Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Indian legislation’s on the desk of a do right congressman
And he don’t know much about the issues so he picks up the phone
And asks the advice of the senator out in Indian country
A darling of the energy companies ripping off
What’s left of the reservation

I learned the safety rule
I don’t know who to thank
Don’t stand between the reservation
And the corporate bank
They’re sending federal tanks
It isn’t nice but it’s reality

Bury my heart at wounded knee
I said deep in the earth
Won’t you cover me with pretty lies
Bury my heart at wounded knee

We got these energy companies
Who want to take the land
And we got churches by the dozens
Trying to guide our hands
And turn our mother earth
Over to pollution war and greed
No no

Bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee
I said deep in the earth
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Won’t you cover me with pretty lies
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee

We got the federal marshals
We got the covert spies
We got the liars by fire
And the FBI
They lie in court and get nailed
And still Leonard Peltier goes off to jail
(the bullets don’t match the gun)

Bury my heart at wounded knee
An eighth of the reservation
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Was transferred in secret
Bury my heart at wounded knee
We got your murder and intimidation
Bury my heart at wounded knee

My girlfriend Anna May
Talked about uranium
Her head was full of bullets
And her body dumped
The FBI cut off her hands
And told us she died of exposure

To bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee
I said deep in the earth
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Won’t you cover me with your pretty lies
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Talk about a revolution
They stole my land
They won’t steal my soul

We had the gold rush wars
Why didn’t we learn to crawl’
And now our history gets written in a liar’s scrawl
They tell me “don’t be so uptight
I mean honey you can still be an Indian
Down at the y on saturday night”

Bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee
I said deep in the earth
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Won’t you cover me with your pretty lies
Bury my heart at wounded knee
Bury my heart at wounded knee

Bury my heart
It was an eighth of the reservation
Bury my heart
Yeah was transferred in secret
Bury my heart
Got your murder, murder, murder and intimidation
Bury me
Bury me
Bury me
Bury my heart
Bury my heart
Bury my heart
Bury my heart

By Buffy Sainte-Marie.  Just to put an exclamation point on my last blog.

Up Where We Belong

Rolling into New Orleans soon.   Listening to Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Up Where We Belong.  It is available in the store of her website for only $7 I believe.  It is basically a greatest hits, but one that features some songs not available on other records.  Everything has been rerecorded to give the album a unity.   Usually I hate rerecordings of older songs, but I think her discography is so varied that this actually works in the record’s favor.  Some of the production is slightly dated, but it doesn’t matter.  Front to back great songs with tremendous vocal performances.  Some of the bravest political music you will ever hear.  Beautiful poetic love songs and sketches of Indian life also appear.  She can do it all.  She would be a superstar if she hadn’t frightened so many people.  I have talked her up many times, but I don’t care.  She has better albums, but none that serve as well as an introduction to her work.  If you value intelligence, passion, and bravery, this is for you.  Never be afraid again…

Fun In the South

Day 3 in Louisiana – Headed towards New Orleans.  Due to the weather that has been going down, the countryside looks like West Virginia in winter, without the allure of the mountains.  “Slate grey Victorian skies” hang over leafless trees.  Cigarette butts and plastic bags dot the landscape all too frequently.   I have been reading Dante’s Inferno and listening to Lou Reed’s Sally Can’t Dance.  The soul is a flexible thing.  Mine is mirroring the landscape, slithering to the rhythm of the haunted South.  One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Oliver Stone’s Nixon.  “Nixon is the darkness reaching out for the darkness.”  Another is when Lou Reed said after making Berlin, an album many deem the most depressing of all time, that he was, “just having fun.”  That is the key and secret code to unlock it all: fun…

Nicholas Winding Refn Documentary and Interview

Nicholas Winding Refn Documentary

The above article is an interview with director Nicholas Winding Refn and his wife Liv Corfixen,  who just made a documentary about her husband.  He has long been one of my favorite working directors.  All of his movies have a emotionally intense poetic quality to them.  He is someone that can deal in abstraction and have it resonate.  You get a sense that he understands how to communicate on a personal level through imagery.   If you think of how many things have to be put in place for a film image to be just right, that is quite a chore.  One of the best.

The Fear of Education

The Right’s Fear of Education

The above article is by a former military man and right winger on why there is a dislike of education by some on the right.  (Most recently put in the news by Scott Walker and his people in Wisconsin.)  I don’t think that all on the right dislike education.  However, there does seem to be a strain of modern conservatism that is doing its best to strip it of anything but the ability to provide people with the skills to be a worker bee.  I think this writer has a plausible theory at least.  Discuss…

The Expansive Writing of Bob Dylan

Lately I have been trying to discern what in particular gives Dylan’s writing a unique power. Entire books have been written on the topic, entire semesters have been taught.  I am not going to solve the conundrum here. 

However, as someone that has spent more time than is healthy studying song lyrics, there is something I notice time and time again.  Dylan has not only been prolific for most of his career, but his words also often gain power through sheer volume.  I am a huge fan of Morrissey.  Although he has written expansive songs like The Queen is Dead, he often writes couplets that are powerful statements in and of themselves.  Leonard Cohen, someone by whose own admission is not prolific, yet is closer to Dylan in style, spends a lot of time finely crafting certain lines. 

If you take many Dylan couplets, although with his huge catalog he has written brilliant couplets as well, they are not always powerful in and of themselves.  But by the time you get to the 7th couplet in 4th verse of a Dylan song (hypothetically), Dylan songs are often astounding for the sheer amount of language he packs in them, they begin to take on a cumulative poetic power. 

Where some writers get their power from cutting back until what lies before them is a finally crafted sculpture, Dylan almost seems to stand out of the way and let his subconscious pour forth.  Line after line, image after image, floats past until the amount of imagery leaves the listener overwhelmed and breathless. 

Sure, that is not all he is doing.  There is a difference in power between Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone and Springsteen’s similar wordy Blinded by the Light.  (I love Dylan and Springsteen, but I would be lying if I said the latter contained the poetic force of the former.)  Dylan performs alchemy.   He does get that missing piece of the puzzle that many others cannot find no matter how talented they are. 

This is not to say that Dylan cannot write shorter more traditional songs.   He can of course.  Again this is also not to say that Dylan cannot write great one liners and couplets, as he has done that as well.  There are also many other elements at play to make a song powerful.  However, I think,  if you are interested in what Dylan does, this is a good facet of his writing to examine.