David Daniel’s Ornaments was just released from the Pitt Poetry Series and we asked him to make a Spotify playlist. David well knows a slide from a stride. For ten years he created and produced WAMFEST: The Words and Music Festival, bringing together poets and songwriters with celebrity artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen and Bill Stephney of Def Jam records (which launched Public Enemy). David even wrote a very popular music essay about the song “Me and Bobby McGee” in our debut issue. In 2011, David and I had both been hanging out at a six piece band rehearsal. Bassist Lee Clay Johnson came outside the jam house to breathe and the two men discovered David had grown up in Murfreesboro, TN and used to hang out at the guitar store owned by Lee’s Dad. It was like they were related. When it comes to music, everybody’s a cousin to someone else.
Rock and Roll by David Daniel
Wildly in love in 1982 Los Angeles, John Doe and Exene Cervenka
Gather at a microphone and howl: I’m lost, headed down the highway
In 1979, all over the world, the Bon Scott of AC/DC shouts his anthemic
Highway to Hell in reference, of course, to Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, Book II,
As Satan stands lost staring into the abyss of Chaos and Old Night
With whom he bargains, etc, etc. Henceforth, and before forth really,
All lost highways lead to hell and everyone rides them, at least for a while.
Willy Loman says, “To be thirty and lost in America, the greatest country
In the world, is a disgrace.” Of course, it’s grace itself that may be the problem
As Willy learns soon enough. If Dante were approaching mid-life today, lost in some
Dark wood, one wonders if he’d simply buy a car and, headed down the highway,
Blast classic rock. Many of the lost buy Porsche’s if they can, the fired-up
Descendent of Hitler’s vision of “the people’s car”, the Volkswagon Beetle,
Engineered by Ferdinand Porsche himself based on Hitler’s sketch,
The quintessential car of the Summer of Love, driven by Dean Stockwell–
or Dean Jones or John Dean, who cares?–
Close friend of Neil Young–in The Love Bug. Dean, a beautiful American
By all accounts, was a junky and very lost. In 1994, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
Could rock with the best of them and was a terrible disgrace. A guitar
Is like a gun is like a cock is like a mic: Simple stuff, says Dr. Freud,
Whose mouth, in the end, look like Kurt’s after he, very lost, stuffed a mic
Down his throat, growled a few remarkably expressive growls, and pulled the trigger.