Monday, January 30, 2006

Coincidentally Yours,

- - - Late Saturday night, I got a Woody Guthrie song poem stuck in my head... or.. I tried to get it stuck, I should say. It had been a favorite song of mine about five years ago but I hadn't heard it in forever so Saturday night I struggled hard to recall the name and tune. Frustratingly, It felt all too much like fighting to remember a great dream in the morning while fending off the neighbor's radio blaring David Lee Roth's new talk show. (note to DLR: you are not Howard Stern. Not even a tamer, less pervy one)
....I remembered the premise of the song and I could almost grasp at a few snippets of lyrics but everything kept getting drowned out in my head by the melody and rhythm of Marty Robbins' song "El Paso" - also a favorite of mine from around the same period. Adding to my confusion was the fact that Woody Guthrie's name has always lived in that cookie-monster-like part of my brain that gobbles up names and things I should remember. When asked for whatever I'm trying to remember, it just screams for more cookies.
....So on Sunday January 29th, having given up on breaking through the brain lock, I googled the few words from the song that I was remembering... and... voila, there it was: 'Deportees' -But not just the lyrics... or the name of the song... but background too. Cool. And a summary of the event on which Woody Guthrie's poem, later turned into the song, was based:

The New York Times of January 29, 1948 reported the wreck of a "charter plane carrying 28 Mexican farm workers from Oakland to the El Centro, CA, Deportation Center.... "

....Coincidence? Unless you believe in fate or ghosts, of course it was. A one in 365 chance is still bound to happen a certain amount of time (let's say... around once every 365 times). And yet, there's something about my having had to struggle to dredge up the memory of this song and the sort of creepy fact that it was about people dying and the fact that the song, almost ironically, is about how they'd "be known by no name except deportee" that tries really hard to take me to that place where coincidence transcends statistical probability and seems to imply... well.. some other-worldly significance. If I didn't believe it crazy things like science and happenstance, I'd almost believe it happened for a reason.

update: Once you've listened to studied all the different versions of the song, I think you'll agree with me that the Bob Dylan / Joan Baez version is the best.

1 comment:

nas said...

hey. i'm naseem, a fellow iranian blogger in NYC. i found your blog and i wanted to say hi. i like your blog -- it's a very nice mix of... life. :)