I'm bouncing across the Scottish heath in a rented Morris Minor and listening to an interview with Rat Scabies, drummer of the first punk band, The Damned, and Mr. Scabies, who’s probably 50 or so and living comfortably on royalties, is as recalcitrant as ever, as full of despair and self-loathing, but the interviewer won't have it, and he keeps calling him "Rattie," saying, "Ah, Rattie, it's all a bit of a put-on, isn't it?" and "Ah, you're just pulling the old leg now, aren't you, Rattie?" to which Mr. Scabies keeps saying things like "We're fooked, ya daft prat. Oh, yeah, absolutely—fooked!" Funny old Rattie—he believed in nothing, which is something. If it weren't for summat, there'd be naught, as they say in that part of the world. I wonder if his dad wasn't a bit of a bastard, didn't drink himself to death, say, as opposed to a dad like mine, who, though also dead now, was as nice as he could be when he was alive. A month before, I’d been in Florence and walked by the casa di cura where my son Will was born 27 years ago, though it's not a hospital now but a home for the old nuns of Le Suore Minime del Sacra Cuore who helped to deliver and bathe and care for him when he was just a few minutes old, and when I look over the gate, I see three of these holy sisters sitting in the garden there, and I wave at them, and they wave back, and I wonder if they were on duty when Will was born, these women who have had no sex at all, probably not even very much candy, yet who believe in something that may be nothing, after all, though I love them for giving me my boy. They’re dozing and talking, these mystical brides of Christ, and thinking about their Husband, and it looks to me as though they’re having their version of the sacra conversazione, a favorite subject of Renaissance artists in which people who care for one another are painted chatting together about noble things, and I'm wondering if, as I walk by later when the shadows are long, will their white faces be like stars against their black habits, the three of them a constellation about to rise into the vault that arches over Tuscany, the fires there now twinkling, now steadfast in the chambered heart of the sky.
I Have Not Come Here to Compare Notes But to Sit Together in the Stillness at the Edge of This Wound
Asked if it isn’t weird to be at an awards ceremony with Gregory Peck,
Dylan says, “Well, listen, everything’s weird. You tell me something
that’s not weird.” He might as well have said “big,” that his songs are
a witness to magnitude, that your poems are. And why shouldn’t they be?
Look at the epic of your life, at the people in it, all heroic. And to think
it began with an accident. Somebody looked up at the night sky and saw a star,
somebody in Cracow or Belgrade, maybe, or the city where you live now.
Carbon, nitrogen . . . there was an explosion, and now you have to pay attention
to everything. At the party, everyone was talking about the crappy TV series
that’s so popular, and you didn’t say you wanted better, wanted more.
That same night, you met the man you’d love so hard it made your teeth hurt.
He said, “Hey, baby,” and you snapped, “I’m not your baby.”
I have nothing to say to you, really. I just want to see what I’m looking at.
I want so much not to listen to you after all this time but to hear.