Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rhyming as fast as you can run: a meditation

I was listening to Jackson Browne's "Your Bright Baby Blues" and  I swear I heard one of the lines in the first verse was "Run as fast as you can rhyme."  I played it back immediately because couplings of words like that don't come along that often.  The line turns out to be more in line with the story the song is telling of the isolated observer watching people self-assuredly going places while the lonely singer-songwriter is pining either lost love, lost direction, or both:
Everybody's going somewhere
Riding just as fast as they can ride
I guess they've got a lot to do
Before they can rest assured
Their lives are justified
Pray to God for me baby
He can let me slide
 As it is, the song is an interesting enough exploration of purpose and direction in one's life, but I am still intrigued by the misheard lyric: running as fast as you can rhyme.  It is the sense/nonsense notion that appeals to me in the line.   The juxtaposition of two disperate activities provides some interesting insight into both activities.  I like the idea of rhyming as some sort of physical activity, just as running might be seen as a contemplative activity; it is a sort of mind/body fusion that provides deeper insight into how we are as creatures with minds and bodies.

There is, of course, the opposite read of the misheard lyric:  that running and rhyming is an desperate act; something one does our of fear or because one is lost, much like the singer in Browne's correct lyrics.  The desperation of running without purpose, or, rhyming without purpose reaches deep into our existence.  No one, after all, wants to be running out of control for no reason.  Perhaps the same might be said for rhyming for no reason, as it were.

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