Hedberg & Berryman

28 Apr


I was in a really bad mood last year for the NYC Chapbook festival and I had 2 readings that day.  It was the anniversary of Mitch Hedberg’s death and I just got it in my head that everything sucked and I started both my readings with this Hedberg quote which is now part of an exhibit by artist Mikko Kuorinki, who is posting short phrases by a variety of writers on the wall of Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Art .  Besides being one of the greatest comics, Mitch is an inspiration for us shy people who do want our writing to be heard but are also terrified of people–  When he was on stage, he wore sunglasses and looked at the floor.


My other favorite joke from Hedberg is:

I wrote a letter to my dad– I was going to write ‘I really enjoyed being here’, but I accidentally wrote ‘rarely’ instead of ‘really’. But I wanted to use it, I didn’t want to cross it out, so I wrote ‘I rarely drive steamboats, Dad. There’s a lot of shit you don’t know about me. Quit trying to act like I’m a steamboat operator.
Here’s one by Berryman, since I am writing a lyric essay on Shakespeare and the word “fear.”  – which appears in every act of the tragedies at least once, and in most cases numerous times in each act .  I like this quote because I am trying to do this when I can remember & sensibly, as not to fuck up my life. 


And then there’s this song by Cat Power which has been on my mind lately.  There’s something about the repetition of the phrase “I don’t blame you” that really breaks me down.  The idea of writing a piece that is meant to give someone permission to be themselves and free from blame.  People say this is about Kurt Cobain’s suicide.  Others say Elliott Smith.  But to me it’s much broader than a song about suicide.   (I always felt there were some hints referring to when Dylan went electric.)  But this is the kind of song  I would want someone to write for me and the kind of song that makes me think of Hedberg and Berryman and the kind of song I’d like to dedicate to everyone I ever met.


I Don’t Blame You

Last time I saw you, you were on stage
Your hair was wild, your eyes were bright
And you were in a rage
You were swinging your guitar around
Cuz they wanted to hear that sound
But you didn’t want to play
And I don’t blame you

I don’t blame you

Been around the world, in many situations
Been inside many heads in different positions
But you never wanted them that way
What a cruel price you thought that you had to pay
Them back for all that shit on stage
But it never made sense to them anyway
Could you imagine when they turned their backs
They were only scratching their heads
Cuz you simply deserve the best
And I don’t blame you

I don’t blame you

They said you were the best
But then they were only kids
Then you would recall the deadly houses you grew up in
Just because they knew your name
Doesn’t mean they know from where you came
What a sad trick you thought that you had to play
But I don’t blame you

They never owned it
And you never owed it to them anyway

I don’t blame you


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