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Liner Notes

Produced by Tom Wilson
Cover Photo: Barry Feinstein
11 Outlined Epitaphs
By Bob Dylan
I end up then
in the early evenin'
blindly punchin' at the blind
breathin' heavy
stu

Produced by Tom Wilson
Cover Photo: Barry Feinstein

11 Outlined Epitaphs
By Bob Dylan

I end up then
in the early evenin'
blindly punchin' at the blind
breathin' heavy
stutterin'
an' blowin' up
where t' go?
what is it that's exactly wrong?
who t' picket?
who t' fight?
behind what windows
will I at least
hear someone from the supper table
get up t' ask
"did I hear someone outside just now?"
yesterday
an hour ago
it came t' me
in a second's flash
an' was all so clear
it still is now
yes it is
it's maybe hidin'
it must be hidin'
the shot has shook
me up . . . for I've never
heard that sound before
bringing wild thoughts at first
ragged wild
numb wild
now though they've leveled out
an' been wrung out
leavin' nothin' but the strangeness
the roots within a washed-out cloth
drippin' from the clothesline pole
strange thoughts
doubtin' thoughts
useless an' unnecessary
the blast it's true
startled me back but for a spell
content with
all pictures, posters an' the like
that're painted for me
ah but I turned
an' the nex' time I looked
the gloves of garbage
had clobbered the canvas
leavin' truckloads of trash
clutterin' the colors
with a blindin' sting
forcin' me t' once again
slam the shutters of my eyes
but also me to wonderin'
when they'll open
much much stronger
than anyone whose own eyes're
aimed over here at mine
"when will he open up his eyes?"
"who him? doncha know? he's a crazy man
he never opens up his eyes"
"but he'll surely miss the world go by"
"nah! he lives in his own world"
"my my then he really must be a crazy man"
"yeah he's a crazy man"

an' so on spangled streets
an' country roads
I hear sleigh bells
jingle jangle
virgin girls
far into the field
sing an' laugh
with flickerin' voices
softly fadin'
I stop an' smile
an' rest awhile
watchin' the candles
of sundown dim
unnoticed
unnoticed for my eyes're closed

__________

The town I was born in holds no memories
but for the honkin' foghorns
the rainy mist
the rocky cliffs
I have carried no feelings
up past the Lake Superior hills
the town I grew up in is the one
that has left me with my legacy visions
it was not a rich town
my parents were not rich
it was not a poor town
an' my parents were not poor
it was a dyin' town
(it was a dyin' town)
a train line cuts the ground
showin' where the fathers an' mothers
of me an' my friends had picked
up an' moved from
north Hibbing
t' south Hibbing.
old north Hibbing . . .
deserted
already dead
with its old stone courthouse
decayin' in the wind
long abandoned
windows crashed out
the breath of its broken walls
being smothered in clingin' moss
the old school
where my mother went to
rottin' shiverin' but still livin'
standin' cold an' lonesome
arms cut off
with even the moon bypassin' its jagged body
pretendin' not t' see
an' givin' it its final dignity
dogs howled over the graveyard
where even the markin' stones were dead
an' there was no sound except for the wind
blowin' through the high grass
an' the bricks that fell back
t' the dirt from a slight stab
of the breeze . . . it was as though
the rains of wartime had
left the land bombed-out an' shattered

south Hibbing
is where everybody came t' start their
town again. but the winds of the
north came followin' an' grew fiercer
an' the years went by
but I was young
an' so I ran
an' kept runnin' . . .

