Big sun coming strong through the motel blinds
Wake up to your girl for now, let's call her Cleopatra
This segment marks the beginning of the present-day segment of the song. These lines could also suggest that the first part of the song was a dream. The “cheetahs” (cheaters) are both dead at the end of the first part and have been sent to the tomb, where they are lying (dead). In the second part they are still lying together, but waking up, starting the present-day part. At the end of the first part the narrator is also talking about “bad dreams”, which could be a clue too.
Here, the ancient Cleopatra has been replaced by a woman of equal beauty. This woman’s nickname is a nod to the original Cleo, who is remembered as a world-class looker. One ancient writer noted:
For she was a woman of surpassing beauty, and at that time, when she was in the prime of her youth, she was most striking; she also possessed a most charming voice and knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to everyone. Being brilliant to look upon and to listen to, with the power to subjugate everyone, even a love-sated man already past his prime
The narrator of this song keeps the relationship between the two Cleos ambiguous. Is one literally the reincarnation of the other? Is there no relation other than the name? Ocean leaves the answer skillfully ambiguous
In addition, the use of the sun to open this verse is not accidental. Ra was the Egyptian sun god, and one of the culture’s major deities
Note that the motel blinds, which stand metonymically for prostitution, filter the light of the god, even as this woman’s true Egyptian greatness is filtered through the the impurity and degradation of prostitution.
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