Long After Dylan

Down the path I ask, Dave

you listen to Dylan anymore?

He says, Nope,

It’s the answer I’m looking for

I don’t either.

So we have that in common.

You grow away from things.

Things that once mattered so much–

that broke the sky in half,

opened spaces behind trees and left you naked

in the soil.

We’ve all been there. Late at night.

At a Brooklyn window.

Beneath a thunder storm.

Every word of the rain falling into an ancient mystery of the heart so big

you longed for it to never leave.

You thought it never could, but it did.

Dylan a slithering gunnysack.

Dylan a wandering eyeball.

You can’t figure it out, till this day,

if he ambled from you, or you from him.

Problem is, he never was real

and so that’s the thing on the path that Dave responds to.

He’s Dave

and for as much as I can recognize, I am Matthew, and

Dylan is a long piece of metal that is no longer.

Except maybe, every once in a while, in the middle of Hollis Brown,

he comes back to smash your head in.

It’s the pounding on your brain.

But none of that matters as much

as standing at the window  in the middle of the thunder.

That sound was here long before Dylan and will be alive

long after Dylan.

It’s taken me a long time to know this and for what it’s worth

I will never tire of that storm’s chatter.

It tricks us into thinking we are magicians of time.

We are not.

We are life and death.

That’s what is real. Dave in the bush.

Dave’s wife, about to give birth.



Matthew Lippman’s collection MESMERIZINGLY SADLY BEAUTIFUL won the 2018 Levis Prize and will be published by Four Way Books in 2020. His recent collection, A LITTLE GUT MAGIC is published by Nine Mile Books. He is the Editor and Founder of the web based project Love’s Executive Order (www.lovesexecutiveorder.com).