Wednesday, November 10, 2004

"paranoia's just having all the facts"

Despite those speaking to the contrary, I do believe the time is ripe for paranoia. Any other response to the 21st century to date is naïve at best and devious at worst (or is that just my paranoia speaking). It’s ripe for prophets too. But dying is easy; prophecy is hard. I guess poetry is somewhere in that middle ground. Here's my middling effort (and eccentric rhyme scheme):

The surge keeps coming on despite the hour.
Along the riverbank the fierce debris
deposited in past high tides begins
to drift away. The shore turns watery,
and only higher ground seems safe and sound
from this insistent blur of history
—though there are those who recollect a flood
from long-ago when swells of tragedy
submerged the woods, drowning the common good.
Never doubt the potentiality
inherent in the current run of things—
no one can weather an emergent sea.
Its waves reflect that deeper anarchy
of nature, gods, and genealogy.
Speaking of prophets, in Chronicles (pp. 107-113), Dylan speaks about his attempt to collaborate with Archibald MacLeish, whom together with Frost and Sandburg, he calls the Yeats, Browning, and Shelley of American poetry. MacLeish had asked if Dylan could write some songs for a play he had written. Nothing was to come of it though.
This play was dark, painted a world of paranoia, guilt and fear—it was all blacked out and met the atomic age head on, reeked of foul play. There really wasn’t much to add to it. The play spelled death for society with humanity lying facedown in its own blood. MacLeish’s play was delivering something beyond an apocalyptic message. Something like, man's mission is to destroy the earth. MacLeish was signaling something through the flames. The play was up to something and I didn’t think I wanted to know.
Who does? But the Dylan of late is up to similar doings (he had, after all, told Archie that he would think about it). "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there."

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