Tarantula 14: A tattletale Heart; and 15: Tarzantula

By Larry Fyffe

14: A Tattletale Heart

In “Tarantula”, per usual, it’s difficult to pin shape-shifter Dylan down; it’s pages are left wide open for interpretation.

For instance, therein is Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner”, but then again, perhaps the biblical character Abner.

Biblical Abner switches sides; supports David as king rather than Saul’s son because Abner’s been accused of disloyalty for sleeping with one of Saul’s concubines.

The commander of David’s army, his brother having been killed by Abner, stabs the turncoat to death which makes David very angry.

Nevertheless, synchronicity there be ~ the American cartoon-satirist Capp, initially somewhat liberal-minded turns about; he becomes more and more right-wing in his political sentiments.

A reversed mirror image of Bob Dylan that can be put in a corncob pipe and smoked:

(H)e Abner cursed out East Texas, tomatoes
& tin pan alley, he didn't talk to me
he talked in a mirror
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Likewise, Jake the Flesh, the biblical Jacob; or Mick Jagger, the devil of the Rolling Stones, the group founded by Brian Jones. “Jumping Jack Flash” is not written yet so take want you can gather from coincidence; but there’s the nursery rhyme “Jack Be Nimble”.

Afloat on the timeless Jungian Sea, beneath mona moon, sneaky Jacob, born holding on to Esau’s heel, “steals” his fraternal twin’s birthright.

Yahweh further informs Jacob about the ladder of history ~ that Persia will defeat Babylon, and captive Hebrews will be allowed to return to Jerusalem to assist in the restoration of Israel to its former glory – if they all behave themselves of course.

So said it could be, as indicated by the bible verses below, that Jacob, as an ardent follower of Yahweh, will make good things happen – he’s the Rain Man.

Yahweh says to him:

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty
And floods upon the dry ground
I will pour my spirit upon thy seed
And my blessing upon thine offspring
And they shall spring up as among the grass
As willows by the water courses
(Isaiah 44: 3,4)

In the Third Testament, known as the Tarantula, Jacob warns the Flower Lady that the Herculean elephant boy is not afraid to take on the boy from the New Babylon who’s trying to drown Albion.

Rain Man yelled

"watch out Flower Lady, there's an elephant coming"
but by this time she was singing auld lang syne
with Babbooo Boy
who'd snuck up, stuck a lead
weight life jacket around fablan
& threw him in the swimming pool
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The Flower Lady records the following song:

Show me the country, where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of the buildings, once so tall
And I'll show you a young man
With so many reasons why
There but for fortune go you and I
(Joan Baez: There But For Fortune ~ Phil Ochs)

The lyrics following, perhaps an answer song from Dylan’s nemesis ~ recorded in Blake’s Albion, the Land of the Fab Four:

The painter paints his brushes black
Through the canvas runs a crack
Portrait of the pain never answers back
But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady
(Peter And Gordon: The Flower Lady ~ Phil Ochs)

In reference to the personification of America below:

She's an artist, she don't look back
She can take the dark out of night-time
And paint the daytime black
(Bob Dylan: She Belongs To Me)

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s freezing, and New York’s suffering from spells of Poe:

All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers
And all the flowers were mine
Ah, dream too bright to last
(Edgar Allan Poe: To One In Paradise)

15: Tarzantula

Joining the Tarantula pilgrim parade is the cousin of Ronnie Hawkins:
& Suzy-Q, the angel
putting new dime into this adoption machine
as out squirts a symbol
sqawking & freezing & crashing
into the bowels of some hideous soap box
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The cousin, from Louisiana, performs the landmark rocknroll song quoted beneath:

Oh Suzy-Q, Oh Suzy-Q
I love you, my Suzy-Q
I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk, I like the way you talk
My Suzy-Q
(Dale Hawkins: Suzy-Q ~ D.Hawkins/Chaisson/Burton)

With its roots in the Jazz Age of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his wife Zelda:

Now, you swing over here
Now, you swing over there
For you swing on out, and you do the Suzie-Q
Oh, you dance in
Yes, you're prancing
When you hear the music play, that's your cue
(Lil Armstrong: Doing The Suzie-Q)

Below, a Tarzan-yelling song intended to be funny – with appalling racist slurs (even Walt Whitman refers to Afro-Americans as “baboons”):

Oh yes, I saw her Saturday at the show down town
She said, "Hi there, Baboon, can I sit down?"
I said, "Wait a minute, baby, where's your raccoon?"
(Dale Hawkins: See You Soon Baboon)

If the lyrics above by the gentleman from Dixieland had any influence on the following song by the Beatles, the Fab Four do not admit it, and rightly so:

Well, she and her man who called himself Dan
Were in the next room at the hoedown
Rocky burst in, and grinning a grin
He said, "Danny Boy, this is a showdown"
But Daniel was hot, he drew first and shot
And Rocky collapsed in the corner
(Beatles: Rocky Raccoon ~ McCartney/Lennon)


The influence of the poem below readily acknowledged;

And the two men lay stiff and stark
Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead
Was Dangerous Dan McGrew
While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast
Of the lady that's known as Lou
(Robert Service: The Shooting Of Dan McGrew)

In ‘Tarantula’, Dylan, who turns away from protest songs of the day, uses a “two-b” name in ‘the Flower Lady & Babboon Boy’, maybe the latter in reference to Phil Ochs (Dylan, being driven in a limousine, tells Phil to get out of the  car).

Ochs writes the anti-Vietnam War song below, the lyrics of which give the protest song a sharper edge.

Bob Hope and Anita Bryant entertain the troops in South Vietnam:

The comic and the beauty queen are dancing on the stage
Raw recruits are lining up like coffins in a cage
We're fighting a war we lost before the war began
We're the white boots marching in a yellow land
(Phil Ochs: White Boots Marching In A Yellow Land)

The narrator in the lines beneath resorts to sarcasm:

(I) don't care what bob hope says
he aint going with you nowhere
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *