Posts Tagged ‘co opted’

Ode To Bob Dylan

May 30, 2014

Dylan getting medal harness

“Just bite down on that metal bit, I’ll saddle ye up in a minute, good boy!”

*

SO….

first he makes a Superbowl TV commercial for cars, then he gets a medal from the Prez. A Facebook friend posted a picture from this ceremony recently which prompted me to recall a quote I attributed to Jean Cocteau but now can’t seem to find any mention of despite doing quite a bit of Internet searching. I always end up with a similiar but actually completely different quote from Ghandi.

(*Any readers who recognize my paraphrase and know the correct attribution, do get in touch.)

It goes something like this:

“There are three ways the establishment tries to suppress the revolutionary artist: first they ignore him, then they ridicule him, and when all else fails they heap him with honours.”

If it was Cocteau, then he probably didn’t use the word “establishment”, that’s a rather 60s terminology, but then again, particularly apropos in the given context.

So coincidentally, just a few days later, while doing a bit of poetry archaeology (otherwise known as randomly digging through boxes of old journals in search of surprises) I came across this “Ode to Dylan” written back in 2006. Not really a poem, more of a polemic really. It’s tempting to revise it, edit it, make it better, but I resisted and not just out of laziness, but because I thought the subject and the content matched the “rough draft spew” feel o the piece.

Had no memory of ever having written such a thing and don’t know what prompted it. I don’t think about Bob Dylan a lot really.

*****
Ode to Bob Dylan (09/04/06)

Of all the many things

that have been written or said about Dylan

Very little has been spoken or writ

about how fucking lucky he was

genius? sure so what

don’t genius scrub floors every day

trying to milk a meal

from an eked-out wage?

 

Dylan was lucky

 

he was the boy with the goods

who happened to stumble into the marketplace

on the day all the other sellers had the same old merch

 

but today

oh today

could it happen again?

could some wild balladeer

break past the empty-headed

superficial McDonna infested

crapburger emporium of glitzy shit

of gilded gem-encrusted rancid turds

could milk and honey ambrosia

ever sate the twisted appetite

of hordes raised on sour poison curds?

 

i think not

i’m sorry

i’m a bummer

do i bore you?

 

well forgive me and remember

there’s always t.v.

which you can switch on and off

unlike, i’m sorry, me

 

others were 21 and precocious once

but culture didn’t give em

their Dylan chance

and the poets i knew

who inspired with the deep grey expanse

of their knowing eyes

have mostly died

or moved to Amsterdam

to slyly disintegrate or at least disappear

better than bowing to the man

i guess

 

but what sweet caressses were

 

in their wayward words

their ways / their weird

their woes

i heard it all

and i say

 

Dylan was fucking lucky

that he got listeners

 

for the poet with no receptive ears

is like a stag with no deers

like a frog with no pond

a palm tree with only a trunk

and no fronds

to wave

it’s like half an equasion

an evasion

an incomplete…

and it has driven poets mad

 

(why do you think so many of em

sleep / in the street?)

 

this is a crass age

an aeon of fakes

a full-time temporary circus

of freaks

Food Fat millionaires broadcast

televised plastic surgeries

and run contests to find their next

disposable stooges

 

Eat Eat Eat Eat Eat Eat Eat

then let ‘em cut away your meat

flog it on eBay

be notorious for a day

 

oh Dylan

Dylan

Dylan

I love you

but seriously

you didn’t have to deal with this shit

my man!

 

those were innocent times

when your innocent rhymes

could blow people’s minds

 

what’s your angle

your gimmick

your marketing strategy?

no they never asked those of the holy thee

did they?

 

no they sold you

as is

you were free to

express

i think you may even have dressed

yourself

what no stylist?

Leaping Lizards

call an ambulance!

 

No you were left

to be yourself

and never to my knowledge

past the age of 20 anyway

did you have to wait tables

 

i keep slipping into the 2nd person

when I want to stay in the third

 

I meant to say “he”

and not “you”

 

because Dylan isn’t listening

 

after all these years of being heard

inaccessible

 

in a crystal castle

encased in a legend

sculpted in marble

emblazoned with the honour brand

that stamped him as

ARTIST

the irony is of course

that now

Dylan is not among us

 

His friends, his heirs

even I would venture

some of his superiors

are all kept securely

behind the barriers

 

of fame

 

that special distance

people crave and hate

it is the mark of success

and the curse of this same fate

once you reach the spotlight

hit centre stage

You can’t turn around

and be friends with the rough trade

 

the people on whose floors

once you kipped

are nonentities now

and not unless you slip

back into obscurity

will you even remember the old phone numbers of these

old nobodies

 

Cruel aint it?

well so then don’t go for it

oh but baby you know you want it

want to have it / so you can despise it

 

Maybe Dylan wasn’t so lucky after all

 

Amen

 

 

 

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