SPRINGSTEEN AND AL or SAL
Like back in the early 1970’s Joey Kivak, a friend of Ratzo and a Dylan bootleg tape customer gave Springsteen my East Village Other rock poetry articles in Asbury Park, New Jersey, once every week. Like the dude tells me, “This guy is another Bob Dylan, you got to meet him” and I told him one Bob Dylan is enough. So it came as no surprise when I heard this in Hiding On The Back Streets,
In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage Inside the backstreet girls are dancing to the records in AJ ways Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners Desperate as the night moves on, Just a look and a whisper, and they're gone.
“In the parking lot” “park” to place temporarily: the pop music scene “the visionaries” those whose dreams of fame that are not practicable or realizable “dress in the latest rage” go along with the latest trends in pop music “Inside the backstreet girls are dancing to the records in AJ ways” but inside the underground Springsteen is listening to Dylan’s embedded meaning “Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners” artists who sing of true love struggle to make it in out of the way kind of sad venues “Desperate as the night moves on” getting more desperate as their careers in entertainment progress “just a look and a whisper, and they're gone” just a bad word of a critic and they are done dealin.’
In September 2005 the Dylan To English Dictionary was published. It contained plausible translations of many Dylan poems but it fell short when it came to poems that were written from a Rightwing perspective. Nonetheless the Dylan To English Dictionary was the most advanced Dylanological work of its time, however, it did not get the widespread attention that Christopher Rick’s book on Dylan, Dylan’s Vision of Sin, received. Rick’s book was irrelevant and gave absolutely no insight into Dylan. Dylan might have hoped that comparing him to many classical poets would give him more stature in the literary world, so he let Ricks quote many of his poems, something that he would not do for any of my prospective publishers. When I heard the words “consent” and “publishment” in this reworking of a traditional folk song I knew Springsteen was up to something!
Froggy went a-courtin' and he did ride A sword and pistol by his side, He went down to Miss Mousie's door, Where he had often been before
“Froggy” Christopher Ricks “went a-courtin' and he did ride” went out courting a big publisher and his reputation rode on “A sword and pistol by his side” his authority as a college professor. “He went down to Miss Mousie's door” he approached Dylan’s people “Where he had often been before” who were already familiar with him.
He took Miss Mousie up on his knee, Said "Miss Mousie will you marry me?" "Without my Uncle Rat's consent I wouldn't marry the President,"
“He took Miss Mousie up on his knee” he begged them “Said "Miss Mousie will you marry me?" will you marry me forever to the poetry of Bob Dylan? "Without my Uncle Rat's consent” without Bob Dylan’s consent “I wouldn't marry the President" I wouldn’t allow anyone, even the President of your University, to closely associate themselves with Dylan’s poetry.
Well Uncle Rat he gave his consent, And the weasel wrote the publishment,
“Well, uncle Rat” Dylan “he gave his consent” agreed to let Ricks reprint his poetry “And the weasel” Christopher Ricks whose weasel words were used to deliberately make statements evasive or misleading “wrote the publishment” published his book that was supposed to impress the Noble Prize Committee but did not.
“Uncle Rat” or “the Magic Rat" as Dylan, Jungleland "The Rat's own dream guns him down” Dylan’s own poems expose him “as shots” heroin injections “echo down them hallways in the night” reverberate and manifest themselves in Dylan's concert hall performances “No one watches when the ambulance” the insanity “pulls away” pulls Bob Dylan away from life “Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light” or as Dylan shuts out the truth and gets high on heroin. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, "Shut the light, shut the shade / You don't have to be afraid / I'll be your baby tonight" “and the poets down here / Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be” and Dylan downed out on smack is a political conservative.
Well where will the wedding supper be? Way down yonder in a hollow tree,
“Well now where will the wedding supper be” what will the meat, the food for thought be like in Rick’s book? “Way down yonder” it will have something to do with sin and hellfire. It was titled Dylan’s Vision of Sin “in a hollow” and it will be hollow, having an empty space or cavity, a nothing book. It will be bogus, not sincere or faithful; false; deceitful; not sound “tree” work created under Dylan’s protection.
Yeah the first come in was a flying moth, Who laid out the tablecloth,
“Yeah the first to come in” the first guest to arrive at the wedding “was a flying moth” was a pest that liked to fly high on reefer “Who laid out” displayed to everyone “the tablecloth” what Dylan had for diner judging from his garbage.
