Sunday, August 17, 2008

Like some rolling stones

Jennifer and I sprawled out on an oak orange Guatemalan blanket under a star-studded sky and silent trees and listened to Bob Dylan bard his way through 45 or so years of mumbles and rhymes and strategic nonchalance fitted to his master plan for individual style in the fast disappearing American world. Dylan was rugged and raspy a real self made former Zimmerman. I’ve thought of him as America’s poet – a laureate to the masses.

With our backs pressed to the earth, we held each others’ hands and laughed at the fumes and gas that our neighbors on the blankets next to us emitted as if global warming is cool. “His voice sounds like Satan,” some divorced but dating dads said. “Some people say he’s a pro-Israel activist, some people say he’s pro-Buddhist and pro-gay – I’m all those things so I identify with him completely,” piped in the corpulent Upper West Side JewBu (Jewish Buddhist) ensconced in a nearby fold-up chair. Referring to his eccentric differance (so to say), two NYU students farting to our right said, “He probably only eats Gerber baby food.” (“I never give in to the temptation to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult. That would be too ridiculous.” Jacques Derrida)

Like Cartier-Bresson’s conductor in a sinister black hat, Dylan sent Prospect Park through fits of nostalgia and wonderment. We all wanted the old songs – a revisit of Highway 61, but true to form, Dylan sang the songs none of us knew. “He sings for himself,” Jennifer informed me. He sang without words – just mumbles. And we adored him for it. Too cheap for the $50 dollar tickets inside the fence, we climbed poles and sighted him down with binoculars meant for birds just to see how he was enjoying himself. Our chief concern: was he having a good time? He seemed at ease – bopping around with his guitar rhyming out of the corner of his mouth – putting the carnival back into Bakhtin (so to say). We liked it– kicking around on a blanket under trees in a park full of New Yorkers all moving at their own small speeds to music of the moment is one thing I’ll miss when we’re not here: moving on.


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