Still in Lockdown and what to write about? I could write some nice cosy stuff to help with staying at home, but no, let’s write about the monumentally shit government we have here in the UK.
The Prime Minister tried ayahuasca, with his favourite flapjack biscuit It acted as a truth serum, ‘keep quiet? No I’ll risk it…’
And he and his government said…
To help us with this virus, we’ll get an app called track and trace It’s gonna be ‘world-beating’, it’ll be so fucking ace But what we say and what we do, always vastly differs Maybe cos a few of us, are kite high cocaine sniffers We shan’t put the app up for tender, our mates will get the deal With worthless firms with no assets, it’s the public purse we steal Yes we are the Posh School Muggers, largest gang of the entire hood We’re in politics for self-interest, WE ARE the greater good Any blame? We’ll shift or spin it, double down on our lies each day And our moody mates in the media, will create a shadow play To indoctrinate lesser thinkers, the ones obsessed with flags Like dear old Donald that President, who hugs them like their WAGs (remember that!?) We can see you all a-coming, but you can’t see the real us Now we’re painting aeroplanes like that Brexit bus We’re always making U turns, more than plumbers have U bends Our thinking is all blocked up, our policies are dead ends We are the vain-glorious government, we boast and do things by half If it wasn’t for DANIEL Rashford we’d have let your kids all starve And whilst we’re on the subject, of food and animal welfare We’re allowing chlorinated chicken, cos truly we don’t care And for dessert there’s Aussie Timtams, a better deal than our EU neighbours Brought to you from the party, that favours party favours I think you get the idea now, I’ve done my full days shift 20 minutes is quite enough, time to get into my fridge.
So we are in Lockdown. The Corona virus ruling the world like a pretender. Many have extra time on the hands, perfect for creativity in the arts, but how is our collective imagination at the moment? For me, creativity is there, but not overflowing. Some artists have posted on social media that creativity is lacking. For me, I am enjoying nature walks, close to home I might add.
Our peoples poet, Mr Bob, has released new material during this pandemic crisis. I latched on to his 2nd release, ‘I Contain Multitudes’. After hearing it on Vevo/YouTube, I instantly felt that it needed some kind of response from me.
Just after this a local poet here in Leicester, Cathi Rae aka RubiesAndDuels, posted on the Leicester group site SomeAntics, detailing a writing exercise to while away a couple of hours. The instruction, to take a poetic piece say 20-40 lines, copy it into Google translate and translate from English to another, then that translation to another, then to another, say 3 or 4 times, finally back to English. The end result, a rather jumbled version of the original text. After this, cut up the piece into lines and rearrange into your own form.
So of course I chose Dylan’s ‘Multitudes’ piece. Incidentally, on looking this up I found that the great Walt Whitman used this idiom ahead of Dylan. Also Dylan name-checks some other greats within his piece, William Blake, The Rolling Stones, Anne Frank and an ‘all the young dudes’ tip of the hat to Bowie.
My translation choices were: English – Danish – Italian – Russian – Japanese – English.
Above: Walt Whitman, Anne Frank, David Bowie
So here is Dylan’s original lyrics, followed by my multi-translation/cut-up:
“I Contain Multitudes” Bob Dylan
Today and tomorrow, and yesterday, too The flowers are dying like all things do Follow me close, I’m going to Balian Bali I’ll lose my mind if you don’t come with me I fuss with my hair, and I fight blood feuds I contain multitudes
Got a tell-tale heart, like Mr. Poe Got skeletons in the walls of people you know I’ll drink to the truth and the things we said I’ll drink to the man that shares your bed I paint landscapes, and I paint nudes I contain multitudes
Red Cadillac and a black moustache Rings on my fingers that sparkle and flash Tell me, what’s next? What shall we do? Half my soul, baby, belongs to you I relic and I frolic with all the young dudes I contain multitudes
I’m just like Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones And them British bad boys, The Rolling Stones I go right to the edge, I go right to the end I go right where all things lost are made good again I sing the songs of experience like William Blake I have no apologies to make Everything’s flowing all at the same time I live on the boulevard of crime I drive fast cars, and I eat fast foods I contain multitudes
Pink petal-pushers, red blue jeans All the pretty maids, and all the old queens All the old queens from all my past lives I carry four pistols and two large knives I’m a man of contradictions, I’m a man of many moods I contain multitudes
You greedy old wolf, I’ll show you my heart But not all of it, only the hateful part I’ll sell you down the river, I’ll put a price on your head What more can I tell you? I sleep with life and death in the same bed Get lost, madame, get up off my knee Keep your mouth away from me I’ll keep the path open, the path in my mind I’ll see to it that there’s no love left behind I’ll play Beethoven’s sonatas, and Chopin’s preludes I contain multitudes
Bob Dylan’s “I Contain Multitudes” after Google translating through Danish, then Italian, then Russian, then Japanese and finally back to English. Then lines cut and rearranged.
