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Month: October, 2013

Zimmerman, the Poet?

I found out Dylan might be up for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but there’s controversy because some folks feel his work shouldn’t be thrown into the same category as what they consider real poetry. One can’t altogether disagree—Dylan is a songwriter. Yet, there’s no ‘Yeah, yeah, yeahs’ or ‘Baby, baby,’ or as Robert Plant so delicately screeched, ‘AHHHHHHHAAAA!’ in the Immigrant Song. None of that (well, some of that). Dylan’s lyrics are standalone. They’re quotable; they’re readable. They relate to the human experience. They do not require music, it’s just that we have been lucky enough to have him provide that alongside the words, and very proficiently I might add.

Here’s a man who sat with Ginsberg, and whose name derives from Dylan Thomas, whose work echoes that of T.S. Eliot. He writes for the world, he writes for himself. Sometimes he hides in the words, sometimes he proselytizes, and then hides again. But one thing he’s never done is merely fit words to music. That, at least, is obvious.

I mean, listen to his voice.

Dylan is not around because he is a great singer. He is around because he is a great writer.

In Abandoned Love he writes: My patron saint is fighting with a ghost; he’s always off somewhere when I need him most; the Spanish moon is rising on the hill, but my heart is a tellin’ me I love you still.

In Things Have Changed he writes: Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes; I’m looking up into the sapphire tinted skies; I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train . . .

And in the recent Duquesne Whistle: Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowing, blowing through another no good town; the lights of my native land are glowing, I wonder if they’ll know me next time around; I wonder if that old oak tree’s still standing—that old oak tree, the one we used to climb . . .

She aches just like a woman . . .

Come gather round people whenever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown . . .

Early one morning the sun was shining, I was laying in bed, wondering if she’d changed it all, if her hair was still red . . .

They just keep coming—words for humans, words for life.

In one article it was stated that Dylan has received enough honors in his life to be satisfied, and that he is ‘too old’ and ‘too cranky’ to sit through another ceremony. I beg to differ. I really do. For those of us whose lives have been transformed, who can state without much difficulty the exact moment and place we were when Dylan’s words crept into our hearts and transformed us forever, it is very important that he receives this recognition. It means something to us. So, cranky or not, he should sit through another ceremony and receive another one of those pesky little metal thingies. Because, yes, it is that important. And yes, he does deserve it.

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Karma, karma, there’s always karma

Every morning I go to a website that gives free angel readings. Something to help me figure out how the hell I’m gonna get through another day. I like the angel cards that tell me Relax, everything’s fine, the angels are watching over you. Thank God, I say. Thank the freaking Lord something is watching over me. By midmorning, my relief has been replaced by paranoia. How am I going to pay for this bill, for that bill? Will my car tires last another week? Will my kids get sick again? Will we all get strep throat and end up on the couch watching marathons of Ghost Hunters on Syfy? I go back to the angels who tell me, Heaven is looking out for you.

I  breathe deep, do yoga, chant words I can’t pronounce with my fingers clamped together in delicate little teardrop shapes. I need the universe to work. Good things need to happen.

The angels want you to know you are special. 

All your troubles will be over soon.

Keep reaching for the highest potential of prosperity. 

Don’t give up.

I want to believe them. Okay, okay. I do believe them. I’m a pollyanna at heart. I hug trees and wear Chinese good luck beads. Someday something wonderful is gonna happen. It’s just building, that’s all. Like one great big pulsating volcano of good luck.

Tomorrow will be your perfect day.

I believe you, angels. I really do.

Thank you, Sinead O’Connor

An unacceptable amount of time always seems to pass before I voice an opinion on current events. The reason is that I philosophize the crap out of everything. I’m never too sure of those who squawk their opinions right on the vapor trail of a news story. It always feels like it’s more emotionally based, their viewpoint, and not so much one centered on careful and considerate thought. Believe me, I’m guilty the aforementioned crime. I’ve yapped my opinion and then defended my opinion and then ended up alone wishing I hadn’t been so loud with my opinion. You know what they say about that, right? That opinions are like assholes?

But anyway, what I wanted to talk about was this whole Miley Cyrus thing that happened, what?, like a month ago or something. She’s still on the news every freaking day, so this topic isn’t completely stale. Like many people, I didn’t actually catch her little MTV performance when it happened, but from what I saw it was a real circus act. I mean, I’m all for someone feeling good about themselves and flaunting their body, but Miley was like a cat in heat, and if you’ve ever been around a cat in heat, you know what I mean. The whole performance seemed to be less about artistic and personal freedom, and more like a kid who’d walked into a strip club for the first time. It didn’t make Miley look good, in my eyes, and it didn’t make me want to buy her music. No one spoke afterwards of her musical talent. And wasn’t the music supposed to be the whole reason for her performance? Here’s the other thing: Miley is and still looks like a child to me. It’s a bit discomforting to see any childish figure bumping and grinding around barely dressed. That’s not entertainment . . . that’s something else. Something gross and icky.

And here’s the other, other thing. When Sinead O’Conner so graciously sent Miley that wise and incredibly touching letter to help her understand why flaunting her young body to the world might be a little bit of a bad career choice—something Miley’s parents should have done—Miley basically laughed in Sinead’s face and went on with her foam finger act. Well, that’s when I became truly offended. That letter was nothing short of amazing. We should all wish to have a famous music legend stop everything to write us a note of love and guidance in our crummy, miserable, lonely lifetimes. Since Miley didn’t say the magic words, and since Sinead’s beautiful letter touched the rest of us, I want to be the one to say: THANK YOU. Thank you, Sinead for caring about the female race. About all humans. Thank you. Thank you.

Last night on the ABC news with Diane Sawyer a report was aired about the emergence of corsets. It showed women being laced and snapped up so tightly that closeups revealed pinched skin with welts and layers of tissue pressed into lines that looked raw as red meat. What these women don’t know, and what they may never know, is that our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought hard to free themselves of the imprisonment of corsets. They wanted to breathe and run and do more than linger around the house feeling half-full of air. They fought hard to vote and to work outside of the home. They fought hard for equal pay and equal treatment in all aspects of their lives. Some suffered emotional and societal damage. Many were scorned and laughed at. Many never saw success. Some never lived to see freedom. And now we want to put corsets on again? We want to strip down and flash our skin and call it empowering?

I can’t believe it.

Real empowerment is honoring yourself—and others—and making choices based on dignity. There’s nothing wrong with being confident in your body, or of your sexual choices. But there is something wrong with constantly using your sex to gain attention. It’s not how the ERA won the right to vote. Think about that. If you want to be a good songwriter, write a good fucking song. If you want to make a statement to the world, open your mouth and speak. Mothers never give birth to their daughters, raise them, teach them everything they know, just so that they can fling themselves into a circus of flesh. Mothers want their daughters to know self-worth, love, respect and freedom.

And that’s all I got to say about that.