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Author Topic: Daniel Poetry (Poems About Daniel)  (Read 8320 times)
Henry Long
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« on: September 05, 2009, 09:58:47 AM »

So I was asked to write a poem about Daniel, which was a lot harder than one would think.

How do you create something about someone so creative, and still have it be a valid representation of your own style, but also have it refer to the artist you're writing about, AND be relevant, even for the un-initiated? First draft didn't work. I think I tried too hard. I abandoned it completely. Then I sat around with a few ideas for half a year, occasionally taking notes. Then I listened to nearly everything, all over again. Another daunting and all-consuming task. It's one thing to discover Daniel on your own and listen patiently to his tapes one at a time as you find out more and more, until you're hooked. (He's like a good cup of hot black coffee: Odd taste at first, but you keep coming back for more until you wake up one day and find you NEED it, and if you don't get it, your day is gonna suck.) It's another thing to commit yourself to listening to his body of work, bootlegs, live performances, music made with others, etc., and assimilate it all. I feel like I should have a PhD in Daniel Johnston by now! grin

So then I did all that, and then tried to forget everything.

Finally, one day, I just went with it, and sat down to write a poem. My poem, about how I feel about listening to Daniel Johnston's music. This is what I came up with. It's not perfect, but it's honest, sincere, and reflects my heart. It seems the only way one can approach it, given the subject matter.

Maybe this will encourage others who have written a poem about Daniel to put it up here for us to read.
Or maybe it will inspire someone to go and sit down and write your own poem.
Or maybe it won't do any of these things. In any case, here it is, as it is. It will be published in my new chapbook of poetry coming out soon entitled "Comedy/Tragedy/Poetry." Just drop me a line if you'd like a signed copy!

Blue Clouds/Lucky Stars/Daniel Johnston

A William Blake acetate looping
like a momentary ghost in odd day-glo.
Festive percussive keyboard modalities
lilting playfully from a cartoon madhouse.

Love’s unabandoned beloved ideal,
spinning ‘round and around the Ezekiel Wheel.
Destiny burns and longs for the innocents.
Lyrical yearnings along the Songs of Experience.

Melodies molded from marzipan and bitters,
devotional gesso and memory’s dusty own
shadowy/joyous/heroic silhouettes.
Monsters: Created to be rejected.

Angels: Drink your fill from the wishing well.
Something shiny mirrors up from the bottom.
Gleaming/hinting/healing undulations;
An outsider looking in, past surface reflections.

A crackling Jack Kirby universe, imbrued,
cursive with demons and humanity and vices.
Voices and visions and tongues of fire.
Verses of pain, heartbreak and desire.

Wanting something so badly for so long,
until it’s just the wanting which keeps you going.
Until you become who you dream into being;
Blue clouds/Lucky stars/Daniel Johnston.

©2009 Henry Long

"Although there's a darkness, love balances chaos."-HL
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 03:16:47 PM »

that was some heavy stuff, too much to read/think for me right now.. but enough to know I liked it Smiley

Heres just a quick one about Dan.. I have given away my music also to people and this is about something about that..

you wanted to feel special
so I handed you my tape
you tought I was crazy
wanna feel special too

alone we laugh
together we act like we want to
I feel special
listening to your tape

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