Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Can I Win?

"How Can I Win?"
by David Zippel
from The Goodbye Girl (1993)

How can I learn to trust enough
And to stop believing all I hear are lies?
Open my heart, but just enough
To keep an open mind, but never close my eyes
To the dangers I alert myself ...
Making efforts to assert myself
And discovering ways to hurt myself
That no one else has tried.
How can I win if I'm not on my side?

How can I dare to feel again
If I can't let go of past mistakes I've made?
Living through each ordeal again -
The faith that I misplaced, the price I overpaid.
I've been able to endure enough,
But I must not want the cure enough.
I get back on my feet and sure enough ...
My hopes and fears collide.
How can I win if I'm not on my side?

I live each day like emotions are at war,
But I don't remember anymore
Just who or what I'm fighting for ...

When will delight be mine again?
Will it come or can it be that it's too late?
I want the sun to shine again,
But I must walk away from the shadows I create.
And though I tell myself it's safer just to hide ...
How can I win if I keep retreating?
Cheating myself is self-defeating.
How can I win if I'm not on my side?

Have you ever heard a song and you are absolutely certain that the song is ALL ABOUT YOU?  This is mine ... it could be my personal anthem.  I've heard myself saying EVERY SINGLE ONE of these things, and it's frankly kind of frightening just how on the mark it is.  There are even times, depending on my mood or state of mind, that I just can't listen to it.

The song is from the musical The Goodbye Girl, based on the Neil Simon movie of the same name.  The music was written by Marvin Hamlisch, and the words by a brilliant lyricist - David Zippel - who also wrote the lyrics for the terrific musical, City of Angels (which I had the pleasure of directing more than a decade ago).  And it certainly helps that the song was delivered by the incandescent Bernadette Peters, who can act the hell out of any song and make you believe every word she's singing.

I think the lyrics speak for themselves and those who know me well can probably recognize me in the words.  The line "Cheating myself is self-defeating" is just amazing ... the bookend rhyme and the cleverly hidden repeat of the word "self."  I want to write just like that ...

1 comment:

  1. wow. i would be lying if i said that i didnt know exactly what those words mean. im gonna have to check this one out....thanks for posting it.