A while back I made a post: A Poet Is… What Bob Dylan Has to Say and there was some interesting debate about Dylan being a poet. Well a good friend of mine recently turned me on to Bob performing a killer version of Jokerman back in 1984 on the Letterman show, which for mine has to be one of the greatest example of song lyrics working as poetry. If you need any convincing, read this:
It’s a shadowy world, skies are slippery gray
A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet
He’ll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat
Take the motherless children off the street
And place them at the feet of a harlot
(read the full lyrics here)
And I also recently came across this poem published in The New Yorker, which is taken from a book titled Hollywood Foto Rhetoric: The Lost Manuscript, which collects previously unpublished poetry by Dylan and photographs by Barry Feinstein.
after crashin the sportscar
into the chandelier
i ran out t the phone booth
made a call t my wife. she wasnt home.
i panicked. i called up my best friend
but the line was busy
then i went t a party but couldnt find a chair
somebody wiped their feet on me
so i decided t leave
i felt awful. my mouth was puckered.
arms were stickin thru my neck
my stomach was stuffed an bloated
dogs licked my face
people stared at me an said
“what’s wrong with you?”
passin two successful friends of mine
i stopped t talk.
they knew i was feelin bad
an gave me some pills
i went home an began writin
a suicide note
it was then that i saw
that crowd comin down
i really have nothing
Is Dylan a poet? Let the debate roll on, but I know what side of the fence I am sitting.