Egypt Sung: Ballads For Troubadours

I know I want to sing
So I know I can.
—Kyp Malone


Why did I write two songs about Egypt? O Reader, I had plenty of time.

My Eid Goat

Christmas brings a great deal to television, in themes and movies and commercial bumpers. The Mohammedan festival of Id al-Adha is no different. The bumper, a 3D cartoon, begins with a nervous looking sheep. A butcher’s cleaver falls from off screen just next to the beast’s head, who then collapses on his side in an expanding pool of blood. This similarly themed song is set to the tune of that classic nursery school rhyme, My Highland Goat. The notes at the end of each line are for the kids singing along—it is, after all, a childrens’ song.

Oh my Eid goat (e-oat-e-oat-e-oat)
Was feeling fine (e-ine-e-ine-e-ine)
Until he saw (e-aw-e-aw-e-aw)
What's on my mind (e-ind-e-ind-e-ind)

It’s time for Eid (e-eid-e-eid-e-eid)
The crowd grew nigh (e-eye-e-eye-e-eye)
Out in the street (e-eet-e-eet-e-eet)
That goat must die (e-eye-e-eye-e-eye)

They took my goat (e-oat-e-oat-e-oat)
And tied his feet (e-eet-e-eet-e-eet)
We were all ready (e-ady-e-ady-e-ady)
For some fresh meat (e-eat-e-eat-e-eat)

I took my knife (e-ife-e-ife-e-ife)
And slashed his throat (e-oat-e-oat-e-oat)
The blood did spill (e-ill-e-ill-e-ill)
Out of my goat (e-oat-e-oat-e-oat)

We cut him up (e-up-e-up-e-up)
With our chainsaw (e-aw-e-aw-e-aw)
And took the parts (e-arts-e-arts-e-arts)
And stacked them raw (e-aw-e-aw-e-aw)

We cooked him up (e-up-e-up-e-up)
On our hot grill (e-ill-e-ill-e-ill)
Now my poor goat (e-oat-e-oat-e-oat)
Just a smeared kill (e-ill-e-ill-e-ill)

Now I am full (e-ull-e-ull-e-ull)
But I do fear (e-ear-e-ear-e-ear)
I’ll need a goat (e-oat-e-oat-e-oat)
For Eid next year (e-ear-e-ear-e-ear)

The Bedbug Blues

Our beds for 18 days in Dahab were infested with bedbugs, those “small, elusive, and parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae” (Wikipedia) that rise hungrily as you fall to rest. We saw them scurrying on the walls and pillows and sheets around 2 a.m. Like roaches, the durable pests refused to be crushed or battered. Amelia had experience with the deadly snakes and spiders of Oz, and she decapitated the parasites with a small, sharp knife. Ah, dear Cimex lectularius, for all our lost sleep in those late hours of unexpected carnage, I wrote this song for thee on the train back from Aswan.

I'm trying to sleep,
They're trying to eat.
I got some bedbugs
Between my sheets.

They come out at night,
I'm feeling them bite.
Leave a buffet line of welts
When I turn out the light.

I got the bedbug blues,
I got the bedbug blues,
Won't sleep tonight,
I got the bedbug blues.

I feel little footsteps,
They creep down my spine.
I turn to my baby,
She's out of her mind.

Hopping all over,
Tangled up in her hair.
Those nightly terrors,
Run back to their lair.

She's got the bedbug blues,
She's got the bedbug blues,
Won't sleep tonight,
She's got the bedbug blues.

I go to the manager,
We got an infestation.
He sends up the bellboy.
To fumigate our vacation.

Ten cans of Raid,
Well they aren't enough.
They get us high,
But bedbugs are tough.

We got the bedbug blues,
We got the bedbug blues,
Won't sleep tonight,
We got the bedbug blues.

I asked the Lord,
Have mercy, Lord please.
They're drinking my blood,
Soon as sun's down on me.

I'm trying to sleep,
They're trying to eat.
We can't get along,
I'm no piece of meat.

I got the bedbug blues,
I got the bedbug blues,
Won't get no sleep tonight,
I got the bedbug blues.

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