Interview with Paul Simon’s Biographer

Here’s an audio interview with Robert Hilburn, the author of the new Paul Simon biography called Paul Simon, The Life.
I found it somehow reassuring to find out that Graceland came about after a very low period in Paul’s life, after having made the decision to go it alone, which initially didn’t go well, and led to a lot of self-doubt/depression.
Also, it was interesting to find out that he’s done Ayahuasca, quite a few times, and that, while it wasn’t an addiction, it did become a problem for him, and he had to stop it.


Sure, there’s worry,
there’s the inevitable fate
of pain, disfigurement
and withdrawal.

Then there’s
the weight of numbers
and of future shame to bear.

However, when I wear
this cloak of art,
to my mind’s eye
it’s all so beautifully

Poverty becomes
a constrained palette.

Hunger becomes

Cold and discomfort
become chisel and hammer
with which to sculpt character.

Idleness becomes a delicacy
best consumed slowly
to inform the taste.

This cloak of art
is what Otis was wearing
on the dock of the bay.

You see,
it offers a different
kind of warmth,
not by keeping
the weather out,
but by inviting it
to focus one’s intent
on rubbing together
the sticks
of complex longing
and simple play
over the paltry kindling
of an audience
which is yet
to catch on.


First Words (poem)

First words
perched atop
a sculpture
of symbols,
and which is
composed in a style
common to the period.

Reclining confidently
with feet up
upon a sky-scraper
engineered to hopefully
withstand the impact
of a fundamentalist critic’s
malevolent terrorist attack.

Attempting to draw your interest
like a scantily clad model
high up on a billboard,
or a curious,
charismatic cult leader, perhaps,
who provides the premise,
without which,
no righteous action would follow,
but which, sometime after
the first stanza,
gets corrupted
by the desire to control.

Just take a look now
at the mess
that has been made
of such a pure,
well intended beginning.

Hear the resignation evident
in the tone of its creator.

But what a good parent is he
who can, at last,
find it within his heart
to forgive himself,
let go his ideal,
and admit that witnessing his child
grow into something
he didn’t quite plan,
to his surprise,
was the best outcome
he could have conceived of.





When poets don’t write
what I want to read
I think, well, sometimes
if you want something done,
you have to do it yourself.

most of the time,
my attempts to do so
turn out to be
lacking in merit.

as I undertook the task
of deleting such failures
from my hard drive,
it occurred to me
that so many poets
will have suffered through
the very same process.

So here’s to deleted effort,
to best intention laid to rest,
and to the sun which,
by way of its absence,
admits the moon.


Bad Poets (a poem)


Those who recount to us their life stories
and speak of their journey into adulthood,
at the beginning of which,
they had a burning passion for poetry,
but upon deeming themselves to be bad poets,
put down the pen and took up careers
in brain surgery, I.T., academia, and so forth,
are the very type which, on days such as these,
when my head hurts, and I look out
at the teeming rain with this empty feeling
of having wasted the whole afternoon,
I can’t help but envy.