Bob Dylan And How I Learned To Love The Bomb

by Larry Fyffe 

With black humoured onomatopoeic lyrics, Beat poet Gregory Corso sarcastically chides his generation for being spooked by the A-bomb since it’s just another step in the wonderful technological achievements of man, a leap in the development of weapons of mass destruction designed by humans to kill fellow human beings:

O Bomb, I love you
I want to kiss your clank, eat your boom
You are paean,  acme of scream
A lyric hat of Mister Thunder

(Gregory Corso: Bomb)

Singer/songriter Bob Dylan turns the tables on Corso, and composes lyrics that burlesque the Beat’s poem entitled ‘Bomb’ – apparently, Bob doesn’t think  the poem by Corso is funny:

Go away , you Bomb, get away, go away

Fast, right now, fast, quick, you get me sick

My good gal don't like you none

And the kids on my corner are scared of you

And my friends are gettin' headaches that split and split

And that kind of feelin' is rubbin' off on me

And I don't like it none too good

(Michel Montecrossa: Go Away Bomb ~ Dylan/Montecrossa; the song is available on Spotify)

Dylan imitates the satirical style of a song taken from the musical “The Music Man” that portrays playing pool as though it were a serious sin in need of  a preacher’s condemnation:

Now friends let me tell you what I mean
You got one, two, three, four, five, six pockets in a table
Pockets that make the difference
Between a gentleman and and a bum
With a capital 'B'
And that rhymes with with 'P'
And that stands for 'pool' ...
Right here in River City
'Trouble' with a capital 'T'
And that rhymes with 'P'
And that stands for 'pool'

(Robert Preston: Ya Got Trouble ~ M. Willson)

Writes Dylan in somewhat the same manner as Willson:

I hate the letters in your word

'B' that means "bad"

You're so bad that even a dead hog in the sun would get up and run

'O' that stands for " 'orrible" 

You're so 'orrible that the word drops it's first letter and runs

'M' that stands for "morgue'

And all them folks in it are feelin' lucky

And I don't mind folks feelin' lucky, but I hate that that feelin' of envy

And sometimes when I get thinkin' 'bout how lucky they are

I get 'en-vicious', and that's a bad lonesome feelin' too

'B' that means "bad"

But that's the second time 'round so it's twice as bad

(Michel Montecrossa: Go Away Bomb ~ M. Wilson)

The fire and brimstone of an Edward Taylor evangelistic sermon sprews forth from Dylan’s apostrophe to the Bomb and it’s author:

I hate you 'cause you make my life seem like nothin' at all

I hate you 'cause  your name's lost its meanin', and you can fool anybody now

I hate you 'cause you're man-made, and man-owned,  and man-handled

And you might be miss-made and miss-owned, and miss-handled

And even miss-used

And I hate you 'cause you could drop on me by accident, and kill me

And I never liked you anyway, I'm against you to begin with

And I hate you twice as much as Jim Crow hates me

Corso uses understatement in his address to the Bomb and his audience to show that things have simply gotten out of hand:

Budger of history, brake of time, you Bomb

Toy of the universe, grandest of all snatched sky, I can not hate you

Do I hate the mischievous thunderbolt, the jawbone of an ass

The bumpy club of one million B.C., the mace, the flail, the axe

Catapult of da Vinci, tomahawk Cochise, flintlock Kidd, dagger Rathbone

And the sad desperate gun of Verlaine, Pushkin, Dillinger, Bogart

And hath not St. Michael a burning sword, St. George a lance, David a sling?

All man hates you; they'd rather die by car crash, lightning, drowning

(Gregory Corso: Bomb)

Dylan employs overstatement to parody Corso’s seeming indifference:

I want that bomb
 want it hangin' out of my pocket, and danglin' on my key-chain
I want it stickin' out of my boot, I want it fallin' out of my sock
I wanna wear it on my wedding finger
And I wanna tie it with bandanas to my head
I want that bomb
I want it settin' in my mouth like a cigar
I want it stickin' from my ears like a carrot
I wanna look in the mirror, and see it in my eyes

(Michel Montecrossa: Go Away Bomb ~ Dylan/Montecrossa)

Dylan makes a point of out-Corsoing Corso: 

I want one in both my hands

I want two in both arms

I want the bomb to be hangin', and hurtin', and shinin', and burnin'

I want it to be glowin', and backbiting, and whistlin', and sidewindin'

I want it showin' all over my living self

I want it breathin' from every porthole

I want it blowin' from every pore

I want it weightin' me down so I can't even walk right

I wanna get up in the mornin', and scare the day right out of its dawn

Then, I want to walk into the White House, and say

"Dig yourselves!"

(Michel Montecrossa: Go Away Bomb ~ Dylan/Montecrossa)

A song lyrics/poem by Bob Dylan that’s under-estimated by many of his critics who know not its background.




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