Werewolf – Lyrics Interpretation

One of my favorite musicians and singer/song writers of all time is Fiona Apple. For me, I deem her as a sort of contemporary version of Nina Simone. In her own right, she has a style that is unique and an impeccable sense of musicality. In a land of synthetic music, I must retreat to quiet corners to envelope myself in the wonderful therapy of voice and piano; Berlin is not known for lyricism.

This song (like virtually everyone of hers) holds an especially indelible place in my heart as Apple writes many verses about the tumult of requited love that never seems to end, in some semblance of Marilyn Monroe Syndrome – being the invisible Madonna and Whore that every man dreams of until they experience the nightmare of the fantasy becoming reality.

I posted this song a few times and on one occasion a friend asked me to interpret the lyrics (he is German and works with words as a profession and is a musician himself) so he has vested his interest in my acumen in regards to the definition of this beautiful aria.

Fiona Apple – “Werewolf”

I could liken you to a werewolf the way you left me for dead
But I admit that I provided a full moon
And I could liken you to a shark the way you bit off my head
But then again I was waving around a bleeding, open wound

But you were such a super guy ’til the second you get a whiff of me
We are like a wishing well and a bolt of electricity
But we can still support each other, all we gotta do’s avoid each other
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key

The lava of the volcano shot up hot from under the sea
One thing leads to another and you made an island of me

And I could liken you to a chemical the way you made me compound a compound
But I’m a chemical, too, inevitable you and me would mix
And I could liken you to a lot of things but I always come around
‘Cause in the end I’m a sensible girl, I know the fiction of the fix

But you were such a super guy ’til the second you get a whiff of me
We are like a wishing well and a bolt of electricity
But we can still support each other, all we gotta do’s avoid each other
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key


[Reference: Werewolves in Popular Culture and Literature]

I could [liken] you to a werewolf the way you left me for dead 
But I admit that I provided a [full moon] 

liken |ˈlīkən|verb [ trans. ]
(liken someone/something to) point out the resemblance of someone or something to : they likened the reigning emperor to a god.
ORIGIN Middle English : from like 1 + -en 1 .

[full moon]
Werewolf creatures transform from human beings depending on their state of power and experience, but primarily change into the creature, wolf-like state during the full moon – hence “howling at the moon”.

And I could liken you to a [shark] the way you bit off my head 
But then again I was waving around a [bleeding, open wound] 

Obviously the freshwater fish (with family in saltwater habitats); Various Orders, Subclass: Elasmobranchii – this is a play on words [see: pun] in accordance to another definition:

shark 2 |ʃɑrk| |ʃɑːk|noun informal
1: a person who unscrupulously exploits or swindles others : Coleby was a shark, not the sort of man to pay more when he could pay less [with adj.
See also loan shark
2: an expert in a specified field : a pool shark.

Sharks are typically known to be attracted to the presence of bloodshed.
But you were such a [super guy] ’til the second you get a [whiff] of me 

Another twofold theory here: “super guy” could be in reference to Superman, the DC Comics hero with super powers that are weakened by the presence of Kryptonite.

And also the Werewolf reference returns as Werewolves (like wolves and dogs) are known for their extraordinary sense of smell.

whiff |(h)wif|noun
a smell that is only smelled briefly or faintly : I caught a whiff of peachy perfume.
We are like [a wishing well and a bolt of electricity]

A multifaceted statement in regards to electricity conductivity – perhaps the best example of this is Benjamin Franklin and his famous Kite Experiment experience in initiating the definition.

The word “electricity” is used in some romantic forms to describe chemical attraction and lust, and when met with an opposing force, can cause an opposite and powerful effect.

The term “wishing well” is used as an extreme symbol of the wish or hope at hand – in reference to love and lust, traditionally a steep or shallow man-made water storage facility built in a natural environment in which one drops a coin and makes a wish (superstitiously).

