The Apple of My Eye

Andy Livingston
Andy Livingston


The last phrase came a long time ago and I thought it was going to be more of a chorus. As the song started forming, though, it moved in a different direction. It needed to be the final statement. There’s a Tori Amos song called “To the Fair Motor Maids of Japan”. It was recorded during the making of “Boys for Pele” in 1996, but not released until the 20-year anniversary of the album. It was beautiful listening to this gem of a song 20 years later and feeling like I had been transported back to when I first fell in love with Boys for Pele. I could have been 17 again listening to that song. As an aside, one of my favorite things about music is a song’s ability to be a mini time machine. Play me most any song, and I will tell you where I was when I first heard it. Who I was with. I can even smell that room. One of the things I love most about Tori’s songs in particular is that, while lyrically and sometimes musically, the songs can be nebulous, esoteric meanderings, there is almost always one line of clarity that cuts to the essence. “Motor Maids” is one such song. After she sings “and let’s not forget that seafoam suit she put you in to watch the greyhounds. Sure they run real faster than you ever could, or will, say good-bye to the fair motor maids of Japan. You may know you’re dour you said, ‘we’re dead, not sleeping’” there’s this millisecond of a pause and the clarity comes: “The things that I would go through to turn you back around…the things I would turn into to turn you back to me again.” I think about that idea…of turning into something else just for the sake of holding onto someone. It’s dangerous, that level of desperation. “I’ll be whatever you want me to be, just as long as you will stay.” I’ve observed that in a couple of love interests over this past year, and, frighteningly, in myself as I’ve tried to turn into whatever they wanted. I don’t even think they knew what they wanted. When it was just the two of us, he was sweet, fun, and interesting…I noticed, when other people were around, he became someone different. Sarcastic, biting, shallow, critical, and sometimes trying so hard and saying things that I don’t think he really meant or would ever say with just me…I guess what is so off-putting about that is that then I go back and I don’t know any more who that person is. So which one am I getting? The counterfeit? Or the one who would turn into anything? Which one is the real you? And then I watched them try to turn into anything as they went after other people. He always said he didn’t care about what other people thought…To be fair, so did I.


So, what if I go back

to believing in

the difference between what is

and what it could have been

then I would be convinced

that it was only him

faking as I bled my way to bliss

and I said you know

I did it all for you


Still, in his defense,

he never could admit

that I was a kaleidoscope

dressed in the latest trend

but beauty can’t forgive

the cicatrix you left

when you shaved every hair off of your chest

for him and you know

I did it all for you

and I would do it all again

In spite of knowing everything

would come to the same end

but it’s coming up roses and

how could I resist a light like his?

oh yeah, it’s twisted, isn’t it?

And I said you know,

oh I did it all for you


Reminisce, but it

was only in my head

“A bargain at full price,” they said,

“it’s the cost of admission.”

But how could I forget

that Simon never said

to beg you with both hands behind my back

and I said you know

I did it all for you

the apple of my eye

the only one I ever loved

the only one I left behind

Take Me With You

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