Shake your hair to fight hostility Follow me carefully, I go to Bali Today, tomorrow, and yesterday A lot
I’m a controversial person, I’m a different mood I play Beethoven Sonata and Chopin Prelude I drive a fast car and eat fast food A lot
Red cadillac and black cable I enjoy, and enjoy with all the young people I’m Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones Flowers die like everyone
I leave the way open, the way in my head I drink the truth and what we said I’ll lose my head if you’re not together Half of my soul’s darling is yours
Every beautiful girl and every old queen Go straight to the limit, go to the end Pink petals button, red blue jeans A flashing ring
I have an eloquent heart like Mr. Poe There is a skeleton on the wall of the person who knows And these bad British people, Rolling Stone Sing experiences like William Blake A lot
I live in detective boulevard Ugly old wolf, I show you my heart All the old queens of my past life Keep your mouth away from me
Please tell me the details Sleep dead alive in the same bed But not all, only the disliked part Everything flows at the same time A lot
Draw a landscape and draw naked Drink for someone sharing a bed I sell you by the river, I’ve set the price on your head I only go to where all the lost stuff goes well again
I’m sure there is no love left Become a lost woman, step down your knees There is no excuse I have 4 pistols and 2 big knives
“When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won. That will be ere the set of sun.”
“On the Edge with Edgar” (some f words may sound better read as ‘fly’)
Now that Mr Allen POE, really had a go at putting words together, now I’ll TRY to find the words that fit and in comfort might sit together, as friends who laugh or cry.
Now I ain’t misbehavin’ when I speak of the Raven who perches, as the omen above our door Cos as you may know, that damned bird should go It can fuck off, and when done, fuck off some more.
Cos to mess with the portals, of us mere mortals Is a despicable act, I may say Cos it leaves us, not knowing, whether we’re coming or going we seem lost whether it’s night or the day.
Now another thing I’ve heard, it may be true or absurd Is that the ravens of London’s Tower, are the Queens and that if they flutter off, the Queen’s head could come orf Now that would make for a bloody scene.
Are our bedrooms really towers, with bird-guards and powers keeping us people locked up, mindlessly? Well the birds have fucked off, they’ve flown every one we can disown the birds, you, and me can be free.
Bradgate Writers today, Tuesday 10 March, facilitated by Brandon Oliver.
Everyday phrases and cut-up Poems made for a very good session indeed.
“I don’t understand”
these infernal instructions. Every time it’s the same. We visit the special Swedish embassy for furniture self-assembly, IKEA, EKEA, however you KEA say it, it’s always the same. You get home and that little stick-man is there, all smiley and staring at you from the instruction sheet. The little furniture assembly demon, grinning from EKEA ear to ear, in ecstasy awaiting the swearing and gnashing of teeth as you cannot distinguish the A1 nuts from the B2 ones. You cannot put it together, and you’re not altogether yourself. And then the blessed advice from your loved one, drop the EKEA and get on EBAY. Search for a pre-loved, pre-owned, PRE-ASSEMBLED unit, half the price and half the distance from your nearest scandalous Scandinavian site. Job done. Balls to it. Meatballs that is. Oh and Italian meatballs at that.
The Bradgate Writers sessions resumed yesterday to set off into 2020. Peter Buckley leading. Apparently elephants and elevators are a thing the start of this season, and so the elephants of our room were addressed. I teamed up with Ravi for some pop pop boom collaboration, or maybe it was poop poop boom in a messy looking lift?
The new year arrived, I watched it on the telly
The champagne bubbles can be bad for your belly
The bubbles did burst, I saw an elephant dance
I was waiting for an elevator to take me to France
The lift doors did open, there wasn’t much room
The elephant was in there, pop pop boom
I squeezed myself in, avoiding the elephant dung
I can’t quite believe how this new year’s begun
I wanted ‘up’ in the lift, but it was only going down
The lift is very heavy with an elephant in town.
I play with words, I put them together attach them, blend them, join them, tether but here is the latest, here is the news it’s time, for me, to have a new muse don’t get me wrong, things have been okay but me and my words, need a new way to fuse ink into page, and my voice to find something more fanciful to embrace and bind a new plan is needed, I think what is meant is a countdown to me marrying Miss Susie Dent! Now you may have heard of her, she’s on the TV she’s flirty on Countdown, oh flirt with me the wordy goddess, in dictionary corner she leaves me agog, and ever so hornier she sings to me words, both ancient and new well I may be a poet, but my words are too few I follow her on Twitter, but I’m not her stalker but fast forward a few months down the aisle I might walk her Us, Mr and Mrs, King and Queen of the word I know it’ll happen, don’t say it’s absurd I’ll send my sweet love, in letters each day, this love book I’ll build, then we’ll roll in the hay screaming obscure words from her Twitter feed that I knew not of, but I’m thankful I need her as bride at my side, in my heart and my head my books will be best-sellers, I’ll be widely read and what is more, our future, will be, beyond estimation cos after the wedding there’s that, you know, consummation and then the pitter patter of new, adverbing nouns who’ll grow up and sing, to all the villages and towns princes and princesses in beautiful song and the youth of the country will all tag along… aahhh, wait a minute – a reality check I’m getting carried away, I’m not the full deck the cards all need checking, from ace to king did I seriously think she’d wear my wedding ring? Oh my fanciful thoughts, back to reason and fact Maybe I’m the joker, in the playing card pack.
Are you posh, plenty of dosh Do you speak of the great unwashed? Does your account, amount To sums of money, all day to count? Does your thinking, stretch to tinkering Ensuring lives of plebs are sinking Rich your stinking But I say shit Are you fit, to offer wisdom and quick wit, at the dinner parties where you sit, Where you could charm, and banish harm And for stormy weather bring some calm To the lives of the unfortunately affected. Or is your cheating game perfected Around an Astor idol, wrongly erected And smiling down on a slaved nation Does truth sit inside your explanation Detonation detonation The boom within her bust.