May 3, 2006

I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade

When Dylan Left Hibbing, Minnesota, August 1959
-- by John Hodgen

Not even Dylan then, more like David the Blue-Eyed Shepherd Boy Giant Killer instead, the way he must have looked in those Golden Book Illustrated Bible Stories we never read, the ones with the pictures of the prophets, each with a gold record stuck to his head, or like the Classic Comics Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov rocking and rolling on his bed, heading on down the highway out of St. Petersburg, the landlord's axe still in the shed, throwing stones at all the stop signs a-bleeding in his head.

Wasn't he a singing terrorist then, slaying us in the aisles, knocking us dead, like some wild-eyed kid from Fallujah now, his machine gun guitar slipped over his head, his ass in a sling, his mind full of dynamite, his righteous streets turning red, his only song his heaven's door, toward which he runs, arms outspread. Oh, Zimmerman, we never heard a single word you ever said, from Ararats to ziggurats, from alpha down to zed, our heads cut off, our tongues cut out, no words left to be said, all the things we've ever loved, dead, dead, dead, dead.

-- by Frank Stanford

while my mother is washing the black socks
Of her religion,
I climb out of the washtub,
Stinking clean like the moon and the suds
In my ass,
The twenty she earned last week in my teeth,
My shoes and my pistol wrapped in my pants,
Slip off the back porch
And head down the road, buck naked and brave,
But lonely, because it's fifteen hours
By bus to the capital
And nobody will know
How it feels to nail down a heart
Black as tarpaper.
Mother, when you beat out my quilt tomorrow,
Remember the down in the sunlight,
Because I did not sleep there.
Remember, come evening, the last hatch of mayflies,
Because I won't.
They are evil, mother, and I am
Going to take it all out, in one motion,
The way you taught me to clean a fish,
Until all that is left is the memory of their voice,
And I will work that dark loose
From the backbone with my thumb.
Mother, the sad dance on fire.

Miles Davis On Art
-- by Lawrence Raab

"The only way to make art," Miles Davis
said, "is to forget what is unimportant."
That sounds right, although the opposite
also feels like the truth. Forget
what looks important, hope it shows up.

later to surprise you. I understand
he meant you've got to clear
your mind, get rid of everything
that doesn't matter. But how can you tell?
Maybe the barking of a dog at night.

is exactly what you need
to think about. "Just play within
the range of the idea,"
Charlie Parker said. The poem
that knows too quickly what's important

will disappoint us. And sometimes
when you talk about art
you mean it, sometimes you're just
fooling around. but once he had the melody
in place, he could never leave it behind

and go where he wanted, trusting
the beautiful would come to him, as it may
to a man who's worked hard enough
to be ready for it. And he was,
more often than not. That was what he knew.


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