Well the next to come in was a junie bug, She brought the whiskey in a water jug,
“Well the next come in” the next guest “was a junie bug” someone who taped, bugged Dylan’s telephone conversations “She brought the whiskey” she revealed Dylan’s use of an intoxicant “in a water jug” and it held water; of an argument or idea to be believable or reasonable
Next come in was a big black snake, Chased them all into the lake,
“The next come in” the next guest “was a big” famous “black” characterized by morbid or grimly satiric humor “snake” a person, esp. a colleague or friend, who secretly acts against one and throws a birthday party for Bob Dylan “Chased them all into the lake” made Dylan head across the lake, the Atlantic Ocean, for Israel
Little piece of cornbread laying on a shelf If you want any more, you can sing it yourself Yip, go!
“Little piece” an artistic or literary creation “of cornbread” corny, dull and tiresome but with pretensions of significance or originality. Diamond Joe "His bread” mainstay, bread and butter “it was corndodger” "laying on a shelf” laying on a shelf in a bookstore “If you want any more” if you want a better puff job sweetheart book “you can sing it yourself” the only alternative would be for Dylan to have written the book himself. “Yip, go!” Go Yippie AJ Weberman, beat the pants off Ricks.
You can't sleep at night You can't dream your dream Your fingerprints on file Left clumsily at the scene Your own worst enemy has come to town
“You can't sleep at night” you can’t find contentment. Springsteen’s No Surrender, "I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover's bed" Dylan’s Spirit on the Water, "Spirit on the water / Darkness on the face of the deep / I keep thinking about you baby / I can't hardly sleep" “You can't dream your dream” you can’t dream up your exceptionally gratifying, excellent, and beautiful poetry any longer without fear that it will be translated “Your fingerprints” your writing, traces of your existence, any identifying characteristic “on file” in a line of things arranged one behind the other in a certain order, in this case alphabetical order as in a dictionary “Left clumsily” turned into Leftist thoughts and expressed in an inelegant or ungraceful way; ‘an awkward prose style’ “at the scene” at the scene, the surroundings amid which anything is set before the imagination, the scene of the crime against your poetry “Your own worst enemy has come to town” AJ Weberman who is widely regarded as Dylan's arch enemy is going to go to town on you.
Yesterday the people were at ease Baby slept in peace You closed your eyes and saw her You knew who you were
“Yesterday the people” the Dylan fans, “were at ease” complacent or not paying attention to what you were writing “Baby” your poetry's meaning “slept in peace” went undisturbed by a hostile intruder “You closed your eyes” you closed your mind to the possibility that someone would reveal the content of your work “and saw her” and envisioned, created your poems. “You knew who you were” you knew you were a rightwing poet and that idiot Weberman would never figure out what you were saying.
Your world keeps turnin' 'round and 'round But everything is upside down Your own worst enemy has come to town
“Your world keeps turning round and round” but a revolution has occurred “But everything is upside down” and now what was on the bottom; the underlying meaning of Dylan's poetry, is now on top, also Idiot Wind "everything is a little upside down" “Your own worst enemy has come to town”
There's a face you know Staring back from the shop window The condition you're in Now you just can't get out of this skin
“There's a face you know” Dylan's actual face “Staring back from the shop window” Amazon books, a window one opens on a computer to shop: The Dylan To English Dictionary “The condition you're in” the social position; rank “Now you just can't get out of” you cannot suppress “this skin” Weberman reprinting your lyrics, “skin” to produce, in recitation, examination, etc., the work of another for one's own.
The times they got too clear So you removed all the mirrors Once the family felt secure Now no one's very sure Everything is falling down Your flag it flew so high It drifted into the sky
“The times they got too clear” the major review of The Dylan To English Dictionary appeared in The New York Times by Colin Moynihan and suggested some of Dylan's poetry dealt with the relationship I had with Bob Dylan such as the line, "the laughter down on Elizabeth Street" “So you removed all the mirrors” so made sure that those media outlets that would have repeated this story, other major publications, did not review this book “Once the family” a locally independent unit, such as a mafia “felt secure” free from fear, doubt, or care “Now no one's very sure / Your flag” the allegiance to you, as symbolized by a flag “it flew so high” it was so great “It drifted” that the book drifted “into the sky” into a work of literature of the highest level or degree: reaching for the sky.