Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jungleland: Issa's Sunday Service, #66

Asbury Park

Outside the streets on fire in a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy 
  and the poets down here 
Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be.
And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand but they wind up wounded,
  not even dead,
Tonight in Jungleland.

Something of an epic, part of which was used as an epigraph for Stephen King's monumental post-apocalyptic novel, The Stand (the title of which comes from a line above), in its final verses Bruce Springsteen's Jungleland almost seems to transcend the medium itself.  Something I never noticed before is the tip o' the hat to F. Scott Fitzgerald with a line in the previous verse

Beneath the city two hearts beat,
Soul engines running through a night so tender

Anytime a night is described as tender, the lyrical Fitzgerald is recalled. Without getting too carried away, the debt to Dylan is fairly obvious.  What might be less obvious is what I perceive as a Yeats feel.  Maybe it's just me; still, the naming of the characters in this narrative certainly recalls Yeats's Crazy Jane, who was directly referenced in Springsteen's earlier minor epic, Spirit in the Night.  

Then there are these lines from Jungleland:

Man there's an opera out on the turnpike,
There's a ballet being fought out in the alley

For this edition of the Sunday Service, I'll leave it with this great live performance of Jungleland from a 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show.


Featured from the archive this week is a poem I believe may have appeared on Facebook and the Twitter feed but not here.  A monostitch in 7 mere words, it opens up worlds:

     childhood:        train track leading into the forest
        M. Kettner

the green mountain
a pheasant cries
translated by David G. Lanoue


PS  Get two free issues           Get two more free issues

PPS Don't miss a transcendent performance by Skip James over at Miss Late JulyI'm thinking Nick Cave should cover this one. 


Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely some great lines. I'll listen to Springsteen singing it.

Ed Baker said...

Springsteen had an early album ...
"(something, something) Asbury Park"

GREAT lines in that what you quote at the top..

me thinks go straight to a
starry dingle

and to my books to savor (again) Crazy Jane

et cetera

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, thanks, hope you enjoy it - congrats on the forthcoming pub from your secret project. Sounds like fun.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hey, Ed, yeah, lived a few miles from Asbury a lot of years - used to pass his house all the time, would see him here and there - most folks just let him be - pretty regular guy ...

As for Mr. Yeats, that's a whole nother thang ...

Mark Pritchard said...

"Greetings from Asbury Park"

Anonymous said...


With greatest respect for an interesting blog site I read regulary, I must say I think any connection between William Butler Yeats and Spruce Springstein is a very spectacular leap, one which I cannot make myself.



Anonymous said...

Dear Anon:

Apples and Oranges
Oranges and Apples

just discard the one with the green fuzzy "stuff'
growing on the circumference!

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed. Point well taken. I could also work on my spelling, as in "regularly" and "Bruce Springsteen".



Issa's Untidy Hut said...

J. L. S.,

Well, I guess I'm stretching a bit on that so your thoughts are not only duly noted, but graciously acknowledged.

For the purposes of the litrock connection "the poets down here don't write nothing at all," along with the Fitzgerald ref, was enough to qualify "Jungle Land" for the Service; the rest was extraneous icing.

Thanks as always for the close reading.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Mark, thanks for the title reminder ... Don

Ed Baker said...


thanks Mark
sure is good that some of us "olde" guys still around and retain their pre-Alzheimer memories...

what else are we but
our memories?