Tarantula: 24 – Cream Cheese and 25 – Davy Crocker


by Larry Fyffe

24: Cream Cheese

Through a prophet, God speaks to King Ahaz of Judah:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign
Behold a virgin shall conceive
And have a son
And shall call his name 'Immanuel'
(Isaiah 7:14)

Emanuel Swedenborg figures he’s that sign, that person.

According to Swedenborg, there be emanations of light and dark forces that spread out from the Godhead, and form the material world. But, unlike in other variations of Gnosticism, the Almighty One is Jesus Christ.

He’s everywhere at once, and the only One capable of existing beyond space and time. But He’s no clockmaker outside the Universe that sets everything in motion, and then steps aside.

Swirling around in different levels of the Cosmos, spiritual angels and demons fly; the task for physical mortals is to find a way through the maze, and get in contact with the love and wisdom within the universal spirit of Jesus:

For in Him dwelleth all the fullness
Of the Godhead bodily
(Colossians 2:9)

It’s a more plasmatic picture of the Cosmos (a figuratively fluid one that consists of earth, wind, fire, and water) that’s depicted in Bob Dyan’s Tarantsula-shaped Universe.

Though the little book “Tarantula” has its serious parts, overall it’s quite funny.

On the road therein, Sandy Bob relates to Justine a dream he has – she seemingly a Swedenborgian:

(I) was unable to do anything about 
this fire - you see - not because I was lazy
or because I loved to watch fires
- but because myself and the fire
were in the same Time all right
but we were not in the same Space
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

In his time, a preRomantic poet also satirizes Swedenborg’s contention of the uniqueness of the Holy Bible in regard to literal/figurative – material/spiritual “correspondences”:

Apparently, the following lines not eligible because they are too earth-oriented:

Mock On Voltaire, Rousseau
Mock on, mock on: 'tis all in vain
You throw the sand against the wind
And the wind blows it back again
(William Blake: Mock On Voltaire, Rousseau)

Nor these:

To see the world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour
(William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence)

The quote beneath from a poet who’s brought up as a Swedenborgian, but he secularizes its Christian aspects; takes a middle path, becomes a mystic in outlook:

From what I tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire ....
I think I know enough of hate
To say for destruction ice
Is also great
(Robert Frost: Fire And Ice)

The creator of the Tarantulean Universe, on the other hand, appears to permit his Cosmos to expand quite rapidly:

(T)ho i might be nothing but a butter sculptor ....
i must go now - i have this new hunk of margarine
waiting in the bathtub -yes I said MARGARINE
& next week i just might decide to use cream cheese
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

25: Davy Crocker

No relation to Charlie, Fess Parker sings:

Fought single-handed through the Indian War
'Til the Creeks was whipped
And peace was in store

(Wellingtons: The Ballad Of Davy Crockett ~ Blackburn/Bruns)

Fess joins the pilgrim’s parade, and sells out his stock of coonskin hats before heading off to Texas to fight at the Alamo ~ those damned Mexicans – having banned slavery – need a whipping:

Things don’t go well for Davy.

In fact, bad things are happening all over the place:

(P)icture of dirt farmer
 - long johns - coonskin cap
strangling himself on his shoe
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Good news though in Venice; according to Bill Shakespeare, Lorenzo has managed to convert Jewess Jessica to Christianity; loves not only her, but her money besides.

Garage mechanic Antonio’s a good-hearted fellow ~ “hires out women for baseball players”.

Lorenzo tells Jessica not to feel so alone; she must change her name to LONZO:

& must walk the streets of life
forever with lazy people
having nothing to do but fight
over women
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Actually, she’s not alone; there are strange men out there with their pin-up posters.

Including cook Betty Crocker hawking dinner plates while she’s holding hands with Elvis the Pelvis, he dressed in drag:

(C)rooked betty & volcano the leg
here they come - theyre popped out
and theyve been crying in the chapel
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Hymn singing:

I searched and I searched
But I couldn't find
No way on earth to gain peace of mind
Now I'm happy in the chapel
Where people are of one accord 
(Elvis Presley: Crying In The Chapel ~ Artie Glenn)

Along the way, Charlie Darwin’s observing that some cuckoos have short wings, and fly crooked; some lay eggs in another birds’ nest.

Sandy Bob depicts the behaviour of some preachers as even worst:

Well, the cuckoo is a pretty bird
She warbles as she flies
I'm preaching the word of God
I'm putting out your eyes
(Bob Dylan: High Water)

It’s all more than enough to drive a person through the swinging doors of the “Babylon Saloon”:

Then the music takes me back to Tennessee
When they ask who's the fool in the corner ... crying
I say, "The little ole wine drinker me"
(Charlie Walker: Little Ole Wine Drinker Me ~  Mills/Jennings)

The song above being inspired by a wine company’s commercial ~

“Little ole winemaker me!”


(W)ho should come by but the
little ole winemaker
trying to be helpful
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

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