Friday, August 7, 2009

The Image in Song

The beauty of the songwriter is the image they are able to convey. When the image fits the idea, you can call it seeing through to the other story - the one that makes sense. Peering say, beyond the veil.

No songwriter has better images - characters - stories - than Bob Dylan. And I honor him here - even though I have cut his song down to the only lyrics sung in My Chemical Romance's current version from the Watchmen soundtrack. This song saw through my world this last week - light and dark, sublime, radiant, ridiculous and melancholic. I feel the need to honor these words by having them clearly spelled out. It's very worth it to read all of Dylan's song, but here is the other version, whose energy and attitude made me laugh, wonder and survive, even while being an example of the very theory we were discussing. The line that willnot leave my head is:

The riot squad is restless/They need somewhere to go - which makes me nervous, but then -

As Lady and I look out tonight/From Desolation Row - which makes me laugh. Heartily.

I can relate every image here to something - or someone - I encountered this week. Now that I have written this, my thoughts have returned. Like it was waiting me out, to honor this crazy sprawling Dylan channeled through some crazy/funny music. Finally I can move on.

Without further ado -

Desolation Row (by Bob Dylan, as abridged by My Chemical Romance)
They're selling postcards of the hanging
They're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row
Cinderella, she seems so easy
"It takes one to know one," she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he's moaning
"You Belong to Me I Believe"
And someone says," You're in the wrong place, my friend
You better leave"
And the only sound that's left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row
Now at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Right now I can't read too good
Don't send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row

Copyright ©1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

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