The Magdalene

(La Magdalena)
by Joaquín Sabina

If at midnight, on the road I told you,
behind a gas station where I filled up,
some light bulbs blink at you,
blue, red and yellow,
behave well and stop.
And, if the Magdalene asks for a drink,
invite her for one hundred, I’ll pay for them.

Get close to her door and call,
if you’re dying of thirst,
if you don’t play checkers1 anymore, even with your wife.
I only ask you to write me,
telling me if she’s still alive,
the virgin of sin,
the bride of the flower of saliva,
the sex with love of married ones,

owner of such a five-star heart,
that even the son of a God,
once he saw her,
went with her,
and she never charged him,
the magdalene.

If you are lonelier than the moon, let yourself be persuaded,
toasting to my health with certain woman I know.
And when drinks rise,
twice the price she asks,
give her for her favours.
For, in the house of Mary of Magdala,
bad companies are the best.

If you carry grease in the glovebox
and a soul to lose,
park next to her hips of milk and honey.
Between two redeeming curves,
the most forbidden of all fruits
awaits you until dawn.
The most ladylike of all whores,
the most whorish of all ladies,

with such a five-star heart,
that even the son of a God,
once he saw her,
went with her,
and she never charged him,
the magdalene.

1 “checkers” and “ladies” has the same spelling in Spanish (“damas”). The sentence suggests a double meaning (playing checkers vs. playing with ladies) that was lost in translation.







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So Young and So Old

(Tan Joven y Tan Viejo)
by Joaquín Sabina

The first thing I wanted was to leave far far away.
In the sticker album of resignation,
We stuck the children who hated mirrors
Gloves of Rita Hayworth,
Streets of New York.

As soon as I saw an eye winking the life at me,
I asked it to dispose of me at will.
She gave me the keys to the forbidden city.
Everything I have, which is nothing, I gave it to her.

So I grew up flying and flew so fast
that even my own shadow lost sight of me.
To erase my tracks, I shredded my shirt
I mistook neon lights with stars.

I cheated at poker, I let my friends down,
On the bench of a park I slept like a dormouse.
For saying what I think without thinking what I say
I got more than one kiss (and more than one slap).

What I know about forgetting, I learned it from the moon.
What I know about sin, I had to find it,
like a thief under the skirt of some girl,
whose name I don’t want to remember now.

So, for now, no farewells, lads,
I fall asleep at the funerals of my generation,
I invent myself every night, I still get drunk,
So young and so old, like a rolling stone.