Lovely. The end. (That’s the kind of quality commentary I bring to blogging.)
I <3 this poem by Taylor Mali very much. I’m saying that with conviction.
PS: The text is an excerpt from the poem “Mutability” by Shelley.
Via Vimeo HD channel
Ambition is a torpedo fueled by a ticking clock and the red-lined limits of your ability. This is, and at the same time is not, the 1st deliverable for this challenge. I realized about a week ago that the project I was working on for the first piece would not be ready in time due to my ambition torpedo. And not be ready by a long shot (as a result, it’s now the last deliverable in this series. A thousand pardons and shameful forelock tugging as a back away).
But like any good cooking show, here is one I prepared earlier. It’s the understudy “Bathroom”. Of all the projects I have planned, this is the only one that uses the entire poem, and as a result the least derivative or “inspired by”. And anyone who’s ever sat through any of my presentations will recognize my style. But I’m digging how it takes a flat and lifeless piece of text and gives it a bit of a lift. The biggest challenge was sourcing images. I limited my flickr search to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License images that could be “remixed” to cover myself for any cropping and changing levels. I’ve reprinted the poem with links to the photos on the words they were used for. Click through to see images in full glory.
“BATHROOM” image credit list.
The jack hammer of the brain on the street
The synapse of the garbage deposit
The pink and grey matter of the doesn’t matter
They all point, lead, stretch, flex
to the same thing.
Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate, applies his soothing v/o to the poem “Forgetfulness” in this piece, animated by Julian Grey of Headgear.
JWT New York have produced animations of a bunch of his poems – see them at their YT channel.
Via 43 folders clips
All results will posted on the front page as they are created, then archived at Challenge central. Keep your brains nimble, kids!
Love the simplicity of these poems, compiled in wonderfully censored way. Newspaper Blackout Poems are the works of Austin Kleon, a writer who draws. And it’s just one category on his blog, which I enjoyed digging into this Saturday morning.
When people ask me who my favorite author is, the first thing I do is panic. It’s as if the very phrasing of that question presses a button in my brain that wipes out all names instantly. It makes me look daft. Like I’ve never even read a book, let alone committed a favorite author’s name to memory. Even just typing this paragraph has made my brain go into a “pop-pop-fizz-tizz, oh what a wonderful dolt you is.”
Still, when they ask me and I panic and try reach for a name, I often see a knowing little look approach their face from the port side of their judgment boats.
It’s a look that says, “Oh, you must be so well un-read.”
You know what? Screw it. No more.
Next time, I’m not even going to bother ransacking the memory cupboard – there’s always Bob. And when I say Bob, I’m not talking about my ever-disappearing accent. I’m talkin’ the Zimmerman, with a capital D.
I love Bob Dylan. But not in that creepy girl way that I saw at the first and last Dylan concert I ever went to, let’s just get that straight. My love is warm and cockley. Red cheeked, blushy and smooth.
So I thought I’d share with you my three favorite Bob Dylan songs. It’s hard to narrow them down to three, so if there are four just blame my non-math brain. Don’t believe I have a non-math brain? Let’s go to lunch sometime and you can watch me try and work out the tip.
But I digress. My favorite Bob Dylan songs.
He can’t help it if he’s lucky. He really can’t!
Like most newbies I approached Bob using the patented “best of” compilation technique. It’s an easy intro, like a future alcoholic starting out on Baileys, you want something pleasant tasting ‘til you’re mature enough to handle the harder stuff.
I bought the album at a music store in Canberra in the 90s. In that time between leaving university and actually getting off your arse and getting a job. In Australia, this time is called “Being on the Dole.”
The album was called Masterpieces. 3 discs. Bang-age to buck-age proportion = high. If I knew anything about mathematics, I could tell you what an important dole equation that is.
I can’t remember ever really listening to it back then. I mean really LISTENING beyond having it play in the background as I perfected my “sitting around on my arse doing nothing much of anything” abilities.
But then Idiot Wind left my orbit of self-absorption and burned a trail hotter than Sputnik right through my crust. (Sounds hot, don’t it?)
