Sunday, March 8, 2015

Readings: Dylan on Madonna

It seems that it has always been fashionable for the prudes, the hipsters, and the envious to knock Madonna. I may need to cop to having been among them when she first splashed onto the scene in New York City. But that all changed at some later point when I read up on her life story--I don't remember where--and realized that the woman had paid her dues, worked her ass off, and turned a modicum of talent and beauty into a uniquely innovative, ground-breaking pop music industry. That she is from my home state of Michigan didn't hurt, either. That after coming to New York City to "make it," she studied Graham technique modern dance under Pearl Lang (for whom I worked for awhile, back in the 1970s) served to enhance my admiration. Today, Madonna is being mocked by the assholes of the world for not looking like she's 20-something as she approaches age 60. Well, fuck them.

Yesterday, as I was surfing around on Facebook, I came across somebody's blog post that somebody else had shared and that showed up on my news feed. The post contained quotes from a 1991 Bob Dylan interview with Paul Zollo that had appeared in Songwriters on Songwriting, whatever that was I was surprised to see that Dylan--easily the most influential musical figure in my life--shared my good opinion of Ms. Ciccone--and for the same basic reason:

Dylan considers what it takes to be among the few rare exceptions worthy of true creative respect:
"Madonna’s good, she’s talented, she puts all kinds of stuff together, she’s learned her thing… But it’s the kind of thing which takes years and years out of your life to be able to do. You’ve got to sacrifice a whole lot to do that. Sacrifice. If you want to make it big, you’ve got to sacrifice a whole lot."

And that she did. Thanks, Madonna. And thank you, Bob.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rants: Please Don't Share Your Bad Ideas

Yesterday, while surfing around on Facebook, I saw a meme asking people to boycott products made by Koch brothers enterprises. No! Bad idea! Think a minute! If every one of their businesses went broke tomorrow, they would still have billions and billions of dollars. The only people you could possibly hurt by boycotting their products is the struggling wage-earners who are employed in making them, distributing them, and selling them. Do you perhaps think that you would be hurting the Koch brothers' feelings by not buying their products? I doubt that very much. But, if you really want to hurt their feelings, just do it with a Facebook status: THE KOCH BROTHERS ARE BIG STINKY POOPYHEAD DUMDUMS!! There. Feel better now?

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On a lighter note, since we are snowed in down here in Southeast Ohio, I have just spent several hours fixing the links in the left sidebar to my stories and poems stored at Zoho Writer. If you're bored, have a look at a couple.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rodak's Writings: Marriage and Loss

I am currently a bit less than half-way through Richard Powers' novel, Orfeo.  The following few lines, found on p. 54, generated by the musings of the protagonist, musical composer and amateur gene-splicer, Peter Els, for some reason hit me hard:

"The book on his nightstand opened to where he'd left off the night before. He stopped each evening at the top of the left-hand page, the end of the first paragraph--one of a thousand foolish, useful habits Madolyn had taught him. His wife as still so present in his habits that he couldn't believe they'd been apart now for four times longer than they'd been together."

That habit of ending a reading session as the excerpt describes is a habit I share. I did not pick it up from any of my three wives, nor have I been apart from any but, perhaps, the second, as much as four times longer than we were together. Nonetheless, there are many habits I still possess--or which possess me--that I've picked up from each of them. So, they are all still very much present, and I suppose, they always will be.

These lines in Powers' book, which set me to thinking about my wives, is also what gave birth, I'm quite certain, to the following poem, my most recent:


She sits somewhere, I suppose,
getting all gooey with lust
for her new found freedom.

Here, where I stay,
the juice has run dry.
I coo at the cat and think
about having some light lunch.

Afraid now of shop clerks
and parking lot crowds,
I sit folded within,
pinned down and pithed
by the pointed thrust
of resignation’s dull bliss.

In an unguarded moment
I may I catch myself feeling
with my thumb
for the ring that’s not there.

Isn't it funny how life and art work together at times?