An Argentine Tango Poem by Albert Sheppard

La Femme Fatale
The Cafe de Sal


Слова Альберт В. Шеппард
Albert V. Sheppard



A magnificent lady in a black evening gown stood all-alone in a dimly lit corner of the Café de Sal.
The light of her aura said beware tangueros ...beware of La femme fatale!

She put on her music and a sweet Tango began to play.
I had a premonition that this was the day when the blood, rose and dagger will pass my way.

The wide down-turned brim of her black silk hat
...cast a shadow over her face ...her luring eyes ...hypnotic ...lurking like a cat.

Bright red over-painted tempestuous lips belied the gentility of her silent elegant frame.
I knew my heart was facing danger but I was falling in love all the same.

Was she unaware of the three tangueros and me starring? ...No one knows
...as she lifted her dress and straightened the seam in her jet-black fishnet hose.

My heart jumped, blood rushed to my head and I could not breathe.
I thought certainly I should run for my life but I had no will and could not leave.

As she raised her head we saw the cold blue fire in her eyes.
Then we knew that only one compadrito would ever claim this prize.

A fight to the death to quench our lust and passion ...NO LESS!
In the end she would see which one of us was best.

May the victor dance in eternal bliss
...perchance a Tango and an immortalizing kiss.

Cold steel knives flashing fear and sweat
A thrust a parry a whip a kick a cut Oh God I felt my bloodlett'.

...but soon I stood alone and saw the other tangueros were no more.
...my outstretched hand for the lady to dance as she hurried across the floor.

"Don't cry for me," I said as I saw the compassion in her face.
"If this is to be my last Tango, I couldn't think of a better place."

The Lady's eyes welled with tears as the last tanguero ceased to dance ...slipped her embrace and died at her feet.
"How could I have known that my Tango would have such a tragic and deadly beat?"

She plucked a rose from her hair and dropped the red petals upon each man.
...then disappeared into the night and was never heard from or seen again.

The old milongueros say that before he died he danced the greatest Tango of all time.
...that this dance of love was born of pain, frustration and sorrow is humanity's greatest crime.

Since that day the story has been told and passed on for many years
The compadritos gave their lives for Tango and painted the floor with their blood, sweat and tears.

So if ever a man should be tempted to tango at the Café de Sal
I pray he dare not enter if he sees La Femme Fatale.


Written by
Albert V. Sheppard
April 18, 2003
for a melody on my mind
...because I too...


An Argentine Tango Poem by Albert Sheppard


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Volver by Carlos Gardel

Garlos Gardel

From Wikipedia: Carlos Gardel (11 December 1890 – 24 June 1935) was a singer, songwriter and actor, and is perhaps the most prominent figure in the history of tango. He was born in Toulouse, France, although he never acknowledged his birthplace publicly, and there are still claims of his birth in Uruguay. (See below.) He lived in Argentina from the age of two and acquired Argentine citizenship in 1923. He grew up in the Abasto neighborhood of Buenos Aires. He attended Pio IX Industrial high-school located in the Almagro neighborhood of Buenos Aires. He died in an airplane crash at the height of his career, becoming an archetypal tragic hero mourned throughout Latin America. For many, Gardel embodies the soul of the tango style. He is commonly referred to as "Carlitos", "El Zorzal" (The Song Thrush), "The King of Tango", "El Mago" (The Magician) and "El Mudo" (The Mute).

The unerring musicality of Gardel's baritone voice and the dramatic phrasing of his lyrics made miniature masterpieces of his hundreds of three-minute tango recordings. Together with lyricist and long-time collaborator Alfredo Le Pera, Gardel wrote several classic tangos, most notably: Mi Buenos Aires querido, Cuesta abajo, Amores de estudiante, Soledad, Volver, Por una cabeza and El día que me quieras.


Although I teach and mostly know Salsa, Argentine Tango "rules" and one day in this lifetime I will master it!

I have studied with some GREAT tango instructors... Christy, Mayumi, Alex, Maija and others in Portland Oregon and San Francisco... but I am still a beginner. I shall return!

Albert V. Sheppard