Blesok no. 100, September, 2015
Sound Reviews

Correspondence with Nina: Enter Whenever You Like, the Door Is Unlocked

Meša Begić

Two Poems

    Two men wrote poems about Nina Simone. It was in different nights that unbearably looked like each other. The air soaked with pain and music in all atoms. Writing as the only way out and the road to the morning. Poetry as a pain killer.
    The first mad does not remember the details. He knows that he brought himself to the edge. And that the brandy by the typewriter was cruel. He does not know when he passed out, but he knows that he wrote and that in the morning there was a finished poem, an empty bottle and a deserved headache. The price was paid. The wind is wild. Everything that we wanted were touches.
    The second man was called Isakovski. He exchanged e-mails with the first man in the night that he could barely stand. Still they managed to laugh. At one moment, he said that Nina was coming through the door. It was four in the morning, he drank whiskey.
    The first one smashed rum from Nicaragua. They would drink, talk, make books, write poems. In mad times that they generally despised, this was one of the advantages, you could be in Skopje, New York, Managua, Barcelona, and still toast, share a joint, finish a poem… All this by the killer piano and the voice of madam Nina Simone.
    That night Isakovski has almost finished a poem and the computer screen froze. He could do nothing. The poem was lost. Only to recall it and try to write it again. I remember that the beginning remained the same:
    „Come Nina, come in the middle of the might, or before dawn, whenever you feel like coming, whenever you want, the door is unlocked, the windows are open, come in whenever you want.“
    The rest of it changed. Or it didn't. He wrote by heart, leaving it up to us to conclude if the first version was just a preparation for the poem that was yet to be written.
    And then, in a similar night, not long after this, the two friends said hello again not knowing that Isakovski would soon go to a heavenly bar where mad Nina throws bottles ta the audience by her piano before enchanting them with her song.



Your voice, Nina, the way in which your pronounce and break the words, the way in which you turn yourself into a song and play it to worlds unselfishly, gives me strength, but it also brings me back to the chains whose keys are still kept by the high positioned officials of the Ku Klux Klan clan.
    I say this because of myself, I say this because of God in whom I absolutely doubt, because of the years that have been taken away from me and there is no way to ever fix that, I say this because of those who did not give up the strike and believe that they could change something, although they know that the world is a big lie and that there is no flag under which they can stand.
    I am a lonely Chinese in front of the tanks, Nina, a human lynched fruit of the American South, under my neck there are the razors of many mad men, who would bury us with their ideologies and mad ideas of new world orders today. I am tired of any new Vietnam, class racists, religious fanatics. I remain without any thoughts about the way out, hopeless, but with your beautiful songs. I still remain.

The Wind Is Wild

Nina Simone, I know that it is too late and there is no way that you can hear me, but that does not matter anymore. Tonight, doctor Simone, I understand, more than any other time, the darkness of the doom of the skin we each have, the passing of the childhood that marks a man as nothing else later does.
    I understand that we are but figures in the big matches and that our small rebellions are everything that we have left. The big ones break our hearts as a rule.
    Your rage is clear, Nina, and I am again intoxicated by your complete surrender to the song, your naiveté and dedication, your inability to be the mother to the child that still worships you and understands what you had to go through to come to the end, survive deceits, falls and rises, and remain on the throne, where the wind is still wild, and lonely, as in no other place. Our youth remained there, this wind brings back an long gone first love, brings the end to the beginning.


A Reincarnation of an Egyptian Queen

It's OK, you can call me Nina. My parents named me Eunice… Eunice Kathleen Waymon. I was born on 21 February 1933 in Tryon, a small town in North Carolina. The land of the Cherokee. Before the white demons came and painted it red. At the place where Tryon is now there used be an Indian settlement called Xuala. The conquistadors came first, then the French and the English, and the railroad and the towns… they needed slaves for all of this.
    Nina, that is how he used to call me, my first real love, from Spanish 'niña', girl. My name existed for him only and it remained until the end of life. As early as 1954 I played in Atlantic City. A bit earlier I had watched this French movie… what was its name, yes… Casque d'or, and she was in it, the beautiful Simone Signoret. My other name is in her honour, Simone. That is how I somehow became Nina Simone, alone against everybody, with my first performances in Midtown Bar & Grill, at Pacific Avenue, in Atlantic City.
    I took that job to be able to pay for my piano lessons. Everything that I had wanted was to study the piano. To play Bach. And no matter how good I was, they did not accept me at Curtis Institute. They can claim as much as they want that it was not because of my skin colour, but I know it was. I know how they acted, I saw it all. Some things cannot be covered.
    My parents were priests, They called what I played the devil’s music. I left home. My work was called jazz. But it was not jazz. Jazz is usually used by the white people to mark the music of the black by humiliating them. I would not accept that! My music is black classic. Johan Sebastian Bach brought me here. That road was ruthless, from the descendants of the slaves in Tyron, an exile in Liberia, to the reincarnation of the Egyptian queen in France. Madame Nina, Doctor Simone, call me like that!


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