I am still runnin' I guess
but my road has seen many changes
for I've served my time as a refugee
in mental terms an' in physical terms
an' many a fear has vanished
an' many an attitude has fallen
an' many a dream has faded
an' I know I shall meet the snowy North
again-but with changed eyes nex' time 'round
t' walk lazily down its streets
an' linger by the edge of town
find old friends if they're still around
talk t' the old people
an' the young people
runnin' yes . . .
but stoppin' for a while
embracin' what I left
an' lovin' it-for I learned by now
never t' expect
what it cannot give me

__________

In times behind, I too
wished I'd lived
in the hungry thirties
an' blew in Woody
t' New York City
an' sang for dimes
on subway trains
satisfied at a nickel fare
an' passin' the hat
an' hittin' the bars
on eighth avenue
an' makin' the rounds
t' the union halls
but when I came in
the fares were higher
up t' fifteen cents an' climbin'
an' those bars that Woody's guitar
rattled . . . they've changed
they've been remodeled
an' those union halls
like the cio
an' the nmu
come now! can you see'em
needin' me
for a song
or two

ah where are those forces of yesteryear?
why didn't they meet me here
an' greet me here?

the underground's gone deeper
says the old chimney sweeper
the underground's outa work
sing the bells of New York
the underground's more dangerous
ring the bells of Los Angeles
the underground's gone
cry the bells of San Juan
but where has it gone to
ring the bells of Toronto

strength now shines through my window
regainin' me an' rousin' me
day by day
from the weariness
of walkin' with ghosts
that rose an' had risen
from the ruins an' remains
of the model T past
even though I clutched t' its sheet
I was still refused
an' left confused
for there was nobody there
t' let me in
a wasteland wind whistled
from behind the billboard "there's nobody home
all has moved out"
flatly denied
I turned indeed
flinched at first
but said "ok
I get the message"
feelin' unwanted? no
unloved? no
I felt nothin'
for there was nobody there
I didn't see no one
t' want or unwant
to love or unlove
maybe they're there
but won't let me in
not takin' chances
on the ones the grittin' of my teeth
for only a second
would mean
my mind has just been
swallowed whole
an' so I step back t' the street
an' then turn further down the road
poundin' on doors
lost?
not really
just out lookin'
a stranger?
no not a stranger but rather someone
who just doesn't live here
never pretendin' t' be knowin'
what's worth seekin'
but at least
without ghosts by my side
t' betray my childishness
t' leadeth me down false trails
an' maketh me drink from muddy waters
yes it is I
who is poundin' at your door
if it is inside
who hears the noise

_______________

Jim Jim
where is our party?
where all member's held equal
an' vow t' infiltrate that thought
among the people it hopes t' serve
an' sets a respected road
for all of those like me
who cry
"I am ragin'ly against absolutely
everything that wants t' force nature
t' be unnatural (be it human or otherwise)
an' I am violently for absolutely
everything that will fight those
forces (be them human or otherwise)"
oh what is the name of this gallant group?
lead me t' the ballot box
what man do we run?
how many votes will it take
for a new set of teeth
in the congress mouths?
how many hands have t' be raised
before hair will grow back
on the white house head?
a Boston tea party don't mean the
same thing . . . as it did in the newborn
years before. even the
meanin' of the word
has changed. ha
ha . . . t' say the least
yes that party is truly gone
but where is the party t' dump the feelings
of the fiery cross burners
an' flamin' match carriers?
if there was such a party
they would've been dumped
long before this . . . who is supposed
t' dump 'em now?
when all can see their threads hang weak
but still hold strong
loyal but dyin'
fightin' for breath
who then will kill its misery?
what sea shall we pollute?
when told t' learn
what others know
in order for a soothin' life
an' t' conquer many a brainwashed dream
I was set forth the forces on records an' books
from the forces that were sold t' me
an' could be found in hung-up style
wanderin' through crowded valleys
searchin' for what others knew
with the eagles' shadows
silent
hungry
watchin' waitin'
from high mountains
an' me just walkin'
butterflies in my head
an' bitter by now
(here! take this kid an' learn it well
but why sir? my arms're so heavy
I said take it. it'll do yuh good
but I ain't learned last night's lesson yet.
am I gonna have t' get mad with you?
no no gimme gimme just stick it on top
a the rest a the stuff
here! if yuh learn it well yuh'll
get an A . . . an' don't do anything
I wouldn't do)
and with each new brightnin' phrase
more messy
till I found myself almost swallowed
deep in burden
spinnin'
walkin' slower
heavier heavier
glassy-eyed
but at last I heard
the eagle drool
as I zombie strolled
up past the foothills
thunderstruck
an' I stopped cold
an' bellowed
"I don't wanna learn no more
I had enough"
an' I took a deep breath
turned around
an' ran for my life
shoutin' shoutin'
back t' the highway
away from the mountain
not carin' no more
what people knew about things
but rather how they felt about things
runnin' down another road
through time an' dignity
an' I have never taken off my boots
no matter how the miles have burnt
my feet . . .
an' I'm still on that road, Jim
I'm still sleepin' at night by its side
an' eatin' where it'll lead me t' food
where state lines don't stand
an' knowledge don't count
when feelings are hurt
an' I am on the side a them hurt feelings
plunged on by unsensitive hammers
an' made t' bleed by rusty nails
an' I look t' you, Jim
where is the party for those kind of feelings?
how're the gamblers that wheel an' deal an'
shuffle 'em around gonna be got outa the game?
from here in
beyond this
an' from now on

