Monthly Archives: September 2012

Ode to Bob Dylan

Corrugated like words
in the strangely mounded night,
catching us in your rough headlights,
your scorn like lead bullets,
you bought us all time.

Maybe if I had dengue fever
or was a hardshell unbeliever
I wouldn’t have given you a second thought–
with your hungry gypsy women
and your pointed shoes and your bells,
never pointing where true north is,
I would have let you pass by.

But out here in the desert
where the land is softly folded
your words from your new album suddenly cover the hills
like the illuminated manuscript of some mad saint
giving it a patina more refined
than the afternoon could manage on it’s own.

The Hills of Home

Getting Hucked

I worked all summer in Idaho
up around Cour d’Alene
restaurant work, crazy hours
feeding farmhands
and truckers, mostly

Everybody was talking about
crazy about huckleberries
Huckleberry this, huckleberry that
huckleberries in everything
jam, pancakes, syrup, pies

We had this joke
walk into work in the morning
you didn’t have to touch a counter or anything
and there would be a big
huckleberry streak on your arm
We called it getting hucked

Bowling with Nixon

I always thought it would be fun
to bowl with President Nixon
in the basement of the White House.

You know, spot the old boy
a few frames,
watch that goofy grin
slide sideways
as I hook one into the pocket
on the last frame,
beat him by seven,
or even let him win
if I was feeling generous that day.

Maybe Pat would watch us,
clap, bring us a cold one,
laugh at his jokes.

Me and Tricky Dick–
basement bowling buddies.

I miss Mr. High Waisted Pants
with the pancake TV makeup
that could never cover
his sweaty upper lip,
telling us he wasn’t a crook.

Cheap thug, hack,
back stabbing, race baiting,
Jew hating,
whining narcissist politician,

But ol’ Dicky boy, my friend,
you were a fucking liberal choir boy
compared to the venal mafia dons
who run your party now.

Rest easy, Quaker Dick.
You were the last US President
who spent more on social programs
than on defense.

The “Abraham Lincoln of the American Indian,”
father of the EPA,
the Clean Air Act and Earth Day.

Lower your backswing
and keep your hand and wrist
at nine o’clock, old timer.
The Dude would be proud.

–Burl Whitman

Jesus Had a Wife–No Duh

In the New York Times today — somebody found a 4th century papyrus fragment that says Jesus had a wife.

Well, no shit.

Who did he kiss repeatedly in front of the others?

Who was the only one who had the stones to stick by him all the way to the cross, to his burial and beyond?

Who saw him first as risen and was given instructions to tell the others?

Who pissed off the other apostles so much they eventually whined to Jesus about loving her more than them?

And his typically acerbic response:
“why do I not love you like her?”

Who so irritated and threatened Rome with her prominence that the 6th century pope Gregory declared her a prostitute?

Like they say, true love endures all things.

And if anybody knew true love when he saw it–and was a man in full–it was Jerusalem Slim.

–Burl Whitman