And Yet

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At my roots I’m a Midwestern kid,
but right now I’m down south with Faulkner.

“The Sound and the Fury.” Heard of it?
Ever read Shakespeare? That’s where it comes from.

That, my friends, is called “The Tradition.”
Most who create simply remake old worlds

so they can remember the good times.
Even when at rock bottom, ice skating

across a small pond with a scarf on,
leaning fiercely into the frozen wind

trying to act as if it’s all right
that their daytime has turned to darkest night,

they look around and try to recall
their light, their passion, their sound and fury.

Some find nothing, but that’s ok, man.
Think of the bell curves we see so often

and realize that’s how our lives go.
Peaks and valleys. What goes up must come down

and vice-versa, of course. Think about
Timberlake when Christian stomped on his chest

in the ’91 semifinal.
He jumped right back up and kept playing ball.

The reason why is very simple.
#25 was a Wildcat.

It’s true that if you don’t like b-ball
the previous stanzas were not for you,

but somewhere out there, the Midwest smiles
thinking of Sean Woods’ tear-drop banking in.

Right around the Mason-Dixon line
they love all the ball players equally.

The blue ones? In Rupp? In Lexington?
That’s where they’re alive. Footloose. Fancy-free.

For fleeting moments fans feel like kids
screaming. Yelling at the top of their lungs

like they used to. We were all kids, once.
That’s one thing we all have in common.

Common? Now that man is a word smith.
He’s one of the greatest living poets,

but he raps lines, so some discount him.
They can’t comprehend his verbal fountain

Is he less of a genius? Yeah … right.
“Lend me a light – know we this face or no?”

“We known each other for some time.
Don’t take a whole day to recognize the sunshine.”

That’s Common answering Iago,
a character from Wild Bill’s Othello

which must have ruffled a few feathers
when The Bard composed it so long ago.

This is all crazy. I’m well aware.
It gets crazier the further we go.

Do you see the way these words just flow
like the river through phrases nine and ten?

Not bad, right? But it won’t impress those
smug Harvard scholars with upturned noses.

They can’t stand when rules aren’t followed, going:
“That word vomit he spews out is awful.”

To them: be prepared, like hyenas.
You? In the pit? With Scar? Your time’s coming.

I’m about to find Bubba Watson’s
big dog and let the son of a bitch eat.

I won’t need a single mulligan.
When I’m done I’ll run a triathlon

up in my head. It’s 2:33
and the sandman is patiently waiting

but I have many more words to write.
I have miles to go before I sleep.

Don’t call me a poet. That ain’t me.
I take phrases and make them my own. So?

It’s tradition. If Bob Dylan said,
“That whippersnapper stole my lines!” … Uh … Bob?

Woody Guthrie’s on the phone for you
and so is Little Richard, Hank Williams

Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot,
the entire book of Acts and who else?

Hmmm. I’m not sure about this one but,
I’ve got a feeling it might be Rimbaud.

Or maybe it could be Captain Kidd.
That was your name in your one-one-fifth dream

back when you decided to go home
after the coin you flipped landed on tails.

That rhymes with “jails” as well as “sails,” yes?
Of course. You broke free from Hibbing Prison

with help from folks you knew long ago.
What did it feel like to sing beside Joan

on the day of Reverend King’s speech
when he said the four words, “I have a dream…”?

Do you remember how happy you were
when you met Mr. Cash and jumped for joy?

What about Big Pink, up in Woodstock?
Mrs. Henry thought you were noisy, right?

What did you do? You played fuckin’ loud
while screaming, “How does it feel?” to the crowd.

This next part will sound strange, but it’s true.
Sometimes I believe I’m listening to you

as you bitch about coffee, june bugs
and old motorbikes on some frequency

I randomly hacked into one day.
I think it’s important to tell you, sir

without your soul I couldn’t write words,
connect the dots or see red and green chords.

Seems as if it’s that way for many.
J. Geils. Knopfler. Chris Barron. Petty.

Now back to the questions from before
about things I have no business knowing.

Was there a .38 in the drawer
when you shared the big, brass bed with Sara

a metaphorical steam-shovel
to keep away all the mindless zombies?

I’m not some “tortured artist,” you know?
You won’t catch me in a Mandrake cape. No.

I work a normal nine-to-five, man.
Actually it’s more like nine-to-seven.

My job’s to eat shit, most of the time,
then when I get home I spit out some lines

a little like you and those before.
I’m not better or worse. I know the deal.

I’m a parrot. A raven. Bawk! Bawk!
That’s just me. I’m the Sound and the Fury

of a tale told by an idiot,
signifying nothing. I’m a pencil.

The pencil line was written by Megh
as Ball and Biscuit wailed in a high Drop D.

I hope that made her sad eyes twinkle.
That poor girl doesn’t get enough credit.

Now out, damned spot, for it’s three AM.
Rob Thomas wrote a song about that once.

He was lonely. I’m not. I’m tired
and possibly ill, but scared of doctors

and what they’ll say about 93 pounds
shed without once stepping into a gym

and a silly nose that’s free and clear
of any form of Eric Clapton’s vice.

Could it be cancer? Maybe. Don’t know.
Don’t care. When it’s your time to go, you go.

I would like to rest. To sleep. To dream.
All I really want to do is go home

but the good Lord and heavenly host
must believe I’m not ready to join them.

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