__________

Al's wife claimed I can't be happy
as the New Jersey night ran backwards
an' vanished behind our rollin' ear
"I dig the colors outside, an' I'm happy"
"but you sing such depressin' songs"
"but you say so on your terms"
"but my terms aren't so unreal"
"yes but they're still your terms"
"but what about others that think
in those terms"
"Lenny Bruce says there're no dirty
words . . . just dirty minds an' I say there're
no depressed words just depressed minds"
"but how're you happy an' when 're you happy"
"I'm happy enough now"
"why?"
"cause I'm calmly lookin' outside an' watchin'
the night unwind"
"what'd yuh mean unwind?"
"I mean somethin' like there's no end t' it
an' it's so big
that every time I see it it's like seein'
for the first time"
"so what?"
"so anything that ain't got no end's
just gotta be poetry in one
way or another"
"yeah, but . . . "
"an' poetry makes me feel good"
"but . . ."
"an' poetry makes me feel happy"
"ok but . . . "
"for the lack of a better word"
"but what about the songs you sing on stage?"
"they're nothin' but the unwindin' of
my happiness"

__________

Woody Guthrie was my last idol
he was the last idol
because he was the first idol
I'd ever met
face t' face
that men are men
shatterin' even himself
as an idol
an' that men have reasons
for what they do
an' what they say
an' every action can be questioned
leavin' no command
untouched an' took for granted
obeyed an' bowed down to
forgettin' your own natural instincts
(for there're a million reasons
in the world
an' a million instincts
runnin' wild
an' it's none too many times
the two shall meet)
the unseen idols create the fear
an' trample hope when busted
Woody never made me fear
and he didn't trample any hopes
for he just carried a book of Man
an' gave it t' me t' read awhile
an' from it I learned my greatest lesson

you ask "how does it feel t' be an idol?"
it'd be silly of me t' answer, wouldn't it . . .?

__________

A Russian has three an' a half red eyes
five flamin' antennas
drags a beet-colored ball an' chain
an' wants t' slip germs
into my Coke machine
"burn the tree stumps at the border"
about the sex-hungry lunatics
out warmongerin' in the early mornin'
"poison the sky so the planes won't come"
yell the birch colored knights with
patriotic shields
"an' murder all the un-Americans"
say the card-carryin' American
book burners
(yes we burned five books last week)
as my friend, Bobby Lee,
walks back an' forth
free now from his native Harlem
where his ma still sleeps at night
hearin' rats inside the sink
an' underneath her hardwood bed
an' walls of holes
where the cold comes in
scared
wrapped in blankets
an' she, God knows,
is kind
an' gentle
ain't there no closer villains
that the baby-eaten' Russians
rats eat babies too

I talked with one
of the sons of Germany
while walkin' once on foreign ground
an' I learned that
he regards
Adolf Hitler
as we here in the states
regard
Robert E. Lee

fasten up your holster
mr. gunslinger
an' buy new bolts
for your neck
there is only up wing
an' down wing

last night I dreamt
that while healin' ceiling
up in Harlem
I saw Canada ablaze
an' nobody knowin'
nothin' about it
except of course
who held the match

