Bob Dylan on Sacrifice, the Unconscious Mind, and How to Cultivate the Perfect Environment for Creative Work
“People have a hard time accepting anything that overwhelms them.”
Van Morrison once characterized Bob Dylan (b.
Each of 5 stories below is 55 words each:
Five Short Shorts by Dan Campbell
Middle-aged Dan sat down for lunch one day and chomped into his 5,000th hamburger. On the first bite, a tail sprouted from his sternum. Horns shot from his brow on the second bite. He tried calling for help when hooves replaced his shoes on the third bite, but all he could do was moo.
“Our daughter sleeps around,” she said.
“The garage roof leaks,” he said.
“I read her diary, she does drugs, she sleeps around.”
“How can I afford a new roof?”
“She might have AIDS; she sleeps around.”
“A new roof; that will cost at least $1,500!”
“A damn she new sleeps roof around,” they said.
House arrest led me to a new career—collecting yawns. The best yawns, rare as pearls, are kept in Petri dishes and studied by experts on yawn anatomy. The most valuable yawns explode unexpectedly like corks from bottles of wine. When we collect a specimen like that, we break open the champagne and yawn wildly!
THE JACK BROTHERS
Remember those sickos? The anorexic Sprat that ate no fat. The anti-social Horner huddling in the corner. And let’s not forget the pedophile that molested Jill on the hill. Grown old, they are drunks now. They like to pass around bottles of homemade brew and whistle at the old lady who lives in a shoe.
Petrified by heights, but in love, so years ago I climbed a mountain to paint the biggest heart ever, fill it with our names so everyone could see. The heart’s still there. I often think of when she’s out with her husband, she looks up, sees us together again. Yes, love’s sweet; so is revenge.
Dan Campbell works for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington DC. He has served in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and worked in more than 20 countries. His poems have been published in The Exquisite Corpse, Rattapallax, and other magazines. One poem, “The Bus Rider,” was written into a song and performed at a chamber opera for the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art in Washington DC.
Like most who dabble with the dirty, pretentious circle-jerk that is modern poetry, I am a raging narcissist, completely unable to fathom or grasp the concept that anyone could be compared to anyone else.
This is an interesting and moving poem about the prayer habits of women and shepherds in another region of the world and about the young ones who went to America and no longer prayed. Dan
Different Ways to Pray – BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE | Source: Poetry Foundation website |
There was the method of kneeling,
a fine method, if you lived in a country
where stones were smooth.
The women dreamed wistfully of bleached courtyards,
hidden corners where knee fit rock.
Their prayers were weathered rib bones,
small calcium words uttered in sequence,
as if this shedding of syllables could somehow
fuse them to the sky.
There were the men who had been shepherds so long
they walked like sheep.
Under the olive trees, they raised their arms—
Hear us! We have pain on earth!
We have so much pain there is no place to store it!
But the olives bobbed peacefully
in fragrant buckets of vinegar and thyme.
At night the men ate heartily, flat bread and white cheese,
and were happy in spite of the pain,
because there was also happiness.
Some prized the pilgrimage,
wrapping themselves in new white linen
to ride buses across miles of vacant sand.
When they arrived at Mecca
they would circle the holy places,
on foot, many times,
they would bend to kiss the earth
and return, their lean faces housing mystery.
While for certain cousins and grandmothers
the pilgrimage occurred daily,
lugging water from the spring
or balancing the baskets of grapes.
These were the ones present at births,
humming quietly to perspiring mothers.
The ones stitching intricate needlework into children’s dresses,
forgetting how easily children soil clothes.
There were those who didn’t care about praying.
The young ones. The ones who had been to America.
They told the old ones, you are wasting your time.
Time?—The old ones prayed for the young ones.
They prayed for Allah to mend their brains,
for the twig, the round moon,
to speak suddenly in a commanding tone.
And occasionally there would be one
who did none of this,
the old man Fowzi, for example, Fowzi the fool,
who beat everyone at dominoes,
insisted he spoke with God as he spoke with goats,
and was famous for his laugh.