pugliese in the middle of the night under a star studded sky bathed in a milky mist by a silver dollar size full moon, as the Joshua trees of the Arizona desert wave their petrified salute. Carlos Di Sarli early in the evening, when local commuters slow down our pace
unaware of our eagerness to get swiftly to wherever it is that our Tango travels take us. But I digress…

Long car trips have given us the opportunity to catch up with the music we haven’t had the chance to listen to for a long time. Such was the case one evening when the thundering voice of Edmundo Rivero filled the air with the quintessential lunfardo lyrics of El ciruja. “What does ‘ciruja’ mean?” she asked. A couple of hours later she was still writing the story of The Surgeon after having listened to Rivero countless times while I tried to interpret the lunfardo content of the lyrics into a context of English that even Lucy Ricardo would understand.

For inquisitive minds, there is a Lunfardo Dictionary written by Jose Gobello, who is the founder and president of the Lunfardo Academy in Buenos Aires. I have used it for many years because contrary to popular belief most Argentines of my generation only picked up a few words of lunfardo here and there as we grew up on the streets of the city. The language originated as a fusion between the dialects brought to Buenos Aires by the rogue elements from all over Europe, and a code of words used by thieves and criminals in jail in order to confuse the guards. With the passing of time new generations of tenement inhabitants incorporated a characteristic dialect which became the unofficial language of the slums. For the cultural elite,
lunfardo represented the idiom of the uneducated and the lower class. In spite of all their prejudice, popular theater plays, known generally as sainetes, the circus and the encounters of the rich and well-to-do with the populace at seedy bars and brothels, began a steady migration of lunfardo words into the mainstream of popular jargon.

In 1917 Pascual Contursi wrote some verses for a melody already in existence. The music had been around for a while under the name of Lita composed by Samuel Castriota. Contursi’s ironic account of a sappy pimp in love bleeding over the flight of a whore began with the lunfardo expression, “Percanta que me amuraste…” (Woman who abandoned me…) They say that Gardel fell in love with the song, risked his reputation as a Creole Crooner, and going against sound advice, he presented it it on stage under the name of Mi noche triste. It was the beginning of a new era for the Tango. Tango lyrics had arrived. For years to come, popular bards burned the midnight oil pouring out chronicles of love, hate, pain and sorrow.

A fledging middle class just loved the vocals which somehow reflected their own lives. Everybody could identify with infidelity, treason, broken hearts, blind ambition and revenge. In 1926, Alfredo Marino had the brilliant inspiration of writing the lyrics of a Tango with a heavy lunfardo content. It has become the quintessential lunfardo Tango lyric. The story is very simple and predictable, but the talent of Marino has made El ciruja a classic.

The word ‘ciruja’ at first brings the image of a hobo, a vagrant, a scavenger, and that is what probably our friend with the connections would try to impress you with, but the truth is that Marino uses a pure lunfardo expression to nickname his protagonist, the surgeon, because of his knack for the handling of the blade. Not only does he call him the surgeon, but he uses a shortened version of the actual Spanish word ‘cirujano,’ ciruja.

CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
Como con bronca y junando
de rabo de ojo a un costado,
sus pasos ha encamindo
derecho pa’l arrabal.
Lo lleva el presentimiento
de que en aquel potrerito
no existe ya el bulincito
que fue su unico ideal.Recordaba aquellas horas de garufa
cuando minga de laburo se pasaba,
meta punga al codillo escolaseaba
y en los burros se ligaba un metejon.
Cuando no era tan junao por los tiras
la lanceaba sin tener el manyamiento,
una mina le solfeaba todo el vento
y jugo con su pasion.

Era un mosaico diquero
que yugaba de quemera,
hija de una curandera,
mechera de profesion.
Pero vivia engrupida
de un cafiolo vidalita
y le pasaba la guita
que le chacaba al maton.

Frente a frente dando muestra de coraje
los dos guapos se trenzaron en el bajo,
y el Ciruja, que era listo para el tajo,
al cafiolo le cobro caro su amor.
Hoy ya libre ‘e la gayola y sin la mina
campaneando un cacho ‘e sol en la vereda,
piensa un rato en el amor de la quemera
y solloza en su dolor.

