Song of the Week: “Watch Your Step” by Elvis Costello

About a year ago, I tore into a stack of old poetry, to add new layers, to return to another time in my life, and to have a dialogue with my younger self. I worked in a frenzy for several months. The result is a book Underdays, coming out in 2015 from Notre Dame University Press, and during the editing process I played songs from younger days.

One of these was “Watch Your Step,” by Elvis Costello. There’s something about this song that gets me every time: a weird warning, twisting turns of phrase, a touch of mystery, and toe-tapping melody from the Attractions.

Favorite lines? Hard to tell as there as so many. Perhaps:

Go out full of carnival desires
End up in the closing time choirs

A few lines of “Watch Your Step” made it into a poem “Steps,” and is now part of the layering in Underdays.

Martin Ott

A former U.S. Army interrogator, Martin Ott currently lives in Los Angles, where he writes poetry and fiction, often about his misunderstood city. He is the author of Captive, De Novo Prize winner (C&R Press), Poets’ Guide to America, co-written with John F. Buckley (Brooklyn Arts Press), and Interrogator’s Notebook (Story Merchant Books). His Writeliving blog has thousands of readers in more than 75 countries.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints? Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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