For Bob Dylan
I recited this at Bob’s 60th Birthday Party
Out of the pages of the literary renaissance
And onto the ears of a thirsty nation
that waited for times to change
To rearrange the government
to move people from the woes
of war and desolation
closer to compassion, brotherhood,
sisterhood, nationhood
There was no answer from the schools,
no attempt from Hollywood
nor the news that Cronkite would give,
music was the answer; a messenger
for the frustrated, disillusioned
striver of the American dream
appearing, at times, like a nightmare,
that only music and poetry could remedy,
so the goods that were delivered by
Gibran, Whitman, Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg
and Kerouac were passed to Bobby Zimmerman
then to Bob Dylan when times were in desperate
need for a changin’
Folk poet-master-troubadour-angry Jewish kid out of
the corner pocket of the American dope deal,
arrogant lover of life, the bard with a beard of butterflies,
flies to the moon, comes back
With a silver box and a revolution tucked deep inside
When everyone was comfortable
with Uncle Bob they felt raked over
like blood on the tracks; the folksters and hipsters
balked at his Marshall stacks,
the quintessential hippy-acoustic-guitar-harp man went electric.
“Oh my god”, screamed the kids
But wasn’t he always electric?
buzzing with the static of planet earth
the grace of the face of the American folk hero, the beat,
the outsider, the in-your-face up-your-throat
giver of wine and words and time
is the man we know as Bob Dylan.
From the Vietnam generation to generation X
to the cyber-screwed children of the new millennium,
he treads the spread of the American eagle, giving us this day our daily bread,
greetings us with the goods and wisdom
that we so desperately need. Happy Birthday Bob!

copyright 2001, Frank Messina

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