Appearing “angry” and “looking”
through the side of his eyes
he has directed his steps
straight for the slum.
He just knew what was going to happen
his intuition took him to that place,
to that vacant lot, where he just knew
his little shack, his ideal little place, no longer existed.He remembered those hours of great parties
when “lacking” “work,” he spent his time
“pickpocketing” and “playing cards”
and he had a passion for the “ponies.”
When he was not “well known” by the “cops”
he could “rob at knife point” without “knowing”
that a “girl” was “robbing” all the “money” from him
and toyed with his love.

She was a “common woman” with “airs of grandeur”
that “toiled” around as a “burning dump scavenger”
she was the daughter of a quack woman,
“shoplifter” by trade.
But she was “deluded”
by a pimp of long standing
who’s got all the dough
that the bully spent on her.

Face to face showing big courage
the two brawlers crossed knives in the dark
the Ciruja who was fast with the knife
made the pimp pay too dearly his love.
Out of jail now and with no maiden
staring at the sun on the sidewalk
thinks awhile in the girl’s love
and sobs in his pain.

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved

Se dice de mi   Leave a comment

SE DICE DE MI
It’s said about me (1943)
LYRICS by: Francisco Canaro & Ivo Pelay
MUSIC by: Francisco Canaro & Ivo Pelay
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 8/24/13
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Sing along with TITA MERELLO with FRANCISCO CANARO

My favorite dance is the milonga, and my favorite milonga is: “Se Dice de mí” by Tita Merello. Any chance of a translation? Regards, and thank you for your work. – Andrew
CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
Se dice de mi,
Se dice de mi,
Se dice que soy fiera,
que camino a lo malevo,
que soy chueca y que me muevo
con un aire compadrón,
que parezco Leguisamo,
mi nariz es puntiaguda,
la figura no me ayuda
y mi boca es un buzón.

Si charlo con Luis, con Pedro o con Juan,
hablando de mi los hombres están.
Critican si ya, la línea perdí,
se fijan si voy, si vengo o si fui.

Se dicen muchas cosas,
mas si el bulto no interesa,
porque pierden la cabeza
ocupándose de mi.
Yo se que muchos que desprecian con mentiras
y suspiran y se mueren cuando piensan en mi amor.
Y mas de uno se derrite si suspiro
y se quedan si los miro resoplando como un Ford.

Si fea soy,
pongámosle,
que de eso aun no me entere,
en el amor, yo solo se,
que a mas de un gil, deje de a pie.

Podrán decir, podrán hablar,
y murmurar, y rebuznar,
mas la fealdad que dios me dio,
mucha mujer me la envidio
y no dirán que me engrupi
porque modesta siempre fui.
Yo soy así

Y ocultan de mi,
ocultan que yo tengo,
unos ojos soñadores,
además otros primores
que producen sensación.
Si soy fiera se que en cambio,
tengo un cutis de muñeca,
los que dicen que soy chueca,
no me han visto en camisón.
Los hombres de mi. critican la voz,
el modo de andar, la pinta, ehe!, la tos.

Critican si ya la línea perdí,
se fijan si voy, si vengo, o si fui.
Se dicen muchas cosas,
mas si el bulto no interesa,
porque pierden la cabeza
ocupándose de mi.

Yo se que hay muchos me desprecian compañía,
y suspiran y se mueren cuando piensan en mi amor.
Y mas de uno se derrite si suspiro
y se quedan si los miro resoplando como un Ford.

Si fea soy,
pongámosle,
que de eso aun no me entere,
en el amor, yo solo se,
que a mas de un gil, deje de a pie.

Podrán decir, podrán hablar,
y murmurar, y rebuznar,
mas la fealdad que dios me dio,
mucha mujer me la envidio,
y no dirán que me engrupi
porque modesta siempre fui.
Yo soy así

It’s said about me
It’s said about me,
Its’ said that I’m ugly,
that I walk like a quarrelsome person,
that I’m bowlegged and that I move
with a conceited attitude,
that I look like (jockey Ireneo) Leguisamo,
my nose is pointy,
the silhouette doesn’t help
and my mouth is like a mail box.