But we can still support each other, all we gotta do’s avoid each other

A comment on supporting each other – knowing true feelings – all the while avoiding them in order NOT to face the impossible explosion of love and lust.

avoid |əˈvoid|verb [ trans. ]
keep away from or stop oneself from doing (something) : avoid excessive exposure to the sun | the kind of place that Robyn would normally haveavoided like the plague.
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key 
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key 

In orthodox music composition, songs usually begin or end in a note from the major scale.
The repetitiveness of this verse throughout the song harkens to the unpredictability of love and lust and the sometimes abrupt ending (or beginning or re-ending or re-beginning) of the rhythm of a relationship.

The lava of the volcano shot up hot from under the sea 
One thing leads to another and [you made an island of me]

Typically, volcanoes are the result of the geological (earth science) phenomenon of tectonic plates, in that in the end, the “island” is left alone, surrounded by water – but full of hot magma that explodes from the volcano…also a typical saying of “being left out to sea”  – a quintessential paradigm in romantic literature etc.

And I could liken you to a chemical the way you made me [compound] a compound

compound noun |ˈkämˌpound|
a thing that is composed of two or more separate elements; a mixture :the air smelled like a compound of diesel and gasoline fumes.• (also chemical compound) a substance formed from two or more elements chemically united in fixed proportions : a compound of hydrogen and oxygen.

But I’m a chemical, too, [inevitable] you and me would mix

inevitable |inˈevitəbəl|adjective
certain to happen; unavoidable : war was inevitable.• informal so frequently experienced or seen that it is completely predictable : the inevitable letter from the bank.

noun ( the inevitable) a situation that is unavoidable.

And I could liken you to a lot of things but I always come around 
‘Cause in the end I’m a sensible girl, I know the [fiction of the fix] 

[fiction of the fix]
“Fiction” in reference to an article of writing that describes imaginary events and people – thus the fix (or solution) is based upon or lives as a lie.
But you were such a super guy ’til the second you get a whiff of me 
We are like a wishing well and a bolt of electricity 
But we can still support each other, all we gotta do’s avoid each other 
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key 
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key 
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key 
Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key

-Louis DeVaughn Nelson

The song is referenced here in my latest film from my Self = Portraits series


Excerpt: Screenplay

Between 2005-2006 I began to really push forward into starting my writing career in a more serious light. At the time I was foraying into the fine art genre, obsessed with the tumultuous and lovely experience of putting my Life Force up on plain white gallery walls and furthermore lighting them with abrasive light that gave pretentious wine glass bearing patrons a microscopic view of my psyche while I nervously and benevolently touted the offerings of my soul.

There is a certain cathartic element to painting that is unmatched, though if need be described I would say it has that physical and visceral appeal of dance while still embracing the vigorous psychological demands of playwriting. You must tell a compelling story with a media that can be molded to your liking but there is always that necessary element of foundation. You must learn the rules before breaking them in order to innovate successfully. I strayed from the beast early on (despite years of art classes and self-study), but in the end, I grew tired of the time, effort and money that went into presenting my cutting edge work to dull tools.

I always have this excuse for doing everything rather than pigeonholing myself and concentrating on one thing (one of the many reasons I came to Europe in the first place), but really I just need to admit that I have artistic ADHD. I like the term Renaissance Man because it makes me look and feel like an art snob when in reality I am more of a Satirist if anything. Wilde and de Sade and Fosse and all of my other idols would have not accomplished much in the way of pointing a mirror at society if they did not readily envelope themselves in it but now I am going on a longwinded tangent because the beast (or “demon” as some writers call it), is in love with words and wants to spit them out superfluously at all times forever.

