Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Bob I Trust



It is probably safe to say that hardly a day goes by that a line, a lyric or title from a song by Bob Dylan doesn't pop into my head. Like the semi-Semitic put-down of Mr. Wisenheimer, he has an answer for everything. I have read a biography or three on Mr. Dylan and I think it is safe to say, he doesn't sound like an easy guy to hang out with, let alone know. But how many artists are? Hell, Caravaggio was a street punk. But he says things in song that stay with you... that echo in your head, shake around a little until they make sense like the crack of thunder in the midst of a windy dark night. I could be just another ranting voice in the blogosphere. I could shout and scream I could rail at all... wait a minute-- that's the Glimmer Twins. Let's stay on topic. The words to Love Minus Zero/No Limit ring as true as they did over forty years ago. As they did before they were put to the rhythmic strum. In they dimestores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall... they come directly from memory, emblazoned as they are in my synapses and my soul. The truth and nothing more, but never anything less. I watched the candidates try to convince the public of their worthiness on 60 Minutes tonight. Sound bytes and senselessness. I am left with the skeletal truth. I thank the stars that John Hammond had the wisdom and foresight to get young Bob into a studio. And I thank Bob himself, for the cryptic conflictive contradictions and ultimately the richness of his words. I could link you to Youtube, but the video lessens rather than heightens. The visuals dull the brilliant shine and sharpness of the tone. The words stand on their own. We're living in a political world...

We live in a political world,
Love don't have any place.
We're living in times where men commit crimes
And crime don't have a face

We live in a political world,
Icicles hanging down,
Wedding bells ring and angels sing,
clouds cover up the ground.

We live in a political world,
Wisdom is thrown into jail,
It rots in a cell, is misguided as hell
Leaving no one to pick up a trail.

We live in a political world
Where mercy walks the plank,
Life is in mirrors, death disappears
Up the steps into the nearest bank.

We live in a political world
Where courage is a thing of the past
Houses are haunted, children are unwanted
The next day could be your last.

We live in a political world.
The one we can see and can feel
But there's no one to check, it's all a stacked deck,
We all know for sure that it's real.

We live in a political world
In the cities of lonesome fear,
Little by little you turn in the middle
But you're never why you're here.

We live in a political world
Under the microscope,
You can travel anywhere and hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope.

We live in a political world
Turning and a'thrashing about,
As soon as you're awake, you're trained to take
What looks like the easy way out.

We live in a political world
Where peace is not welcome at all,
It's turned away from the door to wander some more
Or put up against the wall.

We live in a political world
Everything is hers or his,
Climb into the frame and shout God's name
But you're never sure what it is.


©1989. Bob Dylan

1 comment:

davneely said...

Growing up in Nashville, we all felt sorry for Dylan because of his voice and his songs were kinda silly. Being in Nashville, we were used to silly country songs and then he came to town to record with some of my friends and my band did a version of like a rollin stone...a really easy song, but funny. When he sang "johnny's in the basement thinking 'bout the government" now that was cool. Then he pulled out a telecaster and his fans threw hot dogs at him and we really felt sorry for him but he survived. Dylan always looks bored and I think he hangs out with friends he can't stand but I think he's got a plan.... ya gotta have a plan.