John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale


Trash Palace

The Insult

Words & music by Dimitri Tikovoï/ John Cale / Rupert Thomson

Nina took my hand and led me through the house, a huge old place that smelled of the oil they used for heating it.
There were mirrors two metres tall, with frames that seemed to have spent a century under the sea (I watched the two of us, shadows moving past the glass).
We decided not to go to bed, not yet.
We crept back to the drawing-room instead and poured ourselves some drinks.
She told me what she thought when she first saw me. She said I was like ice, the way my eyes just kind of slid over the top of everything. Her included.
'I didn't notice you,' I said, 'I mean, not right away.'
'And then you did?'
'Your elbow. It was touching mine.'
'I had to do something.'
I heard a siren in the distance. The sudden urgency seemed exaggerated, lonely, even pitiful, in the deep silence that surrounded it. Later, as we climbed the stairs, she told me it excited her, knowing that I couldn't see. She said it was better.
'Better?' I didn't understand.
'Men can be so brutal,' she said. 'Looking at your tits or your ankles, telling you what's wrong with them.'
'They wouldn't say that to you,' I said, 'not the way you look.'
'I'm not good-looking, I never was.'
'You must be joking,' I said. And then, 'You are to me.'
She laughed softly.
It was dark in the bedroom. I watched her lift her blouse over her head.
Her face was hidden temporarily; her stomach muscles hollowed, stretched.
I undressed quickly.
My clothes fell to the floor.
Then she was pushing me gently back on to the bed.
I watched her lower her body on to mine, her nipples touching me first - my thighs, my hips, my ribs.
I ran my tongue down the centre of her, through the sudden growth of hair, to where the skin delicately parted, to where it started tasting different. I saw the damp trail that I had left behind on her, and thought for a moment of my father. It was a strange time to be thinking of him.
'What is it?' she murmured.
She was looking at me over her breasts, her eyes half-closed.
She had a triumphant expression on her face, almost greedy, as if we were playing a game and she was winning. Her breathing shortened and accelerated. 'I think I'm turning into a man,' she said.
I looked up at her again.
'My clitoris,' she said. 'I get erections.'
It wasn't an exaggeration. There was such wetness when she came, the sheet beneath that part of her was soaked.
All night I lay beside her while she slept.
I watched her turn over, brush her face with the back of her hand. I saw how she gathered the corner of a blanket in one fist, and brought it up below her chin. I listened to her murmur, lick her lips. Sometimes I thought I was imagining it all.

When I heard the clock downstairs strike five I left the bed.
After I'd dressed I wrote the name of my hotel and the number of my room on a piece of paper. I thought for a moment, then, underneath, I wrote, 'Ice melts'.
Outside, it was almost light. I was in the north of the city, out near the woods

About this song

Cale sings this song on the Trash Palace album Positions 2002.

© 1999- Hans Werksman