Thursday, May 20, 2010

For a Song: Blue Telescope

John Hiatt: Blue Telescope


John Hiatt is one of my favorite writers. There’s nothing wrong with his music, but his words are what draw me in. Hiatt can be funny or ironic, or both at once. This is the man who rhymed amoeba with Queen of Sheba, and talked about a couple who stole money to do their laundry “and drove away clean.” But Hiatt can also be serious and poignant. And he can tug at the heart strings with a single image. Blue Telescope is about a man who broke up with a woman some time ago, and now regrets it even as she is marrying someone else. Hiatt describes the bride lifting up her veil, “her breath a lonesome vapor trail.” The feeling of the whole song is captured in that one image, and it’s one no one else would have thought of. That is what great writers do.


Otter said...

I read somewhere about an astronaut that brought Hiatt's disc into space & used 'Blue Telescope' to wake up his fellow astronauts each morning.

Hiatt's an incredible musician and IMHO the most profound living poet on the planet (and now apparently in outer space too).