Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

crucify your mind

RODRIGUEZ.

Maybe I’m the last to see it, but I just watched the Academy Award winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man this week. And my mind is completely blown. How is it possible that I (and most of you, too) NEVER HEARD of the incredible songwriter from Detroit called Rodriguez until this movie was made? And yet the people of South Africa revered him, knew him through his words. Rodriguez: Inner City Poet, Humanist, and Visionary. Thank you, people of South Africa. Thank you!

If you have not seen the film, please watch it. You’ll be glad you did. Trust me on this. I asked our Kerry about him, and her immediate reply was: "I know the words to every song he ever wrote. That story is 100% true for me and thousands like me. My kids sing along to his songs, as they've heard Cold Fact since birth."

Okay, so obviously you MUST watch the film. In the meantime, I note that Rodriguez is currently on tour in the United States; he has many sold-out dates on his current tour, including (close to me) the Beacon Theater in NYC and the Somerville Theater in Boston next week. As it should be.

See for yourself. Here is his August 2012 performance on the David Letterman show. As Letterman says, Rodriguez’s story is “jaw-droppingly fascinating” and “incomprehensible, but true.” A link to the lyrics for this song is posted below.

I am close to speechless about this, friends. Enjoy! As always, please write something new for this prompt, and I look forward to reading your poems.



The lyrics for "Crucify Your Mind" by Rodriguez, from the album Cold Fact, can be found HERE.


27 comments:

Peggy said...

Oh my this is a challenging prompt! I have heard of the film but did not know what it's about. I listened to the clip and will do my best! I am unfamiliar with this singer and his story. Now I will have to look it up!

Timoteo said...

Saw the film a couple of months ago and gave it an "A" on my film review blog. How did he catch on in South Africa and not in the U.S.? He just struck a chord (pardon the pun) with the people there. It was when apartheid still existed, and the anti-apartheid forces found something in his lyrics they could rally around. Also, it was before the internet. Today, the news of an artist catching fire like that in one part of the world would be all over twitter, and thus a secret to no one, but it apparently was to most of us back then.

Kerry O'Connor said...

The rumours of Rodriguez' death was largely fueled by the fact that there was no word from or about him in the US music charts. Just the 2 albums then nothing. South Africa was under heavy overseas boycott too, cut off from the rest of the world and living in a bubble of censorship created by the ruling party, with movies, books music, news reports..all falling under heavy censorship. Rodriguez was underground and they could do nothing about it... a bird in the hand. When we watched Searching for Sugarman as a family, there was not one of us who didn't weep. Such a humble man - if anyone deserved a fairytale ending in this life, it was him.
Many thanks to Marian for bringing his legacy to Real Toads.

Ellecee said...

Marian, I was unfamiliar with this man or his music before today, but now I'm very taken with his story. I have read much that I could find on the net and I'll watch the documentary over his weekend. Thanks so much for the introduction.

Ellecee said...

Sorry, my first link didn't work. Perhaps you can remove it. Fat fingers on the keyboard I think :-)

Marian said...

gotcha, Ellecee, you're all set. a lovely poem, too :)

i'm blown away by Rodriguez, by his story, by his music and words, by his impact, all of it. it's unbelievable!

Susan said...

I haven't watched the film yet, and give you a song in first response to his song and lyrics. He, she, it, countries, worlds . . . just that one song made me think of Leonard Cohen in voice as it fell into my heart. The song, your essay, and Kerry's comment above have left me so moved that I am eager to acquaint myself with the rest of his work.

Marian said...

i watched the film with my mouth hanging open, exclaiming "what!" and "WHAT!" and "unbelievable!" and "can you imagine!" the whole way through. imagining our Kerry in the audience of the enormous show he first performed in South Africa (which she says she attended in spirit but not in body, as it's far away from where she lives). i was and still am so blown away by the whole thing! i wanted to surprise Kerry with the prompt but almost immediately i had to write her, shrieking in ALL CAPS about it, asking questions and continuing to exclaim my disbelief. fantastic! truly.

Marian said...

oh and also, i'm broken up about the passing of Roger Ebert. here is his review of Searching For Sugar Man:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120808/REVIEWS/120809984

Kim Nelson said...

Loved the movie... will give this a go.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is difficult for me, Marian. His words are so inculcated in my consciousness that I can't find words to say anything to match his poetry. He got there first.

Marian said...

well, you know nobody's obligated to respond to any individual prompt, Kerry. i can kinda imagine what it's like for you, but only kinda. take it easy on yourself. or write something tangentially related? i'm so easy... i have no expectations for what anyone will get (or not get) from my prompts. xoxo

Hannah said...

I need to watch this documentary!!! Thank you Marian for shining the light on him!!

Kerry O'Connor said...

It's done :D

Peggy said...

After your introduction and then reading about him and his story online I will definitely try to find the movie -- Netflixs maybe? Amazing how clueless one can be about the goings on in the rest of the world. Thanks again for the introduction.

Marian said...

if you don't find it on Netflix i believe we rented it from Amazon.

Grace said...

Thanks to Marian for introducing his music to us/me ~ I read and listened to his music and was just amazed at the lyrics and his place in history ~

Kay L. Davies said...

I posted mine, then forgot to link it to Real Toads for an hour and a half.
Sigh.
Thanks for this fascinating challege, Marian!
K

Marian said...

living near Lake Erie, i grew up listening to AM radio from Detroit. sure as hell wish i had heard Sixto Rodriguez on the radio as a kid.

Other Mary said...

Thanks for the info. about this musician. I ended up writing about something else, but he's very interesting and I'll watch the movie.

Other Mary said...

Well...I did sort of manage something (though I'm not thrilled with it). I'll be back to read yours tomorrow! Thanks again for the prompt!

Panchali said...

Thanks for the prompt. I was not aware of this legendary singer. I read about him and wrote a few lines ...( may be, its kiddish..but, felt very deeply about this old man..'
I'll be busy this weekend, but, I would surely come back to read others....
I have posted from my wordpress account. The url is different..

Sabio Lantz said...

Thank you kindly for the introduction -- I may watch this with my kids.

Grace said...

We finally watched the documentary last night and hubby and I enjoyed it. My friend in Detroit is saying that they knew about him, and now they are petitioning him to be Mayor for Detroit. You can read his comments in my blog post ~

Marian said...

cool, Grace!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I'm not really into movies like others.
I did a cinquain!

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks Marian for the prompt. It is such an incredible story.