Friday, December 12, 2008


(NOTE: The following is a re-run from December 2007)


I read books
They don’t read me

I love horses
They don’t ride me

I paint paintings
They don’t paint me

I love motorcycles
They don’t steer me

I watch movies
They don’t watch me

I love ukuleles
They don’t play me

I sing songs
They don’t sing
Me, me and only me.

Let me tell you
There once was a really wild one
She read me all the way through

I love books
But they can’t read me

Yesterday I went downtown, somewhat apprehensively, to see Todd Hayne's film, "I'm Not There" at The Pickford. There was a sign on the ticket window with an apology. The film hadn't arrived in time for the 12:50 showing. I drove downtown again for the 3:40 show, where there were plenty of empty seats.

I was surprised at the level at which I was "moved" by what is certainly a peculiar and challenging movie. As I am writing this and listening to the soundtrack from "I'm Not There," Marcus Carl Franklin starts singing "When The Ship Comes In":

". . . A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline.
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck,
The hour that the ship comes in . . . "

The 37-song soundtrack introduces me to the music of a distinctive assortment of younger voices singing Bob Dylan songs, including a teenage actor from the film, Marcus Carl Franklin, as well the older voices of Richie Havens, Willie Nelson and Rambling Jack Elliott.

And I have no trouble at all understanding how a person could find nothing good at all to say about Todd Hayne's film or Bob Dylan and his music.

I'm one of those who never stopped listening to Bob Dylan, for good or for worse, because I felt a kinship with him that has survived since I was 14 years old. I began by idolizing him and grew to appreciate what I see as his qualities of being a vulnerable, unpredictable and creative human being. How could I not love the person who, as a young man wrote:

" . . . I'm just average, common too
I'm just like him, the same as you
I'm everybody's brother and son
I ain't different from anyone
It ain't no use a-talking to me
It's just the same as talking to you . . . "
(from "I Shall Be Free, No. 10")

and as a 65-year-old man wrote:

". . . They say prayer has the power to heal
So pray for me, mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I am a-tryin' to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain't going well . . . "

(from "Ain't Talkin")

Particularly moving for me were the parts of "I'm Not There" concerned with Bob Dylan as a husband and father:

In case of any confusion, the above photo is of Bob Dylan and one of his children. In "I'm Not There," Heath Ledger played the part of Jude Quinn / Bob Dylan and looked very much like Bob Dylan in the above photo.

No man can see Bob Dylan through a woman's eyes, just as no woman can see Bob Dylan through a man's eyes.

Perhaps that is the genius of Cate Blanchett playing the role of Jude Quinn / Bob Dylan in a way that is as unforgettable to me as Bob Dylan himself.

(Black and white image, "I Love Movies," a "contour" drawing by am in December 2007, while listening to the soundtrack for "I'm Not There", downloaded from iTunes at the end of October 2007. I was drawing with my right index finger on an iBookG4 trackpad, using the Appleworks "Painting" program. Image and poem resulted from revisiting the 1953 movie, "The Wild One," starring Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler and Mary Murphy as Kathie Bleeker, who appeared to me to be the truly wild one who gained Johnny's respect because she stood up to him. Somewhere, a long time ago, I read that Bob Dylan said that movies should "move" a person. It is likely that he was 12 years old when he was first "moved" by the "The Wild One." I drew the black and white image while looking at a fairly recent photo of Bob Dylan. As Mr. Dylan once said, "Wowee! Pretty scary!" It is likely that I wrote "Love Poem From Johnny Who Wasn't The Wild One After All" in 2006)

December 12, 2008, just after dawn:

A flock of Canada Geese going in a southwesterly direction just passed overhead. Almost every morning when I wake up before dawn, I light the candle lantern on my porch. It's dark and rainy this morning. 35 degrees. Snow is predicted in the coming days. If you click on the image, you will see the rain suspended on the railing.


The Solitary Walker said...

'Ain't Talkin' is one of my favourite later Dylansongs.

A week ago I bought tickets to see Dylan in Sheffield Arena next April. On the ground floor - and not too far from the front either!

am said...

Me, too. Will look forward to hearing about the Sheffield Arena show in April