Your Voice

On erica rucker: not me…but you

Hot damn! I’m a clueless cunt, too! —Wanda L. Trigg

Ms. Rucker’s article … is the best written by a human being for human rights ever. Ms. Rucker is a true American hero. —Yusuf Bilal

on uncovered

Yeah, let’s pay attention to every word that comes out of [Donald] Trump’s mouth, while ignoring everything Hillary [Clinton] has said or done …

—Paul Blickenderfer

#ImWithHer —Grace Kaelin

on 12 ways gov. Mike Pence did not make Indiana great … again

Only 12? —Bella Wyllie

LEO-VERSE

The Nobel Prize in Literature Edition

Music Saved My Life and Bob Dylan Saved My Soul

The Impossible Dream


By Ron Whitehead

“Just as I am without one plea

But that thy blood was shed for me”

We were a gospel quartet Brad Steve Stan and me

Singing our hearts out “The Impossible Dream”

Sunday morning service at the Centertown Baptist Church

After the preaching and “Just As I Am”

Page came up and smiling said “boys that was sure good”

And she added laughing real loud “and Ronnie you sure are

animated” And then Saundra Karl chimed in with “yes that was fine

but Ronnie you were flat” and oh my oh my oh my

I went home swearing I’d never sing again

And I didn’t until I got in the car

Turned on the radio and heard Bob Dylan

Singing Like A Rolling Stone “how does it feel

to be on your own a complete unknown” and

I caught myself breaking my promise

Singing

So what if I was flat as a pancake

Music had saved my life more than once

And every time I’d listened non-stop to

Bob Dylan well ever since I was 12 years old

Every time I heard him sing I felt deep down inside

He was saving my soul helping me want to keep on

Keeping on no matter what the hell was going on

And I knew then as I knew before and after that

I’d never quit listening to Bob Dylan who I regard

To this day as The Best of them all better than Homer

Better than Shakespeare his words his songs helped

Me know I’d never abandon song I’d never quit

Listening to the Gift of God sweet music and even

If I couldn’t in public at least in private I’d keep on

Singing and well us boys Brad Steve Stan and me

Well I believe all our lives and souls were saved

More than once by music by Bob Dylan and

Yes we listened to every kind of music we heard

It all church music and funeral dirges as Mama and

Her sister Jo Carolyn sang far back as I remember

I see people climbing on coffins including Pappy

Trying to keep Mammy from leaving him behind

Her lying there in the pine yes we heard gospel

And blues and we heard country mixed with

Traditional oldtime folk mountain Appalachian

Going back to Ireland and Scotland and Wales

And we listened to Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams

And Bill Monroe and Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn

And Woody Guthrie and Odetta and Jean Ritchie

And Pete Seeger and The Everly Brothers and

Merle Travis and Robert Johnson and Mose Rager

And Grandaddy and The Montgomery Brothers and

Brother Matthew’s Gospel Quartet with my 3rd grade

Teacher Mrs. Duncan banging on that piano like I’d never

Heard in no Baptist Church and I got excited Oh Lord

Can music make you feel this good? brought tears to

My boy eyes made goosebumps run all up and down

My back and all over my body made my flat topped hair

Stand up straight and tall without no butch wax on it

And then came Elvis and Johnny and Jerry Lee and

Daddy said turn it off but he was glued too

And didn’t couldn’t move eyes staring in disbelief but

Excited what in the world is this and everybody felt

That way more excited than ashamed wanting to be

Part of that energy that we all know must be a gift

From some greater source and for my generation

For me Bob Dylan yes The Beatles and The Rolling

Stones but Bob Dylan from the first note I heard him

Perform late one night I was 12 upstairs in the attic

Where my brother Brad and I slept holes in the walls

Of our old Kentucky farmhouse wind whispering through cedar

And pine through those holes I saw plenty of ghosts

There but I also every night listened to 79WLS on AM

Radio outta Chicago and the sound went in and out

Depending on the weather and Daddy some nights he

Home from working double shifts at the coal mines

Yelled up the stairs as the radio had gotten real loud

And Bob was singing “how does it feel” and being a

Poet who loves music as much as poetry well Bob’s

Words and I knew them all by heart Bob’s words

Saved my soul growing up in the pioneer lands of

Kentucky where Bluegrass was birthed distant cousins

Of The Everly Brothers I grew up with music and I

Mean every kind of music but the poemed music that

Has sustained me all these years that has always and

Continues to save my soul to save me from death in

Life is The Master Bob Dylan’s music which always

Directed me towards God as if music came from God

And every time I turned to Bob Dylan’s music life

Became bearable again I thought about Resurrection

Again I thought about redemption again

Music saved my life and Bob Dylan saved my soul

“And that thou bid’st me come to thee

O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

Whitehead will be guest Poetry Editor for this year’s Literary LEO.