Tag Archives: Talking Heads

#338: A Wannabe Nerd


He says, Do you remember that song by M.? That was 1979,
I say, and I was fifteen. Talk about, he said, pop music.
That’s the only thing I remember. Yeah, the only other thing
I can remember is shooby dooby doo wop. It was a kind of,
I say, spoken word thing, a nonsensical white boy rap
thing. A cool song but that guy, or that band, just vaporized.
Right? he says. You know, if you think about the other nerd
pop gems of ’79, I say, I can think of three right off the top of my
head that were so nerdy they came out the other end the
coolest thing ever: Devo’s Are We Not Men, Gary Numan’s
The Pleasure Principle, and Talking Heads’ Fear of Music.
Those bands were nerdy as fuck–they put nerd rock on the map.
This M. guy, I say, as you nod your head vigorously, was not
authentically nerdy, was a failed nerd, a wannabe nerd.

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#304: Willy and Biff Loman Cross Paths with Talking Heads

Once in a Lifetime

(with gratitude to David Byrne and Arthur Miller)

What have they asked of themselves?
The tiniest slice of the pie belongs to
that beautiful house, which mostly,
they recognize because it’s a thing
they can see and a 25 year mortgage
they can feel, every month for 25 years.
Am I wrong? They have difficulty with this–
unwilling as they both are, the father more so than
the son, to face down their demons.
Where does that highway go to?
Out to the country on a farm?
Out on another futile sales trip?
Over a bridge on the water, carry the water,
under the water? Remove the water.
That large automobile, that
illusive, slippery part of the past,
that red chevy, or this new one–
it’s a kind of weapon.
How did I get here? How do I work this?
Two sides of the same coin, an insoluble
mystery for the father, the life’s work
of his son, striving for something like
full consciousness and awareness,
a sense of self not totally foreign and
packaged for them by exteriors
and other peoples’ hot-air expectations.
Am I right? Tell me, am I right?
They spend a big chunk of their energies
trying to convince themselves and the world
about the validity of their dreams,
same as it ever was, same as it ever was.
But ultimately, it’s about 25%:
My God, what have I done?
A quarter of the time:
My God, what have I done?
They know exactly what they’ve done.
One of them must die for it,
only once in a lifetime.
The other will live, saying
I know who I am.


Filed under Poetry