Commonplace Book: An excerpt from “Tarantula,” Bob Dylan’s only novel

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.

Unresponsible Black Nite Crash

the united states is Not soundproof – you might think that nothing can reach those tens of thousands living behind the wall of dollar – but your fear Can bring in the truth … picture of dirt farmer – long johns – coonskin cap – strangling himself on his shoe – his wife, tripping over the skulls – her hair in rats – their kid is wearing a scorpion – the scorpion wears glasses – the kid, he’s drinking gin – everybody has balloons stuck into their eyes – that they will never get a suntan in mexico is obvious – send your dollar today – bend over backwards … or shut your mouths forever

the bully comes in – kicks the newsboy

you know where – & begins ripping away

at the audio repairman’s shirt

Tarantula, by Bob Dylan
(1966, 1971 The Macmillan Company)

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