Half time Show, Super Bowl XLVII


Beyonce-HalftimeYou didn’t see it on tv,
when the ghostly figure in his tattered shirt
took over the stage,
when all the pyrotechnics stopped,
when Beyonce and all the
wannabe Beyoncettes backed away
from the frail, creepy figure with the battered guitar
with the sign;
he strummed and sang in a raspy
voice and hardly anyone could hear
because they cut the mikes
not wanting to upset the megastars
and wannabe megastarrettes in the seats.
He apologized for his voice.
“Been dead a while, now,” he said,
“but think how loud you have to sing
to be heard from the grave.”
Springsteen and Havens and Seeger,
Taj Mahal and Dylan and Joan Baez
came out to play acoustic back-up,
to join in the chorus:
Rich man took my home and drove me from my door
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.
Nobody clapped and nobody sang along;
hardly anybody heard them at all
which made it just like always.
My father’s own father
he waded that river
they took all the money he made in his life.
“Records fall every day,” he shouted
“409,846 immigrants deported last year;
liberal is just another mask for the same
fascist lizards we’ve ever had.”
The others tried to calm him down
and he shrugged them off.
“That’s the trouble with you people
you’re all cowards at the end of the day.”
He spit on the stage and walked away.
It isn’t known whether anyone in the stands paid attention.
The others did a rendition of this Land Is Your Land.
This land was made for you and me, they sang
but it didn’t feel like they really meant it.
Then half time was over.
The Ravens ran back the kick-off for a touchdown.
Then the 49’ers got the ball.
By then the word came down to cut the power
and change reality again.
Everyone agreed Beyonce was amazing.

—Donald Whittington

Photo of Woody Guthrie


Abandoned lines and verses from Bob Dylan songs


The boy blew up a green balloon,
Pretended it was autumn’s moon,
Stretched it like some wry baboon,
Then smushed it back to norm;
C’mon settle on a form,
Prolatus or oblate!
Gravity’s a simple twist of fate.

—A Simple Twist of Fate

If you should see me nodding off
Come halfway through this song,
You’ll know that I’ve done wrong,
And I have sung too long,
A virgin in a thong,
Is holding out my bong,
I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I think I will get high now.

—Mr. Tambourine Man

Oh, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s thatch no more.

—Maggie’s Farm

How many bottles of beer are on the wall?
And what if you take one down?
Take that one down and pass it around.
Oh, what is the point of it all?

—Blowing in the Wind

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
Damn it, I said out.
What’s with the inquisition?
All the other kids get to stay out late.
Stop ruining my life, you fascist bastard.
I hate you.

—A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

It’s Friday, Friday!
Belafonte’s fish says,
Gotta get down on Friday!
Botticelli’s second cousin whistling.
Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend!
Friday, Friday!
(Harmonica here)

—Unfinished song written while
staying with the Black family after
motorcycle accident (very rare)



Chillin’ With Dylan

from PaiVerde and the most excellent folks at Deviant Art

So watching Hell’s Kitchen last night I turned to Bob Dylan and said
Bob, that title “Hell’s Kitchen” would have made a good Dylan song
don’t you think? And he said, “I believe you’re right. Let’s put one
together now while the Ramsey muse is corking through us.”
So we grabbed some Martin guitars from an itinerant neighborhood peddler
and banged our heads into the backs of them and the lyrics just poured.

Trailer trash heroes in the hunt for a dollar
loading their ‘backy with a steel melon-baller
no chef is too drunk or too wide or too rude
no language too coarse, no tattoo too crude
sweat bullets and if they drip onto the meat it
don’t matter ’cause some fool will probably eat it
In Hell (big chord here) (sprattanggggg!)
Hellllllllllllllll’s k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-kitch—

This really sucks, Bob.
Well, wait a minute, now that I hear the whole thing…
Nah, you’re right, man. Call Springsteen and see if he has any ideas.

But Bruce had no ideas so we spent the rest of the evening prank calling Eric Ripert.
(Call him up. Ask for Jaques D. Ripert. Drives him nuts.)

—–Don Whittington