No art is ever finished, and I am dying to fully produce my dance film The Ending or The Beginning. I know I say this a lot, but this work is truly the apotheosis of everything I’ve ever done. I started writing it when I gave up painting and took up burlesque and somehow found myself in this picket fence type romance with this man that I was convinced would never love me – the houses, the cat the dog the monthly payments, the whole 9. It originated as a one act play and then I expanded (or expounded, rather) it to two acts and then I started sending it out EVERYWHERE – that naive but preciously ambitious time when I knew that my writing was better than virtually everyone else’s and it was time to get my work on a more prominent stage in a theater despite the fact that I was already writing and directing hilarious and thought provoking scripts on a monthly basis to sold-out appreciative audiences with my burlesque troupe.  Always the zealous Capricorn.

The Ending or The Beginning is typical DeVo fare, with chattery, real-life-like banter, overt sexual overtones, sociopolitical issues, love quadrilaterals and rife with variable slang (hence the moniker “Hokum” in the title of my production company). I received an overwhelming response to the monologue that was presented at my opening show for Hokum Arts, still one of the biggest undertakings as a Producer, Director, Choreographer, Writer et al. I can never wear one hat.



True to form with my Julius Caesar Syndrome, the event was housed in an old jazz club in two buildings, one room held fine art genres of 3 painters, a photographer, and 1 filmmaker and the main stage lounge area boasted a fashion show, 2 live music performances, a bout of ballets from my repertoire, comedy routines, and the opening monologue from The Ending or The Beginning as seen in the video. It received an overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd and many of the artists have gone on or continued great success and acclaim, as part of the main purpose of Hokum Arts as addressed in the mission statement.



While the play has received several finalist nominations for prizes or funded productions, I have not yet presented it to a theater and my desire to do so was serendipitously thwarted by a burlesque colleague of mine who suggested I turn it into a screenplay, which I did, but never found the time, energy or money to produce the film.

Going through my older writing is hard – The Ending or The Beginning was such a stepping stone for me and at the time I knew that I had something special and poignant and edgy. But 6 years later I realize that it could use a mature eye to make it more accessible. Still, it speaks volumes about a lot of the issues that I still address in my work to this day and I hope that one day I find a home stage for a full featured production and/or a screen, but that baby, my first born so to speak, has been usurped by another child, a formidable sibling rivalry that I started writing just a few years later entitled The Show: a true gem of a musical that chronicles and satirizes my memoirs during my time as a burlesque artist. I even already have the all-star cast in mind for the broadway version. I’ll save that for another post.


Excerpt: The Ending or The Beginning 



Jodi and Matt are quickly approached by Lori, the owner of the gallery who is spastic and slightly disheveled in appearance. She has an air of pretension but seems not to know the time or place in which to put it.



Oh, look who it is.

(She whispers to Jodi.)


LORI (cont’d):

You might want to make it a point to actually be around at your own exhibition.



I needed nicotine.



I understand, but more people are starting to show up. Now…mingle.


(To Matt.)


Matthew darling, it’s so odd seeing you without a drink in your hand.



Lori, it’s so odd seeing you with out a stick up your ass.


(They laugh a snooty laugh and begin their own silent dialog as Jodi attempts to mingle. She greets two total strangers.)



Hi, I’m the artist.



Oh really!?  Great stuff.


(He shakes Jodi’s hand.)


I really like the subject matter, and your use of color is great. Very interesting.



Thanks so much. How did you hear about the show?



I saw a posting about it on Philebrity.






It’s a website about arts and nightlife in the city.



Oh, so it was like an ad?



No, one of the bloggers said it was the hot show in town. I think he used the words “not to miss.”



Umm, but I just hung up the paintings like 2 hours ago, no one’s seen them till just now.



Oh, well, you know, the media.



Uh, yeah, weird.




(Turning his partner around.)


This is my wife, Claudia.



Oh, nice to meet you.


(They shake hands.)



This is Jodi, the artist.



Oh! Your pieces are very interesting.




Thank you. Will you excuse me?


(She walks to the front of the gallery to greet the gallery assistant, Mark. Mark is a happy-go-lucky guy who is deceptive in his sweetness.)



Where’s your drink?



I lost it somewhere.



I’ll get you another. Red, right?