If I chat with Luis, with Pedro or with Juan,
the men are talking about me.
They criticize if I already my waistline is gone,
they check if I go, if I come or if I left.

Many things are said
but the shape doesn’t matter,
because they lose their head
concerning themselves about me.
I know that many snub with lies
and sigh for me and die when they think of my love.
And more than one melts if I sigh
and if I look at them, they’re puffing like a Ford.

If I’m ugly,
let’s say it’s so,
though I’m not aware of that,
when it comes to love, all I know,
that I left stranded more than one fool.

They might say, they might talk,
and gossip and bray,
but the ugliness that God gave me
many women envied it
and they won’t say that I deceived myself
because I always was modest.
I am this way.

And they hush about me,
they hide that I have,
some dreamy eyes
besides other charms
that produce sensation.
If I’m ugly, I know that instead,
I have the skin of a doll,
those who say I’m bowlegged,
have not seen me in a nightgown.
The men criticize my voice,
the way I move, the appearance, ahem, the cough.

They criticize if I already my waistline is gone,
they check if I go, if I come or if I left.
Many things are said
but the shape doesn’t matter,
because they lose their head
concerning themselves about me.

I know that many snub the company I keep
and sigh for me and die when they think of my love.
And more than one melts if I sigh
and if I look at them, they gasp like they score a Ford.

If I’m ugly,
let’s say it’s so,
though I’m not aware of that,
when it comes to love, all I know,
that I left stranded more than one fool.

They might say, they might talk,
and gossip and bray,
but the ugliness that God gave me
many women envied it
and they won’t say that I deceived myself
because I always was modest.
I am this way.

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved

Suerte loca   Leave a comment

SUERTE LOCA
Insane luck (1944)
LYRICS by: Francisco García Jiménez
MUSIC by: Anselmo Alfredo Aieta
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 8/9/13
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Sing along with ARMANDO MORENO with ENRIQUE RODRIGUEZ

The great poet Garcia Jimenez writes a memorable set of verses using card game terminology and jargon to describe the scars left by life experiences on a man who resents hearing his hard earned wisdom called pure, insane luck.
CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
En el naipe del vivir
suelo acertar la carta de la boca,
y a mi lado oigo decir
que es porque estoy con una suerte loca.
Al saber le llaman suerte..!
Yo aprendí viendo trampearme,
y ahora sólo han de coparme
cuando banquen con la Muerte.
En el naipe del vivir,
para ganar, primero perdí.

Yo también entré a jugar
confiado en la ceguera del azar
y luego vi que todo era mentir
y el capital en manos del más vil…
No me creés…¡Te pierde el corazón!
¡Qué fe tenés!…¿No ves que no acertás?
¿Que si apuntás a cartas de ilusión
son de dolor las cartas que se dan?

No me envidies si me ves
acertador, pues soy el Desengaño…
Y si ciego así perdés,
es que tenés los lindos veinte años…
El tapete es la esperanza
y, a pesar de lo aprendido,
si me dan lo que he perdido
vuelve a hundirme la confianza…
¡Suerte loca es conservar
una ilusión en tanto penar!

In the card game of life
I often choose the right words out of my mouth,
and I hear say around me
that’s because I’ve an insane luck.
To knowing, they call it luck ..!
I learned by watching them trick me,
and now they’re only going to beat me
when they use Death as the dealer.
In the card game of life,
to win, first I lost.

I also got in the game
trusting in the blindness of chance
and then I saw that all was about lying
and the capital was in the hands of the most vile …
Don’t you believe me … your heart is failing you!
How certain you are! … Can’t you see you got it wrong?
That if you seek illusion cards
they deal cards of pain?