I’d heard it before, of course. But on this one particular day, that song sported a new gait as it entered the saloon. It walked right up to my idiot brain and slapped it, right in the idiocy of my ignorance. I couldn’t stop listening to it.
What did it all mean? All these words dripping and sliding and making my brain go pfstz! How can he tell such a long, emotional and complex story in one, simple song. It’s got snarl. It’s got fire.
He can be mean
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzin’ around your eyes
Blood on your saddle.
You’re an idiot babe, it’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
Take that, bitch! And you listen and think it’s all about one thing, one destroyed relationship, and all the blame and bitterness that comes with it.
And then he turns it back on itself.
We’re idiots, babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.
I got really interested in structure with this song. Just look at how he weaves the whole narrative with a theme he keeps driving home, but then gives you such a great resolution. They’re BOTH idiots. They both hold a share of the blame. It hit home very hard for me at that time in my life, and to be honest, I’m not 100% why. When I get messed up enough to need a therapist, I’m going to bring this subject up.
Anyway, this was the first song to put water into my Bob pond. And when you fall in the water, kids, you better swim like Johnny Weissmuller or an aligator’ll eat you.
How to woo a Noodle
Let’s say I meet you somewhere. We start to chat. You tell me Tombstone Blues is the best Dylan song you’ve ever heard. My pants hit the floor.*
Tombstone Blues. Favorite. Song. Ever. Full stop. Game over. Time. The End.
This is Bob Dylan layin’ on the sofa with his best writing undies on. Hard Rain gallops along the same track, but for me, nothing tops the Tombestone.
This section KILLS me (and of course, this blog owes its name to it).
Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, “Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?”
The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, “Death to all those who would whimper and cry”
And dropping a bar bell he points to the sky
Saving, “The sun’s not yellow it’s chicken”
It’s an amazing song that’s as intricately woven as grandma’s heirloom quilt. The way he drools out “swagger”, the alliteration of the “pied pipers in prison”, the name-dropping. I tell you, this song eases me and cools me and ceases the pain. It’s a masterpiece, and I don’t care if you agree with me or not.
I’m not crying. I’m just cutting onions.
Ok, so now I have one song left, and I don’t know what to pick. My Back Pages? A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall? Restless Farewell? Highway 61 Revisited? Sheesh, why did I say I was only gonna pick three?
Ok, I choose The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.
I choose it because Zanzinger is my gamertag, and it’s a great example of powerful, jaw-clenching, story telling that makes you feel the injustice of the time and marvel at the poetry of it.
William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll. He was a 24-year-old, tobacco farming arsehole who thought – rightfully as it turned it – that he could get away almost scott-free for killing a “maid of the kitchen”.
What a shitty story to listen to. She’s fifty one, has lead a hard life, and now finds herself “slain by a cane”. Geez. Each verse is pretty raw, but while you’re listening, you have to wait for your damn crying cue. Don’t cry yet, kids. Not yet. Because, hold on to your tear ducts, there’s injustice is wearing a tiara and she ain’t even made her entrance yet.
And that last verse builds and builds. “The ladder of law has no top and no bottom.” You think he’s gonna get his just chocolate sundae, but no. Six months!
Now cry, dirtbags!
I don’t offer these songs as the supreme Dylan songs, by the way. These are just the ones that mean something to me – and I restricted myself to his earlier works because it helped me settle on three. By reading (and listening to) Dylan I have become a conscious and alive writer. I think about the structure of story, the way words sit down at the table together, and more recently, about how you need to devote your life to things you’re passionate about and pursue them with vigor.
Your Bob pond feels one song short
Ok, quick one to overflow. Name this song.
If I were to choose a fourth song, this song this line is from would be it. There’s a bucket-load of Dylan word play in it, and each listen reveals something new. If you’re looking for a walking soundtrack as you’re heading down Lexington today New Yorkers, take Bob for a walk with you. He’s very good company.
* Not a guarantee, but you’re off to a good start.