Yeah, thanks.


(Mark goes to the bar to pour Jodi a glass of wine. Lori approaches him, arm and arm with Gus, an older fashion designer.)



Jodi, I’d like you to meet Gus.


(He reaches out a limp hand, Jodi shakes it gently.)






Yes, indeed.



Jodi, Gus is the fashion designer I told you about.



Which one?



(letting out a chuckle to cover her embarrassment.)

Remember I told you about Gus Walsh who just moved here from New York?



Oh! Right!



Yes, it was so tragically hectic up there in the city.  I wanted to come down here and work at a more feasible pace.  Besides, this town has so much to offer, what with its burgeoning art community and all the great museums…



(sarcastic and bitterly)

Yeah, and we just love when people like you decide to take a break from big, great, fabulous New York to come and bless our quaint, relaxed, city of brotherly love with your presence.




Well, I never.



Don’t worry, you’ll never have to again. Excuse me, I need more social lubricant.


(She storms off towards the wine table and is accosted again by strangers.)


© 2012 by Louis DeVaughn Nelson

Prose: Mensch

When I walked in exhausted from work and play – but mostly from thinking about him, I just wanted to relax and be alone – with him. This was not allowed. He is always with me no matter where I go and where I am, though admittedly when I am with him I am perplexed by how whelming the dichotomous feeling of can’t get enough of him plagues me. He is too much for me and everything; I love him so much I think I’ve had enough.

I threw down my bags, always superfluous with the staples of my nomadic, motherly, boy scout-like life…I carry everything around just in case someone needs something. I am always the hero. Those random items of sporadic necessity à la toothpicks, Band-Aids, hand lotion, nail files, safety pins, paper clips, condoms…you never know what your inherited children will need from you.

I’m always concocting a new methodology of organization. One bag for this, these are over here in this pocket, the more secret stuff secluded in an undisclosed location behind a zipper or buttons or Velcro that someone would never think to look in, including myself.

The weight of the backpack told its tale by the reddened imprints on my shoulders and the indentation on the sides adjacent to my tailbone where the heaviest implement in my arsenal, my laptop, banged against my hind side at the staccato rhythm coerced by my left-right/left-right-left militant steps towards yet another thing to cross off on my over-crowded list. I am always walking from one place to the next to the next to the next…

The other bag was a little lighter, only full with the extra apparel as needed for a gypsy like me. I never know if and when and where my company will be needed, if offered to stay or basically forced to stay in a bed or couch or floor that is not my own. Clean underwear (albeit undesired by most of my perverted paramours) is a staple of my transient belongings.

The third bag, housed inside of the backpack, is always removed immediately when I arrive at my newest destination. It is full of all of the at-a-moment’s-notice items that I require to be at a close proximity to my existence. This smaller man purse usually contains the following: cigarettes, wallet, lighter, cell phone, handkerchief, pen, candy/gum, keys (though already removed to open the door), iPhone, sunglasses, glasses case.

I released my cigarettes from the shackles of the man purse and put them in my right pocket along with my lighter, certainly a lighter that will be stolen by one of my children quite soon – for seemingly I am the only one to ever purchase a lighter at an actual store using actual money (the bags on bags upon bags are a testament to my loathing of carrying anything in my pockets).

I wanted to wait until I poured a glass of Pinot Noir and I had changed out of my work/play/and everything else shoes and into my hausshuhe to embrace the full-bodied inaugural inhale of my first, unfettered cigarette away from the rest of the world but as soon as my tired and worldly germ laden fingers touched the long skinny stem of the big bowled wine glass, he was breathing on my nape.

This method always worked, the slow and steady and charming attack of this beast, welcoming me home with a silent but deadly raping of lip caresses on my neck, wrapping his ample hands around my gaunt waist, spreading and closing his fingers warmly and tautly in that alluring way, a sense of ownership and desire overcoming the both of us in this simple and poignant gesture.

