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touch deprivation

from by diane cluck

/

lyrics

they did an experiment with babies
back in world war two
and the babies all were orphans
so no one cared or knew
they called it 'touch deprivation'
and this is what they did
if a baby started crying
or put a hand out from its crib--

the nurses glid on by as if they'd seen nothing at all
the nurses glid on by and checked the chart off
on the wall, writing
“nothing unusual here--
subjects continue rocking
back and forth as if they sense
a thunderstorm is coming”

and that flock of springtime babies
nesting quiet in the lab
were just fistfuls of feathers
stuffing pillows after that
and those second world war nurses
who had killed the orphan kids
lived out cursed lives as spinsters
in trade for what they did

they did a similar experiment in new york

and this is what they did--
they rolled out the sheets of tarmac
and sliced them into grid
then they filled the maze with people
but they told them not to touch
they convinced them it weren't civilized
and we believed as much

why do you apologize when you bump into my arm on the train ?
and you apologize three times
like it really ever caused anyone harm or pain
being bumped into
do you know you are the first person to touch me
in a month ?
and sometimes i like the feeling of accidental touch

an experiment with ladies
with ladies and with men
we could decide to lose our language
so that we might try our skin
strangers piggyback each other
for thrill of contact sport
and i finally could talk to you
but this time without words

cuz you don't realize how you pollute the game
when you keep speaking circles
and your circles sound the same
saying, 'i'm fine. how are you ?
i'm good. how are you ?
i'm fine. how are you ?
i'm good. how are you ?
i'm finding it hard to relate to
situations where i am asked to speak...

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from diane cluck, track released December 1, 2000

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