__________

Yes, I am a thief of thoughts
not, I pray, a stealer of souls
I have built an' rebuilt
upon what is waitin'
for the sand on the beaches
carves many castles
on what has been opened
before my time
a word, a tune, a story, a line
keys in the wind t' unlock my mind
an' t' grant my closet thoughts backyard air
it is not of me t' sit an' ponder
wonderin' an' wastin' time
thinkin' of thoughts that haven't been thunk
thinkin' of dreams that haven't been dreamt
an' new ideas that haven't been wrote
an' new words t' fit into rhyme
(if it rhymes, it rhymes
if it don't, it don't
if it comes, it comes
if it won't, it won't)

no I must react an' spit fast
with weapons of words
wrapped in tunes
that've rolled through the simple years
teasin' me t' treat them right
t' reshape them an' restring them
t' protect my own world
from the mouths of all those
who'd eat it
an' hold it back from eatin' its own food
(influences?
hundreds thousands
perhaps millions
for all songs lead back t' the sea
an' at one time, there was
no singin' tongue t' imitate it)
t' make new sounds out of old sounds
an' new words out of old words
an' not t' worry about the new rules
for they ain't been made yet
an' t' shout my singin' mind
knowin' that it is me an' my kind
that will make those rules . . .
if the people of tomorrow
really need the rules of today
rally 'round all you prosecutin' attorneys
the world is but a courtroom
yes
but I now the defendants better 'n you
and while you're busy prosecutin'
we're busy whistlin'
cleanin' up the courthouse
sweepin' sweepin'
listenin' listenin'
winkin' t' one another
careful
careful
your spot is comin' up soon

__________

Oh where were these magazines
when I was bummin' up an' down
up an' down the street?
is it that they too just sleep
in their high thrones . . . openin'
their eyes when people pass
expectin' each t' bow as they go by
an' say "thank you Mr. Magazine.
did I answer all my questions right?"
ah but mine is of another story
for I do not care t' be made an oddball
bouncin' past reporters' pens
cooperatin' with questions
aimed at eyes that want t' see
"there's nothin' here
go back t' sleep
or look at the ads
on page 33"
I don't like t' be stuck in print
starin' out at cavity minds
who gobble chocolate candy bars
quite content an' satisfied
their day complete
at seein' what I eat for breakfast
the kinds of clothes I like t' wear
an' the hobbies that I like t do
I never eat
I run naked when I can
my hobby's collectin' airplane glue

"come come now Mr. Dylan our readers want
t' know the truth"
"that is the bare hungry sniffin' truth"
"Mr. Dylan, you're very funny, but really now"
"that's all I have t' say today"
"but you'd better answer"
"that sounds like some kind a threat"
"it just could be ha ha ha ha"
"what will my punishment"
"a rumor tale on you ha ha"
"a what kind of tale ha ha ha ha"
"yes well you'll see, Mr. Dylan, you'll see"

an' I seen
or rather I have saw
your questions're ridiculous
an' most of your magazines're also ridiculous
caterin' t' people
who want t' see
the boy nex' door
no I shall not corporate with reporters' whims
there're other kinds of boys nex' door.
even though they've slanted me
they cannot take what I do away from me
they can disguise it
make it out t' be a joke
an' make me seem
the ridiculous one
in the eyes of their readers
they can build me up
accordin' t' their own terms
so that they are able
t' bust me down
an' "expose" me
in their own terms
givin' blind advice
t' unknown eyes
who have no way of knowin'
that I "expose" myself
every time I step out
on the stage

