Last Thoughts On Woodie Guthrie

I want to share with you the following poem by Bob Dylan, which always seems to have relevance in my life, its odd phrases often leaping from my memory to give language to my hopes, feelings, or frustrations. I hope you enjoy...

When your head gets twisted and your mind grows numb, when you think you're too old, too young, too smart or too dumb, when you're lagging behind and losing your pace in a slow-motion crawl of life's busy race, no matter what you're doing if you start giving up, if the wine don't come to the top of yer cup, if the wind's got you sideways with with one hand holding on and the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone, and your train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it and the wood's easy finding but you're lazy to fetch it, and your sidewalk starts curling and the street gets too long, and you start walking backwards though you know that it's wrong, and lonesome comes up as down goes the day, and tomorrow's morning seems so far away, and you feel the reins from your pony are slipping, and your rope is a-slidin' 'cause yer hands are a-drippin', and your sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys, and your sky cries water and your drain pipe's a-pourin', and the lightnin's a-flashin' and the thunder's a-crashin', and the windows are rattlin' and breakin' and the roof tops a-shakin', and your whole world's a-slammin' and bangin', and your minutes of sun turn to hours of storm, and to yourself you sometimes say, "I never knew it was gonna be this way, why didn't they tell me the day I was born," and you start getting chills and you're jumping from sweat, and you're looking for something you ain't quite found yet, and you're knee-deep in dark water with your hands in the air, and the whole world's watching with a window peek stare, and your good gal leaves and she's long gone a-flyin', and yer heart feels sick like fish when they're fryin', and your jackhammer falls from your hand to yer feet and you need it badly but it lays on the street, and your bell's banging loudly but you can't hear its beat, and you think yer ears might have been hurt, or your eyes have turned filthy from the sight-blinding dirt, and you figured you failed in yesterdays rush, when you were faked out and fooled while facing a four flush, and all the time you were holding three queens, and it's making you mad, it's making you mean, like the middle of Life Magazine bouncing around a pinball machine, and there's something on your mind you want to be saying that somebody someplace ought to be hearing, but it's trapped on your tongue and sealed in your head and it bothers you badly when you're laying in bed, and no matter how you try you just can't say it, and you're scared to your soul you just might forget it and your eyes get swimmy from the tears in your head and your pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead and the lion's mouth opens and you're staring at his teeth and his jaws start closing with you underneath, and you're flat on your belly with your hands tied behind and you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign and you say to yourself just what am I doing on this road I'm walking, on this trail I'm turning, on this curve I'm hanging, on this pathway I'm strolling, in the space I'm taking, in this air I'm inhaling? Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard, why am I walking, where am I running, what am I saying, what am I knowing, on this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailing, on this mandolin I'm strumming, in the song I'm singing, in the tune I'm humming, in the words I'm writing, in the words that I'm thinking, in this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinking? Who am I helping, what am I breaking, what am I giving, what am I taking? But you try with your whole soul best never to think these thoughts and never to let them kind of thoughts gain ground or make your heart pound. But then again you know when they're around just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down. Because sometimes you hear them when the night times comes creeping, and you fear that they might catch you a-sleepin', and you jump from your bed, from your last chapter of dreaming, and you can't remember for the best of your thinking if that was you in the dream that was screaming, and you know that it's something special you're needing, and you know that there's no drug that'll do for the healing, and no liquor in the land to stop your brain from bleeding, and you need something special. Yeah, you need something special all right. You need a fast flying train on a tornado track to shoot you someplace and shoot you back. You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler that's been banging and booming and blowing forever, that knows yer troubles a hundred times over. You need a Greyhound bus that don't bar no race, that won't laugh at your looks, your voice or your face, and by any number of bets in the book will be rolling long after the bubblegum craze. You need something to open up a new door, to show you something you've seen before but overlooked a hundred times or more. You need something to open your eyes. You need something to make it known that it's you and no one else that owns that spot that you're standing, that space that you're sitting, that the world ain't got you beat, it ain't got you licked, it can't get you crazy no matter how many times you might get kicked. You need something special all right. You need something special to give you hope. But hope's just a word that maybe you said or maybe you heard on some windy corner around a wide-angled curve. But that's what you need man, and you need it bad, and your trouble is you know it too good, because you look and you start getting the chills, because you can't find it on a dollar bill, and it ain't on Macy's window sill, and it ain't on no rich kid's road map, and it ain't in no fat kid's fraternity house, and it ain't made in no Hollywood wheat germ, and it ain't on that dimlit stage with that half-wit comedian on it ranting and raving and taking your money and you think it's funny. No, you can't find it in no night club or no yacht club, and it ain't in the seats of a supper club, and sure as hell you're bound to tell that no matter how hard you rub, you just ain't gonna find it on your ticket stub. No, and it ain't in the rumors people are telling you, and it ain't in the pimple lotion people are selling you, and it ain't in no cardboard-box house or down any movie star's blouse, and you can't find it on the golf course and Uncle Remus can't tell you and neither can Santa Claus, and it ain't in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes, and it ain't in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons and it ain't in the marshmallow noises or chocolate cake voices that come knocking and tapping in Christmas wrapping, saying, "Ain't I pretty?" and "Ain't I cute?" and "Look at my skin! Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow, look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry" when you can't even sense if they got any insides, these people so pretty in their ribbons and bows. No, you'll not now or no other day find it on the doorsteps made out of paper mache, and inside it the people made of molasses that every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses, and it ain't in the fifty star generals and flipped-out phonies who'd turn you in for a tenth of a penny, who breathe and burp and bend and crack and before you can count from one to ten do it all over again, but this time behind your back, my friend, the ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl and play games with each other in their sand-box world. And you can't find it either in the no-talent fools that run around gallant and make all rules for the ones that got talent, and it ain't in the ones that ain't got any talent but think they do and think they're fooling you, the ones who jump on the wagon just for a while because they know it's in style to get their kicks, get out of it quick and make all kinds of money and chicks.

And you yell to yourself and you throw down yer hat, saying, "Christ do I gotta be like that? Ain't there no one here that knows where I'm at? Ain't there no one here that knows how I feel? Good G-d Almighty, that stuff ain't real."

No, but that ain't your game, it ain't your race. You can't hear your name, you can't see your face. You got to look some other place. And where do you look for this hope that you're seeking? Where do you look for this lamp that's a-burning? Where do you look for this oil well gushing? Where do you look for this candle that's glowing? Where do you look for this hope that you know is there and out there somewhere? And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads, your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows, your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways, you can touch and twist and turn two kinds of doorknobs.

You can either go to the church of your choice or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital. You'll find G-d in the church of your choice. You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital. And though it's only my opinion (I may be right or wrong), you'll find them both in the Grand Canyon at sundown.