I played the winner-less game by doing that coy thing I always do, relenting a bit by craning my neck to the side, offering a little bit more skin while trying to take it away from him at the same time. I steadied myself, now warm in my loins and weak in my knees as his hot wet tongue began to dance towards my ear, and I played oblivious, reaching for the bottle of Pinot Noir and popping open the cork seductively, as if I was releasing a cock from the confines of its zipper. I let out a little sigh slash moan slash giggle to augment the flirt – for I knew and have always known that the way to a man’s heart is by unleashing the animal in him; men are enthralled and captured only through the thrill of the hunt.

I was the prey and he was the predator, and I mumbled something about, “Not now, I have shit to do,” but in Spanish, in order to drive him more crazy and hungry for me. He doesn’t speak any romantic languages verbally, only physically.

Before I could fill the glass completely he spun me around, the mating call dance continuing, and he gripped me by my back, peering into my eyes which were not looking at him but rather at the ground in an obvious command of submissive control, letting him know he belonged to me just as much as (if not more than) I belonged to him.

I was happy.

He reminded me of every man I have ever wanted, received, lost, liked, lusted, loved…He had the centaur-esque stature of my greatest love and longest boyfriend, Rob. That fetching blue-collar gait of a carpenter – strong haunches and wrists that overpower a more fragile lover, a lover that wants to be broken by the strength of a manly man.

Picture 3

Besides his blue collar proclivity he also had the blue eyes of my very first love, little Josh from 2nd grade. This was the boy that paved the way for all the concupiscence of my future. I have never forgotten the way his azure eyes struck me in the heart every time he turned around and looked at me in class, sitting 3 rows in front of me and looking back with a grin at one of our many inside jokes that we shared inside our own minds and in and out of class.

In regards to things less physical, he had the big altruist heart of Craig, my first long-term boyfriend, who even on his deathbed was worried about everyone but himself. It was that love that could be felt in that passionate embrace and that lasts wherever I go.

He had the amicableness of Chris, and Chris, and the other Chris – a definitive reminder of my “Chris Phase” when I was sure that my husband would bear that moniker for it was fate or something like it that thrice I became obsessed with elusive and challenging best friends who kept up a firm fourth wall to save me from the tragedy of closeted love, instead providing a stage for a sometimes farce, sometimes melodrama, sometimes comedy, but strong stories of passionate love nonetheless. The “Chris Phase” was also a pivotal time for me to mold my intricacies of desire. At that monumental time of emotional and physical development (aka “puberty”), I realized that I wanted someone who gave me everything, without giving it all away. This was when I learned that I needed someone that I couldn’t always have, and more so, love had to come from a person who was more than just a friend, but a friend of the highest caliber and magnitude that I could share everything with, while still hoarding unbearable secrets (namely, emotions).

Picture 4

As his deft and dirty fingers made way toward my quivering, hairy chin (like I knew they would), he wordlessly begged me to look into his baby blues that were always the source of the most beautiful trouble. I thought about the Ryan and Anthony in him, two boys-to-men that catalyzed my sexual and emotional rite of passage in high school though I never had nor wanted to have sex with either one of them. For the first time I endured that sensational burning in the heart that parents sometimes negate as “puppy love” knowing full well the brevity of such a precious time where the heart not only wants what it wants but it needs what it needs and there is no convincing it otherwise. It was that aching feeling of a rejection junkie – in that big concrete walled place where teenaged hearts were broken everyday for a million reasons, but the most paramount being having a crush on him or her, but being unable to vocalize this aching was a chore for me and my homosexual brethren. Luckily we could ask our girl friends to the dance, and dress down the queer nature of our existence, but I was one of the lucky ones who decided it was best not to hide in the dark corners of the closet but rather exaggerate my gayness to protect myself with a shield of “So What?”. I was proud to be a “faggot” so the artillery of bullies and homophobes did not harm me as much as they could have (though the harm was duly noted). Since I could not vocalize what and how I was feeling, I wrote letters to the both of these upperclassmen – and they wrote back.

