Bob Dylan & Willie & Greencards in Lakewood NJ 6/15/

By Jane Gilday

by Jane Gilday
To Be Alone With You
She Belongs to Me
Cry A While
Just Like A Woman
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Highway 61 Revisited
Queen Jane Approximately
Cold Irons Bound
Girl Of The North Country
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Summer Days
The encore:

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Like A Rolling Stone
Lakewood long-ago-once-resort town
Pastel hotels gone corkscrew seedy
Mookie of the NY Mets lived there
where Springsteen 88 and 9 intersect
where Ma would send me for BBQ chicken,
giving me a twenty whose change I could keep,
town where I bought my red Fender bass,
2 blocks from the site of my Dad's Irish wake
4 miles from the Greenwood graves of my folks,
Lakewood the town where I heard Bob sing
and play his Hohner like Lester Young looked
in a Porkpie Whitman Chaplin suit
from beyond the toy piano.

The Ides of June two thousand and five,
today must be my lucky day.
Loving the songs since sixty-four
but never once seeing he who sings them,
a friend calls up: "I forgot your birthday,
here's the money for a ticket to Dylan."

Bob and Willie are touring the Diamonds
with green Outbackers doing High Lonesome
American poets and minor league towns
ain't nobody can sing like they
ain't nobody can sing like they.

Arrived in Lakewood after driving through ghosts,
one thought fills me seeing the ballpark:
"Bob is here, Bob is here, holy shit Bob is here."
It's real but still I don't hardly believe it.
Like Stephen Foster comes over to jam
bringing along Bo Diddley.
Things you never imagine.

Gimme the chill bumps lemme tell you
Daddy loved Willie. His last years on Earth
at family dinners Blue Skies would play
surrounded by kids and the kids of the kids
Daddy would beam as Willie let forth
with that voice carved fine
as turkey in corn,
worn as born and warmer.

Lemme tell you things about chill bumps.

The Greencards start up,
it's like batting practice
the stands half full people are eating
nachos and dogs and beer and more beer
the play of a fiddle and excellent sound
Tea for Texas and whoop-ass ancients
made new on the strings' regime.

That Clinch Mountain two-step
that backstep clip-clop
that Maybelle flex
the one and the five
twining like flowers
on sunnyside slopes
A Monroe doctrine
worth singing about.

What a mix of people are here.
6 pack gals in cowgirl boots
2 inch roots in outlaw halters
beer belly boys with Waylon buckles
stroll the concourse with rainbow types
rasta tie-die ganja eyes
Family paisans with kids under twelve
free admission standard magnetic
rolling rock thunder roadhouse under
the lights tonight in Jersey,
Lakewood in The Pines.

The Jersey Devil may be down the road
a piece here on the pineland's edge
but the stadium feels pastoral and right
Circus tent Chataugua show
A roar goes up, Willie's below.

Nelson's a name like Williams or Rodgers
plain as dirt like Jimmie or Hank
Like Will, Amelia or Uncle Dave
been long on the old plank road.

Willie's a voice as creased as his face
as long as a Cherokee braid
twisted and worn as a beat-up guitar
all full of holes from the shook up things
worn down to essentials, cedar and gut
rosewood and fretting deep in the night.
Some pal named Paul slapping the time
while the kids and Pa get down in the pocket,
boy on the harp is making it weep.

The wrong guy from Texas
pulls strings in D.C.
The right guy from Texas
is touring bush leagues.
The Spirit loves jokes.
It's clear from these scripts.

Willie's corny,
incredibly hip,
the opposite of
shouting "FIRE"!
in a crowded theatre.

Crowd is restless, ballpark food
crowd the overpass
which performers go under
they wanna see bob
stroll to work
walkie talkie men
hollering people
"bob ain't gonna come
til ya get off the overpass"

the people move
but not by much.

Every light in the place goes dark
and people scream and the roar is big
in pitch black rows and aisles.
announcer's vaudeville voice blares:
"ladies and gentlemans he invented folk rock
turned the beatles on, discovered folk music,
met woody guthrie, got married
got divorced, invented country rock
after inventing folk rock then
he met jesus then he got divorced
then invented country-rock protest
hamonica solos in a neck brace
on carreening motorcycles
then fell into a morass of booze
and dope then fell out of a morass
of booze and dope then came back
timely out of his mind
ladies and gentlemans

Jack Fate declares to Sweetheart
"I need some boys kin play"

Well, Bob got them boys,
the very ones
kin play
in waco greasy suits
dunno his name
the guitar next to bob
does the chuck berry chug-a-lug riff
it's like keith minus that UK cool
being iowa and american
from maize & arrowhead meadows
and this is american jazzland rockhound shit
who would have expected


it's bob berry and hank dylan
not to mention carl orbison
and elvis perkins
in east st. louis
on memphis street
and they're all hairdressers
with more girlfriends than the other guys
they've stolen style like spade coolie's
network eightball broadcast on the bakersfield run
this here truck stop special music
diesel fumed across the divide
where leo fender tinkers with RCA
tubes so that love can be sung plain
both dirty and innocent
or homespun clean
everyone wants to be alone
with someone of a like mind
where and when things get wet
and this is such cookin' music
and i'm laughing out loud cause
nobody told me there'd be noise like this
bob is banging piano
and i can hear it clear
the ivories of
lower midrange where
every harmonic beneeds the song
anchored with tony's bass
and that kickass drummer
in a paris beret
so the twang boys
can mountain dew they some
the grand ole' opry dead of slick
so long live mickey stuff like this
everybody in the park
feels like they're alone with bob
tonight's good god amighty
ain't love grand and yo!

