|||||Dylan - 4th time around||]|
I have been reading Dylan’s Chronicles. It’s funny, politically too, at least to me now, and naturally poetic. I would love to think like that: sometimes I nearly do, as the moon lies low through my window, dogs in the neighbourhood howl at ghosts or smells or the lunar ball.
It sifts into my dreams. The other night I dreamt I met the grandson of Ezra Pound. We were discussing some Art Nouveau gargoyles in the dusk by a Riga canal: well he was, I was listening. We wound up in a part of town that I frequent when I am asleep quite a lot. Somewhere loosely based on a big wide part of Brivibas Street where the centre passed the baton to another era. He invited me into a museum, the kind that Dylan wandered into just out of New Orleans - kaada savdabiiga vieta - I got to see Ezra, old now, and fading in and out of time. I didn’t know what to say. Dylan didn’t like him for political reasons. I didn’t mention that, but I did tell him and his first wife, Dorothy Shakespeare (who was also there - sitting next to him and holding his hand), that I didn’t know much about poetry, but I liked his economic analysis. Dorothy smiled, and said “Oh did you! You know he’s not all here.” And that was that: he was gone. I read some of the Pisan Cantos to my family over breakfast, but they detected that I didn’t know what half of it meant.
I once spent an afternoon in Paris with an Indian-French woman. We went to Shakespeare’s bookshop. I didn’t know it was Dorothy’s. Later, I picked up a biography of Ezra in a Soros office-space, and fell in love with the picture of her in her youth. The Indian showed me Notre Dame, and gave me local knowledge. We were there because we were being paid. I spent some of the money on a plastic plate for my youngest daughter.. We talked a bit about immigration because someone had just got a standing ovation for stating that “Nationalism was evil”. I told her about Latvia, and she said, “well maybe it will do them some good (immigration): might liven them up a bit.” I said, looking into the Seine, ripples regenerating, that ‘maybe they don’t want to be livened up'. She didn’t have an answer for that and later the Cathedral was burnt down.
I didn’t want to write this next bit. The sun has only just set into the sea, and the ashes have only just been sprinkled, and it seems ungodly - profane - horrible and grotesque to mention my feelings, but just in case you got this far, and I haven’t answered your email, or returned your call, or been to your social engagement, or engaged you in friendly meandering conversation, maybe this will help a little.
I was waiting for someone near the IR offices, killing time by reading a dense book about NGOs. It was that time when the unclean without the code were being mocked and outcast: maybe you remember? Well, it struck me then, that if this author was correct, then now the PayMasters have really got you whipped: now you are really having to pay the price for always having had the right opinions and being - to boot - nice and fluffy rabbits.
I mean you can maybe not do so well in a debate about immigration with some awful person, but you can console yourself that your opponent is basically a bigot in their withered heart: as opposed to you.
You can maybe not do as well as you would have liked in a debate with some socially conservative type about - I don’t know - modern families, but it’s okay: at least you know about ‘love’, don’t you?
Maybe one of these cocky types gave you a hard time about the lockdowns? Doesn’t matter: at least you know your place, listen to the experts, and have a social conscience, and so on.
But then it happened. Right in front of your nose. A whole swathe of us were denied work, access to society, and it was winter to boot. We couldn’t see an end to it. It engulfed us, and you looked on, and took the piss.
Or said nothing. Played your gigs, went to concerts, and flung it in our faces. I went to one illicitly in a warehouse out of town It was specially for the unclean after lord-knows how many months, and 10 seconds into it I wept.
The dreadful thing is not that you can’t even make an argument for it. I mean a couple of you tried, but it was embarrassing: you were coded and ill and spreading it. No, the really awful thing is that the NGO-view, the one in full view of you and all those friends around you - was tyrannical. It was grotesque and profane. We, who had spent so much time with you, were flung into some pit fit for untermenschen, with your approval.
And now, when I see one of your ilk complain about some conservative as being ‘an enemy of human rights’, I don’t know whether to puke or shake. There is nothing to you now. No shred of coherent ideology remains. You are naked, No one outside your circle takes you seriously anymore.
Apocalypse, in its own way.
Maybe you could jump that ship. The water’s not too bad. Apologise, and some bridges could be bent back into shape, or at least you can float on this flotsam with me and my wife.
Pull down thy vanity (which could, of course, apply to me). Thou (we) are a beaten dog beneath the hail, a swollen magpie in a fitful sun; half black half white, nor knowest’ou wing from tail. Pull down thy (my) vanity, How mean thy (my) hates, fostered in falsity, pull down thy (my) vanity, I say pull down.