Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon…
(Bob Dylan – “It’s Alright Ma”)
I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s pretty punchy poetry. Martin Scorsese asked Bob Dylan where that came from, and Dylan said he didn’t know.
I always laugh when I hear about all these people who say they were influenced by Bob Dylan. The celebritiy tributes are downright embarassing. Johnny Winter leaves out two verses of Highway 61 (God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son.”/ Abe said, “Man, you must be putting me on.”) and plays another verse twice.
It is an incontrovertible fact that the only people who really understood Bob Dylan at the time were Vernon and Ian and me. So since Ian has passed away, that leaves Vernon and me. The rest of these people, Springsteen included, had absolutely no clue what he was talking about.
But we’ll let those nutcakes have their fun. Me and Vernon, we know. “They’re selling postcards of the hanging…”
Here’s some more Dylan that’s been stuck in my head for thirty years, from “Desolation Row”:
“Cinderella, she seems so easy.
‘It takes one to know one,’ she sighs,
Then puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style.
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning,
‘You belong to me, I believe.’
And someone says, ‘You’re in the wrong place, my friend.
You’d better leave.’
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go,
Is Cinderella, sweeping up, on Desolation Row.”
One more, from “Visions of Johanna”:
“And Madonna, she still has not showed.
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once it flowed.
The fiddler, he now steps to the road.
He writes ‘Everything’s been returned which was owed.’
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes.”