Don’t envy me if you see me
being right, for I am the Heartbreak …
And if you lose so blind,
is because you’re a cute twenty years old …
The card table is hope
and, despite of what’s been learned,
if you give me what I lost
confidence sinks me again…
Insane luck is to keep
an illusion among so much suffering

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved

Amarras   1 comment

AMARRAS
Moorings (1944)
LYRICS by: Carmelo Santiago
MUSIC by: Carlos Marchisio
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 6/2/13
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Sing along with HECTOR MAURE with JUAN D’ARIENZO

CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
Vago como sombra atormentada
Bajo el gris de la Recova
Me contemplo y no soy nada.
Soy como mi lancha carbonera
Que ha quedado recalada
Vive atada a la ribera.
Yo también atado a mi pasado
Soy un barco que está anclado…
Y siento en mi carne sus amarras,
Como garfios… como garras…
Lloro aquellos días que jamás han de volver…
Sueño aquellos besos que jamás he de tener…
Soy como mi lancha carbonera
Que ha quedado en la ribera
¡No parte más!

Aquellos besos que perdí
Al presentir que no me amaba,
Fueron tormenta de dolor
¡Llena de horror!
Hoy no soy nada.
Yo sólo sé que pené
Que caí y que rodé
Al abismo del fracaso…
Yo sólo sé que tu adiós
Es la burla del dolor
¡Me acompaña paso a paso!
Ahora que sé que no vendrás
Vago sin fin por la Recova…
Busco valor… para partir…
Para alejarme,
Y así olvidando mi obsesión
¡Lejos de ti… poder morir!

Pero vivo atado a mi pasado
Tu recuerdo me encadena
Soy un barco que está anclado.
Sé que únicamente con la muerte
Cesarán mis amarguras
Cambiará mi mala suerte.
Vago con la atroz melancolía
De una noche gris y fría…
Y siento en mi carne sus amarras
Como garfios… como garras…
Nada me consuela en esta cruel desolación…
Sólo, voy marchando con mi pobre corazón…
Soy como mi lancha carbonera
Que ha quedado en la ribera
¡No parte más!

I’m roaming like a tormented shadow
Under the gray covered corridor,
I reflect upon myself and I am nothing…
I’m like my coal boat
That has reached port
and it lives tied to the bank.
I, too, tied to my past,
am a boat that is anchored
And I feel in my flesh its moorings,
As hooks… like claws…
I cry for days that will never return…
I dream about kisses that I will never have.
I am like my coal boat
that’s been left on the bank,
it doesn’t sail anymore!

Those kisses that I’ve lost
when I realized she didn’t love me
they were storms of pain
full of horror:
Today I’m nothing!
I only know that I suffered
that I fell and that I rolled
into the abyss of a failure.
I only know that your farewell
It is the mockery of the pain,
that’s with me step by step!.
Now that I know that you won’t come.
I roam aimless by the covered corridor.
I look for courage… to leave…
to get away
and thus forgetting my obsession
far away from you… to be able to die…

But I live tied to my past
Your memory chains me
I am a boat that’s anchored.
I know that only with death
my bitterness will end
my bad luck will change.
I roam with the appalling gloom
of a gray and cold night …
And I feel in my flesh its moorings
Like hooks … like claws …
Nothing comforts me in this cruel desolation …
Alone, I’m marching with my poor heart …
I’m like my boat coal
That has been on the bank
It doesn’t sail anymore!

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved

La ultima curda   Leave a comment

LA ULTIMA CURDA
The last drunkenness(1956)
LYRICS by: Catulo Castillo
MUSIC by: Anibal Troilo
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 4/27/13
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Sing along with ROBERTO GOYENECHE with ASTOR PIAZZOLLA

CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
Lastima, bandoneón,
mi corazon
tu ronca maldición maleva…
Tu lágrima de ron
me lleva
hasta el hondo bajo fondo
donde el barro se subleva.
¡Ya sé, no me digás! ¡Tenés razón!
La vida es una herida absurda,
y es todo tan fugaz
que es una curda, ¡nada más!
mi confesión.

