The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

It's Just Lunch....or IS IT??

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I saw a shadow touch a shadow's hand

So, one of my favorite songs ever is Simon and Garfunkel's "Bleeker Street." But, as I've become more and more of a knit-picky bastard lawyer-in-training, its the little things bother me more and more.

So, here's the thing. The first line of the song is "A Fog's rollin' in off the East River bank..." WHAT THE FUCK? The East River is nowhere close to Bleeker Street. While I understand the hood has changed a lot since the Weather Underground days, this is too much. Did they live here? Or just ride around on a tour bus?

Further research does little to clear up the issue:

Art says: I confess that Bleecker Street (finished in October 1963), was too much for me at first. The song is highly intellectual, the symbolism extremely challenging The opening line in which the fog comes like a "shroud" over the city introduces the theme of "creative sterility". But it is the second verse which I find particularly significant:

Voices leaking from a sad cafe Smiling faces try to understand I saw a shadow touch a shadow's hand On Bleecker Street

The first line is a purely poetic image. The second line touches poignantly on human conditions of our time. To me, it shows the same perceptive psychological characterization as Sparrow - the "golden wheat" ("I would it I could but I cannot, I know"). The third line marks the first appearance of a theme that is to occupy great attention in later work - " lack of communication" .

The author says that the poets have "sold out" ("the poet writes his crooked rhyme"). The line "Thirty dollars pays your rent" reminds one of Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Admittedly, the song is difficult to understand, but worth the effort.

Paul says: Bleecker street is a street in New York in Greenwich Village, and it's come to be more than just a street, it's come to be a metaphor for Greenwich Village which is unfortunate because Bleecker street is littered with bad art galleries and pizza stands and it obscures some of the good things, some of the creative things that are happening.

I say: The Pizza is just about the only good thing left on Bleeker Street. And, DID YOU VOYEURISTIC BASTARDS EVER LIVE HERE??


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