bob is wearing orthodox amish
homespun black with breast-pocket dangles
and a flat brim hat
all the better to rabbi shuffle
and blow harp like never before
bison traces olay!
clear and clarion trumpeting
reedy and swiss and polka 2-beat
and building and building then
building some more
going all out
skywalking dots
thoughtfully moving
miles minus
all the doo dad bop
masters do it with
only 8 notes

she got everything she needs
and bob is playing with the melody
the inflections, the lilt,
soft singing
old man tender
not rancid or bitter
of course she belongs to him
love songs in ballparks
might as well be magic
these things require craft
and skillfull careless
and bowing down on sundays
upsinging and shit why not?
most good things are up
and this world has too much

enough down to make ya cry
a while and thensome
the both-ways backbeat
second-line stumble
of boys that kin play
some blues beyond
the rote route
blues has become

blues is a woman
just like a woman
and bob is tender again
nobody feels any
PAIN is a question
inflected like it should be
pain not just a word
to rhyme with rain
blues is zippered up
came and went
he never called again
baby got no daddy
at home and rent's overdue
blues is tonight with country
descent into a well of sound
where prayers and tears
swim together with sorrow,
regret and enough empathy
to quench a love thirst.

i can't even write about all this
nor do the disservice
people don't write novels about clouds
or troutstreams or hillsides
but they try
and that harmonica keeps trying
like bells work against stained guilt
in empty rooms after check-out,
in poor rooms with fans
and all the money in the world
can't help ya flee being human
the flypaper hangs from the pull chain
one 60 watt bulb got the flickers tonight.

short hand and mores' code.
to reinvent all the inventions
to die before going senile
to trod the boards
and let it rip.
bob's doing all this
willing and avid nightly
the st. james book
the whitman hotel's
bedside attraction with cable
or mormon best western urges
to take them tablets and look at them
closely since nobody else pays attention
put it all to music and make it last
strumming or honoring domino,
minnesota fats, the hustle of green
rocky roads and bullrushed babes
where children float hidden
away from pharoah's barge
in france or harrar
now or then.

this american type writer poet
who sings with a band
of cowboy humbucking strangers
is asking queen jane and ma
or anyone with ears
to dance on death's shadow
where shades of homer run free
from base to higher ground
as the pitchmen sell shirts
and logos means you heard
something you wanna wear a while

hart crane is still drowning
and 10 people heard howl
woody is crippled or in jail
so who keeps going?
and if not, why not?
rosetta tharp wasn't doing it
just for the damn fun
though that sure helps a lot
when pa is still obessed with
burning altar boys just because
he gotta bad mood about skulls
and bones and gimme some dinner.

bob's mask isn't there
when his fingers push the keys
it's clearly 'sing it and they will come'
he's so anonymous it hurts
everybody else is dancing with mariah
mussolini on soprano icon road
near survival traffic island
with gap genes on backwards
getting mauled with plenty
so someone has to honor
the human heartbeat's
angelic apple dance
of twain vines and river salt
sea mist and mud chanteys

if you can take one dust mote
one hazel summer night sky
one more bit of rock
and stir it well
the dance might still be gracious
and amazing tho most are indoors
amazoning themselves to the casket

the old man and the c note
containing runaway dreams
seized and stolen and given
because the spirit sang to
who it chose to
while the moon knelt down
so low.

this ridiculous shit is still rolling
time's suspended been here for weeks
the stasis of great momentum
the simple stroke of graphite
on a napkin over hoagies
midwestern counter punch
to the city's heap big dirt
paying expenses daily
for tabloidal noiseballs
gossiping about asses.

i am so happy because
all that has vanished
in lakewood tonight
bob's band is cracking fierce
too much higher primate business

i focus on tony and oh thank god
no slap happy funk junk
his bass can oom-pah
or stride or nail the one

bob could sing the alphabet
over bedrock like that
and does
alpha omega
and tennessee walls
of pride torn down
it takes Lot to be patient
and a cliffwalker to listen

the streams in the pinelands flow red
from tannin and the water tastes of cedar
captain kidd buried treasure there
and bog iron was in washington's barrels
soon to be in king george's cheeks,
jersey gnats and mosquitoes
are not fooling
but nobody cares.
bob is still going
summer days
summer nights
like this

screw that George Will crap
like Our Grand Experiment In Democracy.
Our hoedown experiment in Live Let Live
is the truer stuff
hick opera with jumbled roots
  1. jones still don't get it and never will
afeared to get in trouble
with the scout troop masters
and their merit badgers of water gone to
bad blood, bad stock and surety.

gonna need somebody on your bond.
bob is paroling the open ears.
girl of the north country
breaks my heart
sung like it still hurts
and always will
this guy is not photo opportunities
on carrier pigeon marked decks or
jetstream vacation commando centers
where humans are units and obstacles
in the path of central planning

girl of the north country
you can smell fresh wash
on lines strung under clear heavens
and the gummy hot macadam
given way to autumn's riot weeds
every color a cider of barrelhousing
with the sense of vast always there
and not forgotten or
trash heaped unto civility
or saturday in town
when town was still town
and not a bypass mart
of foreclosured tumbledown.

girl of the north country
vagabond denim pinball
machinery for grain
and gravy scuppers in parlors
linens and sundries
and drive in dreams
sunbeams on oak and cherry
once was a true love of mine
are the sweetest words
tho sad and going sadder
because the true in them
was not cast aside for casinoed
routines and synthetica grins
as the bombs go bursting in air
until otherwise notified
or entombed.

leaving the ballpark,
'hard reign' japanese on.
i turned it off fast.
needed silence
to drive on home
thinking since then
all about this.

chill bumps
and grandmas.
about this always
all about this.

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