Friday, March 03, 2006

Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

I finished watching "No Direction Home", Martin Scorcese's Bio-Pic of the great Bob Dylan, the other night. The cats and I were immersed in a time and place not so distant from that in which my brethren find themselves today, although today our collective voice is either non-existent or in the hands of Cindy Sheehan. I'd read Chronicles, Bob's autobiography, but being a young man whose mind lacks visual creative prowess, I needed the archive film to truly put those years into perspective. All week long the film's soundtrack has been jamming over and over on my speakers: old time folk songs such as This Land is My Land, A Hard Rain, songs that stoke the creative fires, stir the soul, bring consciousness to poetry I never thought lay within me. And I imagine to other fans across the sands of time, Dylan has been an inspiration, a member of a small group of lyrical poets unlike any singers since the minstrels of the middle ages: a man and a guitar with something to say, stories to tell, melodies of maladies and good times. He was a rebel, a creative genius, a moody bastard, and ultimately a human being. Reporters grilled him time and time again as to why it was he grew so popular so quickly, why the youth connected with his messages, where the inspirations for his topical poetry came from, whether or not he believed in that which he was saying, and other asinine trite questions. Watching, I could only sit back and laugh, giddy as a kid who caught his first fish, having the slightest understanding of what might have been going on in his head. "Piss off, I write what comes to mind because it sounds right, because I feel like it, because it's how I see what I see." They wouldn't understand, they couldn't understand. Dylan threw it out there for people to take it or leave, to enjoy or pay it no mind. It was either his way or Highway 61.

Dissidents of the sixties needed a leader, a prophet to light the way through the dark times of Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. The times may have been a changing, but they were still men and women, people who believed in spirits and truth and triumph, who enjoyed dancing and singing under a diamond sky. And along came a singer; a man not unlike many who'd come before him, who sang and who wrote and was influenced by the movements and ghosts of humanities past. They tried to cast a net and tangle him up as the voice of their cause, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He was an artist, not a leader. He was a wanderer, not a rock upon which they could build their church. And he went electric and they called him Judas, they booed and heckled and denied him their ears. In an instant they turned on him and closed their minds as humanity tends to do when faced with change, when their traditions have to be integrated and evolve, the divides crossed and ideas exchanged across races and generations. As Dylan said, though, it wasn't the music they were booing. Perhaps it was their own ignorance, or perhaps they were unhappy with themselves. They wanted someone to lead them through the changing times but grew afraid when the mirror reflected perverted electric visions of Maggie's sacred farm. Time progressed, Dylan's art evolved, and the controversy has long passed under the bridge, revealing itself as petty and selfish and hardly in the name of the revolution they were trying to lead. And generations to come were left with gems to jam late at night on stereos and IPODS, while holed up in their cubicles, alone, amongst friends; all eager to depart the here and now through the musical magic of a lyrical legend.

I wish I could identify the Dylan of my generation, but sadly I can't. There are plenty of great singer songwriters out there, but big business has such control over artistic expression's voice that anyone who tried would end up being sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger, releasing their own cologne, and whoring out to MTV cribs. Or maybe they wouldn't. Maybe the movement is out there. Maybe a Greenwich Village is in the midst of spawning somewhere as a group of artists speaks their collective voice loud and proud in the spirit of the times and turmoil in which our generation finds themselves. Hopefully through the trash heap of corporatemegamedia's distractions will rise one of my brethren whose voice will breathe new life and hope into our culture, filling it with knowledge and stories of future's past. Mr. Tambourine Man will play a song and we'll drink and laugh and dance the night away under a diamond sky with one hand waving free.

Bob Dylan..........
Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.


  • I am of that Dylan generation and I truly enjoyed reading your Blog today. I wish I'd been so astute and ariculate at my 27th year as you are. Great writing. Great thoughts. I adore everything about Dylan--even his grumpiness.

    Penelope (a fellow Libran)...

    By Anonymous Penny, at 12:14 PM  

  • ran into your entry on expectingrain.com, enjoyed your reading your reflections very much. i've seen the documentary. i dig dylan. i'm 35. "conservative" for the most part, and i really dig this dude.

    by the way, you write freakin well.

    -greetings from Houston
    and Dylan's biggest thirtysomething Christian chicano fan

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:18 PM  

  • hi im 16 and ive been listening to bob dylan since march of last year when i bought The Times....Changin' record (cd) and know that hes the greatest writer who has ever breathed a breath. maybe the greatest who will ever live, altough i sure as hell hope not because i would like 2 see, like u said, someone else like dylan come up from some greenwich village-like place somewhere and be for real not like an MTV sell-out. I totally admire and envy everything about bob dylan, and Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands is the greatest song ever written. Also love Last thoughts On Woody Guthrie (poem). By the way man you're a hell of a good writer you had exactly my thoughts. Thanx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 PM  

  • thank you so much for that. although I am not born from the golden age of human intelect and understanding,I wish to spread this wave of a time forgotten as much as i can in my own settings.It gives me an insurmountable joy that i'm not alone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 AM  

  • intellect, i mean...

    what a word to have a typo on...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:41 AM  

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