__________

The night passes fast for me now
an' after dancin' out its dance
undresses leavin' nothin' but its naked dawn
proudly standin'
smilin' smilin'
turnin' turnin'
gently gently
I have seen it sneak up countless
times . . . leavin' me conscious
with a thousand sleepy thoughts
untamed
an' tryin' t' run
I think at these times
of many things an' many people
I think of Sue most times
beautiful Sue
with the lines of a swan
frightened easy
as a fawn in the forest
by this time deep in dreams
with her long hair spread out
the color of the sun
soakin' the dark
an' scatterin' light
t' the dungeons of my constant night
I think love poems
as a poor lonesome invalid
knowin' of my power
t' destroy
the good souls of the road
that know no sickness
except that of kindness
(you ask of love?
there is no love
except in silence
an' silence doesn't say a word)
ah but Sue
she knows me well
perhaps too well
an' is above all
the true fortuneteller of my soul
I think perhaps the only one
(you ask of truth?
there is no truth
what fool can claim t' carry the truth
for it is but a drunken matter
romantic? yes
tragic? no I think not)
the door still knocks
an' the wind still blows
bringin' me my memories
of friends an' sounds an' colors
that can't escape
trapped in keyholes
Eric . . . bearded Eric
far in Boston
buried beneath my window
yes I feel t' dig the ground up
but I'm so tired
an' know not where t' look for tools
rap tap tap
the rattlin' wind
blows Geno in
tellin' me of philistines
that he'd run into durin' the night
he stomps across my floor
I laugh
an' drink cold coffee an' old wine
light of feelin'
as I listen t' one of my own tongues
take the reins
guide the path
an' drop me off . . . headin' back again
t' take care of his end of the night
slam an' Geno
then too is gone
outside a siren whines
leadin' me down another line
I jump but get sidetracked
by clunkin' footsteps
down the street
(it is as though my mind
ain't mine t' make up
any more)
I wonder if the cockroaches
still crawl in Dave an' Terri's
fifteenth street kitchen
I wonder if they're the same cockroaches
ah yes the times've changed
Dave still scorns me for not readin' books
an' Terri still laughs at my rakish ways
but fifteenth street has been abandoned
we have moved . . .
the cats across the roof
mad in love
scream into the drain pipes
bringing' in the sounds of music
the only music
an' it is I who is ready
ready t' listen
restin' restin'
a silver peace
reigns an'
becomes the nerves of mornin'
an' I stand up an' yawn
hot with jumpin' pulse
never tired
never sad
never guilty
for I am runnin' in a fair race
with no racetrack but the night
an' no competition but the dawn

__________

So at last at least
the sky for me
is a pleasant gray
meanin' rain
or meanin' snow
constantly meanin' change
but a change forewarned
either t' the clearin' of the clouds
or t' the pourin' of the storms
an' after it's desire
returnin'
returnin' with me underneath
returnin' with it
never fearful
finally faithful
it will guide me well
across all bridges inside all tunnels
never failin' . . .

with the sounds of Francois Villon
echoin' through my mad streets
as I stumble on lost cigars
of Bertolt Brecht
an' empty bottles
of Brendan Behan
the hypnotic words
of A. L.. Lloyd
each one bendin' like its own song
an' the woven' spell of Paul Clayton
entrancin' me like China's plague
unescapeable
drownin' in the lungs of Edith Piaf
an' in the mystery of Marlene Dietrich
the dead poems of Eddie Freeman
love songs of Allen Ginsberg
an' jail songs of Ray Bremser
the narrow tunes of Modigliani
an' the singin' plains of Harry Jackson
the cries of Charles Aznavour
with melodies of Yevtushenko
through the quiet fire of Miles Davis
above the bells of William Blake
an' beat visions of Johnny Cash
an' the saintliness of Pete Seeger

strokin' my senses
down down
drownin' drownin'
when I need t' drown
for my road is blessed
with many flowers
an' the sounds of flowers
liftin' lost voices of the ground's people
up up
higher higher
all people
no matter what creed
no matter what color skin
no matter what language an' no matter what land
for all people laugh
in the same tongue
an' cry
in the same tongue
endless endless
it's all endless
an' it's all songs
it's just one big world of songs
an' they're all on loan
if they're only turned loose t' sing

lonely? ah yes
but it is the flowers an' the mirrors
of flowers that now meet my
loneliness
an' mine shall be a strong loneliness
dissolvin' deep
t' the depths of my freedom
an' that, then, shall
remain my song

there's a movie called
Shoot the Piano Player
the last line proclaimin'
"music, man, that's where it's at"
it is a religious line
outside, the chimes rung
an' they
are still ringin'

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