Picture 6

The first nicotine stained peck on the lips reminded me of Kevin. That awkward and unexpected kiss that came during the same 1/8th of a lifetime – when I knew and everyone else knew that I was gay but I couldn’t do anything about it but pretend that it wasn’t making my life a living hell. Kevin and I kissed (at the time this was called “hooking-up”) and kissed and kissed and kissed, for hours. For me it was my “first time” and it is indelibly etched on my lips as being the best I ever had. Perhaps it was because they were good, hungry kisses that he planted on me or maybe it was the emotional attraction he brought out of me – but this first “I miss you” kiss, from this man who was as far from a boy as you could get but still bearing the boyish heart, much like Kevin, was exactly like how Kevin kissed me. Like a secret always kept between us that no one could ever learn about.

When he finally spoke, he sounded like Gino, that married Italian Stallion from college, who seduced me not only with his suave words but the sound they made when they came out of his mouth. This kiss already had me paralyzed but when he came up with that new adjective to describe me like no one else before him (jaded by the word “beautiful”), “magnanimous”, I lost everything that I ever was and wanted to become – I was there just being me, not an idea of myself that he wanted me to be or what I thought I should be for his benefit or for him to love me.

Picture 8

I felt guilty for a moment as the kiss got stronger, wetter, deeper, better…He loved me for me and I was thinking about all the other boys and men (and a few women) that made him the complete person I wanted to complete me. He smelled like Mark (the deaf Mr. Leather guy who was so sweet but talked too much), he laughed like another Kevin (the hairy polish meatball with the classic vintage car fetish and the Brooklyn accent), he was a horrible cook (like my pizza loving fireman Joe, and every boyfriend I’ve ever had), he was a great dancer (like my first boyfriend Al), he loved to take care of me (like my second, statutory rapist, Elektra Complex initiating boyfriend William), he had impeccable style (like my diva lover Greg), he liked to use big words (like my other college crush Tony, who was a consummate writer and helped me to invent the hilarious and fun-filled game of Night Tennis), he was good with his hands (like my sexy neighbor in Collingswood, Josh, who was a plumber and cleaned sewage pipes for a living), he had a bright and overwhelming smile (like my boss/manager at Wawa, another Tony), he loved motorcycles (like Jerry, another secret-ish best friend crush from my middle school years, fit between the beginning and the end of my “Chris Phase”), he understood me like no one has ever before (like Eric, that insane and cherished Scorpio), he loved animals (like my dirty but sweet colleague from the hotel, John), he was crazy and kept me smiling whenever I couldn’t bear to smile anymore (like the other Eric, the young, non-Daddy, artist that I tried to break my Daddy pattern/cycle with), he was generous in the most natural way without any ulterior motives (like Larry, another guy who could make me laugh and understood my dark sense of humor and would come to visit me at work just to cheer me up), he loved sports (also like Larry), he read the newspaper everyday (again, like Larry) he was dangerous and a good mind fuck (like Tim, a man who changed my life forever in more ways than two), he was hairy like an animal which brought out the animal in me, for I never once scoffed at his hairy back (like aforementioned long-term Craig, who was a cuddly fur beast himself), he was walking sex (like Melissa, my biggest girl crush to date), he told great stories that I could listen to for hours (like Jim, my first foray into trying my best not to become attached to one-half of an open relationship), he was always up for an argument (like Cristoph, my Woody Allen-ish German comrade, nemesis and amazing friend), he was devoted and almost subservient (like K, the newest addition to my repertoire of found and lost lovers), he proudly touted around his rose-colored glasses and consumed my every thought (like Rob, the biggest love of my life)…

When he took the half empty half full glass of Pinot Noir out of my hand and placed it on the counter, preparing the full assault of the predator, I remembered to breathe. I readied myself for him to devour me, now trapped with no desire to be free, and then I realized – he didn’t exist at all.