There she is in her finery. Head shorn like a monk. Buzzed in defiance, maybe she is a monk. Her monastery is public, her monastery a mirror, and she brought the mirror to television, the great connector, the great hypnotizer. Her performance was hypnotic, but it awakened. It violently cut through the dream. What followed was the silence of awakening, that awful post-dream state where nothing is where it said it would be. The humdrum violence. Alone together.
There she is, walking on stage to a rain of boos, some cheering, yes, but boos breaking through and gathering their troops to blot out the sun. She stands there, smiling like a Buddha.
She waits. She is a vase in the rain filling to the brim with venom, a venom that knows no boundaries. The reddish lights on the crowd makes it look like hell. The actor said he’d uh-smacked her, like it was a line from one of his mob movies.
The band is afraid. They want to get the fuck out of hostile territory. Strange, they’re here to celebrate Dylan, the great slinger of truth, who was called a judas several lifetimes and costume changes ago. Can he hear the storm in the bowels of his dressing room? Why doesn’t he join the fight, this old partisan? Because he is, has always been, slippery as the snake. Slippery as the devil. He makes his own wars. Though maybe his silence knows something more, something about betrayal. The silence is a mirror.
The old folksinger, a friend of Dylan, will have to step in. He comes to offer a rescue. Maybe she can leave the stage and wait out the storm. She refuses. She takes one big step towards the rising anger. The piano player tries once, twice to start the song (which song would she sing?) But there she is, waving him off once with a gentle slice, a second time with violent blades to the neck. More dream-cutting.
There she is, singing a new song, which is an old song, older than time, a song of war. The wars we inflict on each other, ourselves. The wars of the dream state, the war against the truth.
“Child abuse / Yea-ah!
Child abuse / Yea-ah!
To boos. Unwitting defenders of a false faith.
She is a vase broken, cut open by anti truth, anti beauty, and she is reflecting the shards back against the disbelieving rain. She is all alone now. It is only that voice, the soft Irish lilt mixed with glass. Her eyes burn, her heart beating to the rafters, breaking free though we cannot see, the dream has us tricked for awhile. Later she is right, but what good is later? What good is being right? She is beyond right and wrong, right now, she is reminding, shaking awake, shaking her whole body in front of the violence.
She is alone. She is done with the song. The song is not done. It slides easily between the ribs and into the lungs. She watches through half-closed eyes, Buddha eyes.
She exits the stage and is embraced by the old folksinger. She resists. He kisses her. She screams her tears out, collapsing, disappearing into his arms. A fortress of love and light in a terrible storm. But when you give everything, nothing can protect you. Her death began that night. The song is not done.