Contame tu condena,
decime tu fracaso,
¿no ves la pena
que me ha herido?
Y hablame simplemente
de aquel amor ausente
tras un retazo del olvido.
¡Ya sé que te lastimo!
¡Ya se que te hago daño
llorando mi sermón de vino!

Pero es el viejo amor
que tiembla, bandoneón,
y busca en el licor que aturde,
la curda que al final
termine la función
corriéndole un telón al corazón.
Un poco de recuerdo y sinsabor
gotea tu rezongo lerdo.
Marea tu licor y arrea
la tropilla de la zurda
al volcar la última curda.
Cerrame el ventanal
que arrastra el sol
su lento caracol de sueño,
¿no ves que vengo de un país
que está de olvido, siempre gris,
tras el alcohol?…

Bandoneon, it hurts
my heart
your hoarse transgressor’s curse…
Your tear of rum
leads me
Into the deep low underground
where mud revolts.
I know, don’t tell me! You’re right!
Life is an absurd wound,
and all it’s so fleeting
that is drunkenness, nothing else!
my confession.

Tell me about your sentence,
tell me about your failure,
Don’t you see the sorrow
that has hurt me?
And talk to me plainly
of that absent love
after a piece of forgetfulness.
I know I hurt you!
I know that I harm you
crying my sermon of wine!

But it’s the old love
that shivers, bandoneon,
and looks in the liquor that stuns,
the drunkenness that at the end
end the show
dropping a curtain over the heart.
A little memory and distaste
your dull grumble drips.
Your liquor intoxicates and rustles
the herd of the heart
into the last drunkenness.
Shut the window
that the sun drags
its slow snail of sleep,
Can’t you see I come from a country
that’s forgetful, always gray,
after alcohol? …

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved

Que te importa que te llore   2 comments

QUE TE IMPORTA QUE TE LLORE
Do you care that I cry(1942)
LYRICS by: Miguel Caló and Osmar Maderna
MUSIC by: Miguel Caló and Osmar Maderna
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 4/27/13
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Sing along with RAUL BERON wit MIGUEL CALO

CASTELLANO
ENGLISH
Déjame mentir que volverás
que volverás con el ayer,
con el ayer de nuestro sueño.
Déjame esperarte, ¡nada más!,
ya que comprendo que esperar
es un pedazo de recuerdo,
se que este dolor, es el dolor de comprender
que no puede ser esa esperanza
que me ahoga.
Déjame llorar, siempre llorar,
y recordarte y esperar
al comprender que no volverás.

Qué te importa que te llore,
qué te importa que me mientas
si ha quedado roto mi castillo del ayer,
déjeme hacer un Dios con sus pedazos.
Qué te importa lo que sufro,
qué te importa lo que lloro…
si no puede ser aquel ayer de la ilusión,
déjame así llorando nuestro amor.

Mucho te esperé sin comprender,
sin comprender por qué razón
te has alejado y no volviste.
Mucho te esperé; fatal dolor
de consumir la soledad
en el calor de lo que fuiste.
Debes indicarme qué camino continuar
ya que es imposible que se junten nuestras vidas.
Déjame llorar, siempre llorar,
no ves que ya ni sé qué hablar,
ni qué mentir, ni qué esperar.

Let me lie that you’ll come back
that you’ll come back with yesterday,
with the yesterday of our dream.
Let me wait for you, nothing else!,
since I know that waiting
is a piece of memory,
I know that this pain is the pain of understanding,
that it can’t be that hope
that’s choking me.
Let me cry, always cry,
and remember you and wait
as I understand that you’ll not return.

Do you care that I cry,
do you care that you lie to me
if my castle from the past has been broken ,
let me make a God with its pieces.
Do you care what I suffer,
do you care what I cry …
if it can’t be that illusion of the past,
just leave me this way, crying our love .

Much I waited without understanding,
without understanding why
You went away and didn’t come back.
Long I waited; fatal pain
of consuming the loneliness
in the heat of what you were.
You must tell me which way to continue
since it’s impossible for our lives to come together .
Let me cry, always cry,
can’t you see that I don’t know what to talk about,
nor what to lie, or what to expect.

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