Subterranean Homesick Blues Revisited

I read an article in Ode Magazine* recently titled “Fire Your Gurus,” about dumping coaches, therapists, priests, and other masters who promise enlightenment or a better life, or a million bucks in the real estate market. It rang a bell. I thought of Dylan’s “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters,” and decided to look up the lyrics. Wow! Reading this as poetry for the first time, all these years later, it stands the test of time. Here are the first two of four stanzas:

Johnny’s in the basement

Mixing up the medicine

I’m on the pavement

Thinking about the government

The man in the trench coat

Badge out, laid off

Says he’s got a bad cough

Wants to get it paid off

Look out kid

It’s somethin’ you did

God knows when

But you’re doin’ it again

You better duck down the alley way

Lookin’ for a new friend

The man in the coon-skin cap

In the big pen

Wants eleven dollar bills

You only got ten

Maggie comes fleet foot

Face full of black soot

Talkin’ that the heat put

Plants in the bed but

The phone’s tapped anyway

Maggie says that many say

They must bust in early May

Orders from the D. A.

Look out kid

Don’t matter what you did

Walk on your tip toes

Don’t try “No Doz”

Better stay away from those

That carry around a fire hose

Keep a clean nose

Watch the plain clothes

You don’t need a weather man

To know which way the wind blows…

Full lyrics at: https://bobdylan.com/moderntimes/songs/subterranean.html

Copyright © 1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

Ode is a great new magazine, I believe originally from Holland. It’s “green,” but not preachy, with insightful, relevant articles.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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