Joni Mitchell’s ‘For the Roses’ is the perfect balance of love and breaking up

Editor’s Note: Collaborator Ray Levy Uyeda uses poetry to explore love and pain on Joni Mitchell’s 1972 album “For The Roses”.

how does a breakup happen? / what is broken / divided in the center / the space just defined between you and the other / not love that is broken, but everything that holds love together: time, words, attention / everything which is real and unbearable / unlike their body / all that you cannot recover / all the wreckage /

she’s in love / again / Joni Mitchell with James Taylor / at the time of writing “For The Roses” / her fifth studio album / 1972, written over the next few months / you get the feeling she wants to break up / you make sense she doesn’t /

breakups are all back / and look back / “Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire” “Lesson in Survival” “Let the Wind Carry Me””Let the Wind Carry Me “” Lesson in Survival “: //” Electricity ” (incoming electricity) / “Blonde with the stands” (you can’t hold a rock ‘n’ roll man’s hand very long)

breakups all question what life is like for that person without you / “Blonde in the Bleachers” (Looks like you have to give up such a piece of your soul when you give up the chase) / “See you sometime” “Woman of Heart and Mind” “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” (I know you don’t like weak women, you get bored so fast and you don’t like strong women, because they are trendy with your makeup)

12 songs / 12 breakups / 12 perfect songs / one breakup / arrangements in “For The Roses” are more complex than his previous album / what everyone says is his best / the one that sounds like a whisper / “Blue””For The Roses “has multiple wind and reed instruments, jazz melodies, interludes and a hit track

1971 / she / Joni / went away / away / away / went back to the woods to read / philosophy and write / the songs for her next album / was / down / depressed / in love and trying not to be /

love is everywhere in / “For the Roses” / in the cures Joni uses to describe Taylor’s heroin addiction / Some turn to Jesus and others turn to heroin, Joni says / “Come with me / I know the way “ / the singing siren, Lady LiberationHe says / she says “It’s down, down, down the dark stairway”

or love in “Lesson in Survival” / with its lyrics falling into each other / or the heavy / pauses that precede / You and me / Deep kisses / And the setting sun / after, in the second verse: I’ll take a boat / And we can row / If you ever get the idea / To be needed by me and / to close / the words that comfort the breakup / Will always Love You

with the breakup / there is a struggle with wanting / and trying not to want / how not to want / when all you can do / is wanting / allows the will to eat inside you / and there is / wanting answers / wanting love / or for the past to drag into the present / because the present does not hurt so much / but the pain is strong / Will always Love You / wanting can be / a quick way to get lost

or the wind can take you elsewhere / if you want / in “Let the Wind Carry Me” / she / Joni / sings And I want to settle down / And raise a child with someone / just want it / passes like summer / I’m a wild seed again

you became a lover / and how / and / where did you learn to love / from your parents / from your mother / from your father / what they did and did not do / what they did not show you / what they asked you to witness / how did you learned to speak

Joni sings through a character in / “Blonde in the Bleachers” / a figure that records his regrets / At the microphone stand / and sings / “You can’t hold your hand / Of a rock’n’roll man / Very long” / who is the man / who is “she” / wants us to do it / Show them you won’t expire / Not until you burn all passion / Not even when you die / (how to be so alive that death doesn’t come for you?)

after all / all the words / in song and poetry / are just a way to make different sounds / with the body / what is the sound of breaking up /

“Woman of Heart and Mind” / is coming out of the breakup / is finally destroyed / enough / to see things / her past / herself / clearly / don’t even try / Joni sings / for us

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