this was the poem featured on my birthday

the poem of the day on poetry daily, may 1, 2006:

“When Dylan Left Hibbing, Minnesota, August 1959”

by John Hogden

Not even Dylan then, more like David the Blue-Eyed Shepherd Boy Giant Killer instead,
the way he must have looked in those Golden Book Illustrated Bible Stories we never read,
the ones with the pictures of the prophets, each with a gold record stuck to his head,
or like the Classic Comics Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov rocking and rolling on his bed,
heading on down the highway out of St. Petersburg, the landlord’s axe still in the shed,
throwing stones at all the stop signs a-bleeding in his head.

Wasn’t he a singing terrorist then, slaying us in the aisles, knocking us dead,
like some wild-eyed kid from Fallujah now, his machine gun guitar slipped over his head,
his ass in a sling, his mind full of dynamite, his righteous streets turning red,
his only song his heaven’s door, toward which he runs, arms outspread.
Oh, Zimmerman, we never heard a single word you ever said,
from Ararats to ziggurats, from alpha down to zed,
our heads cut off, our tongues cut out, no words left to be said,
all the things we’ve ever loved, dead, dead, dead, dead.

like I’ve said in a couple responses, I love Bob Dylan, probably because I grew up with my dad reading me dylan songs and poems, by both bob dylan and dylan thomas. this poem is actually about the day bob dylan, then bob zimmerman, left his small hometown of hibbing, minnesota to go to college and eventually get his music career underway.

this poem almost sounded to me like a dylan song. the sound, especially the endings, all variations of the sound “dead” all just remind me of something dylan would write. im pretty sure its about when dylan changed his name from zimmerman to dylan, maybe explains the line “oh, zimmerman, we never heard a word you said,” since he wrote everything under the name dylan. im not really sure of the literary references in the first stanza, and theres quite a shift to the second, especially with the violent imagery, but i really like the phrase “singing terrorist,” implying that dylans songs actually elicited some sort of physical response.

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