Last time I saw Jeannine, we lost most of our time
In the company of friends who were neither hers nor mine
Castaways in different cities, working through some breaks
Regretting our vocations, scared of making more mistakes
And we talked of where we’d been
How we’d passed the interim
Since the last time together, building up
A wall of coffee cups and cigarette ends
Keeping our last rendezvous
At least, it looks to be the last we’ll keep
The last time I saw Jeannine, we lost most of our time
Talking of ourselves in terms of once upon a time
Clinging to the wreckage of lives we’d left behind
Hoping for the miracle we lost somewhere in time
And shied away from conversation
Of ourselves but in relation
To each other, but together, building up
A wall of alibis half-spoken
And chances we were missing
At least, from here it seems we’ve missed them all
By David Harley, copyright 1973
The first line does, I suppose, invite comparison with Joni Mitchell’s ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard’, though I didn’t hear that until several years later. But I suppose you could also compare it to ‘The Last Time I Saw Paris’ or ‘Last Time He Saw Marie‘ if you really wanted, and you’d still be wrong. Personally I prefer the Mitchell song, but this has a certain nostalgic je ne sais quoi. See what I did there?
And for anyone whose interested in any biographical elements, the lady’s name wasn’t Jeannine or Richard, and it was Bangor (North Wales), not Paris.
I just realized that I also used the line ‘Last time I saw…’ in Diane. Probably Diane is the better song, and written about someone completely different. Whose name was not Diane, Richard or Jeannine.
Anyway, I promise not to use the line again. Probably.