Friday, July 27, 2012

'Like magic, it would seem,' a poem about 'Blowin' in the Wind' by Mike Marcellino

Poet, songwriter performing artist Mike Marcellino
sports "Hard Travlin'" T-shirt with art by Woody Guthrie
he was given at the Woody tribute
in Cleveland in 1996 

Like magic, it would seem
by mike marcellino

Four and a half days,

that's fast,

faster than the dust bowl days,

even today,

A la Woody Guthrie, but in the 60s,

off the siding

of the interstate highway

to route sixty-six, at times

stranded 'in a wasteland of the free'

to quote Iris DeMent.

On the road to find out

what America's all about -

like Woody's 'This Land Is Land'

sort of thing,

or maybe more like

Masters of War a Bob Dylan sort of thing. Truth is we were

freewheelin' across our fair land

at those very same moments

when Bob was writing an' singin' all that stuff.

On our first big ride, we were

almost saved

somewhere in the darkness of Kansas

by an unnamed family

always silently in fervent prayer.

We did get to eat at the break of day,

not sure where, but somewhere east of oz.

Hands out, even doin' a bit a soft shoe

echoes on the side of the road

like magic, it would seem.

We didn't see any evidence of a war


far away

in a place half way round

the globe

we were told

where in the dark blue mountains

it don't even snow

like magic, it would seem.

Our last night on the highway to LA

almost became really our last night.

You had to boost yourself up

to get into the cab. Then pitch black

only illuminated by dial for the gas,

we started going off the road,

we were on the edge

of oblivion, but that

kind truck driver woke up

put us straight


Not sure I remember what 

was going on 

in that summer of sixty-four,

two years before

we went off to war, 

except the Beach Boys. Maybe that

all got erased 

where in the dark blue mountains 

it don't even snow

like magic, it would seem.

But I took along all those versus, Bob, 

from 'Blowin' in the Wind' to 'I Shall Be Free'

with 'Corina, Cornia' in between. I knew

just when a song would come up.

"Did you know that people say 

you wrote that first song in 10 minutes?"

"I'd call that really speedin', wouldn't you?"

"Well try to sit down and write something like that. Ah, there's a magic to that," 

he once tired to explain.

But our road trip wasn't over. We took a train

to Nevada, Las Vegas that is,

and after the fare it left us 

with twenty bucks, 

not to spare.

Little wheel spin and spin

in the Desert Inn.


"No, green!"

(A terrible scream)

Echoes on the side of the road

where in the dark blue mountains 

it don't even snow.

Like magic, it would seem.

Like magic it would seem by Mike Marcellino copyright 2012

Mike Marcellino just recorded a new song, "Woody Blues," his song to Woody Guthrie marks the century celebration of the work of the legendary American folk singer from the Great Depression of the 1930 and 1940s.  Guthrie would have been 100 years old on July 14, 2012.  Woody's music and life on the road with the downtrodden has influenced generations of musicians around the world to the present day.  Guthrie was a mentor of Bob Dylan, who visited Woody while he was hospital in New York City.  Guthrie died in 1967 at age 55 from Huntington's Disease.

Dylan explains his magic on 60 Minutes

Bob Dylan in a 60 Minutes interview with Ed Bradley in 2004 admitted he took him about 10 minutes to write Blowing in the Wind.  Dylan said it was a "penetrating magic" in creativity that enabled him to write his early songs.  

Here's an excerpt of Ed Bradley's interview with Bob Dylan -

BD: Well try to sit down and write something like that. Ah, there's a magic to that. And it's not a sigfried and roy (reference to a magician and lion tamer performing duo) kind of magic . It's a penetrating kind of magic. I did it at one time.

EB: You don't think you could do it today?

BD: uh huh...

EB: Does this disappoint you?

BD: You can't do something for ever. (shakes his head slightly) I did it once and I can do other things now. I can't do that. (he looks down)

So, you guess about that.  Here's a video of the song and the lyrics.  Introduced by Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan sings Blowin' in the Wind with Ron Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones at Live Aid in 1985.  The song is #14 n Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Dylan is 71.

Blowin' In the Wind
by Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Copyright © 1962 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1990 by Special Rider Music

Here's a link to Bob Dylan's website for more stuff - 

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