Writer's Commentary- Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

On Post: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Date: January 7
Growing up, this was one of the first albums I really hooked into as “music.” In the car one day my dad had the tape (yes, tape…I’m aged, ok?) and said to me, “Listen to this, I think you’ll like it.” In fact, that first song in question was, I believe, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. In any case, he was right and subsequently, Paul Simon became my first “favorite” artist. R.E.M. would replace him soon after but he has and will always occupy a special place in my music appreciation bones.
Anyway, this song, to me, always seemed to be the story of improbable love. She’s rich, he’s not, but they still do things like take drugs (“She makes the sign of a teaspoon”) and almost make it to dancing (“She said honey take me dancing/But they ended up as sleeping in the doorways/Of the lights and the bodegas on upper Broadway”). Obviously, as an adult I recognize things are little more complicated than they initially appeared to me.
This story, however, is sort of the dark reflection of that initial impression and it hitched on the line, “She says, ‘You’ve taken me for granted because I please you/Wearing these diamonds of the soles of my shoes.’” In the song, that’s sort of pushed back. Ultimately, they both end up wearing diamonds to combat those walking blues. But, to me, that sounded like the moment where it could all fall apart. So that’s what I made happen.
The next piece was, “Why did they end up in the doorway?” That led to, “Well, what if they aren’t sleeping, but dead?” I thought that was good but meant that my lead could not be the one “asleep.” So, I had a relationship falling apart on this end, two dead people in a doorway on the other. It kind of wrote itself at that point.
A word about the picture: apparently the story of the image is the “bride” was actually a woman who’s wedding was called off by her fiancée. She put on her dress one day anyway and somehow—no one knows how and could see no means of doing it—climbed about this doorway in one of the borough of New York City—Queens, I believe, but I could be wrong—and went to sleep. It turned out she had a history of mental illness and was not taking her medication at the time. When the ex-fiancée was located, he confessed he had broken it off because she was mentally ill and did not always take her meds.
As a nearly psychologist, that makes my blood boil. I understand that was a hard situation for him and maybe he made the right choice to protect himself. But to tell the press that? Seems like overkill to me. She doesn’t need anyone to “out” her as having a disorder. Not cool ex-fiancée, not cool.
Anyway, I knew none of that when I selected the image or I might not have. On its own, it is just a fascinating looking picture. Also, pictures of people in doorways who aren’t homeless are very hard to find. I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense, but it made getting an image for this one hard to find.

My explanation not ring true? Do you have questions that this piece left unanswered? Reach out and touch me at tim.g.stevens@gmail.com or @ungajje on the Twitter. And, as always, spread the word.