Summer breeze makes me feel light, blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Bill Callahan, “Footprints”
You know when you’re happy and you transcend and all you can see is white light like looking into the sun? I just storyboarded the music video for this song.
In the liner notes for Woke on a Whaleheart, lyrics are included for all songs except “Footprints.” I wondered if Bill felt embarrassed about writing something so silly and unfettered. Maybe he decided the feeling of the song spoke for itself.
The sea above, the sky below We must have flown where the footprints end
A third hypothesis is that Bill didn’t want to commit to the lyrics in writing because he saw one of those posters and wondered if, when the footprints ended, it was JC carrying him.
“Men love jargon. It is so palpable, tangible, visible, audible; it makes so obvious what one has learned; it satisfies the craving for results. It is impressive for the uninitiated. It makes one feel that one belongs. Jargon divides men into Us and Them.”—Walter Kaufmann in his prologue to Martin Buber’s Ich und Du (I and Thou)
"something I said, she would sail into it, a snatch, for me, she would be gone from me a little ways but smiling too, and tell me jokes, and I loved it but didn’t exactly know what to do about it and just smiled back at her and felt slow next to her, just not quick enough. So she talked and touched me on the shoulder and the arm, she kept touching and stayed close to me."
I have a bird in my head and a pig in my stomach And a flower in my genitals and a tiger in my genitals And a lion in my genitals and I am after you but I have a song in my heart And my song is a dove I have a man in my hands I have a woman in my shoes I have a landmark decision in my reason I have a death rattle in my nose I have summer in my brain water I have dreams in my toes This is the matter with me and the hammer of my mother and father Who created me with everything But I lack calm I lack rose Though I do not lack extreme delicacy of rose petal Who is it that I wish to astonish? In the birdcall I found a reminder of you But it was thin and brittle and gone in an instant Has nature set out to be a great entertainer? Obviously not A great reproducer? A great Nothing? Well I will leave that up to you I have a knocking woodpecker in my heart and I think I have three souls One for love one for poetry and one for acting out my insane self Not insane but boring but perpendicular but untrue but true The three rarely sing together take my hand it’s active The active ingredient in it is a touch I am Lord Byron I am Percy Shelley I am Ariosto I eat the bacon I went down the slide I have a thunderstorm in my inside I will never hate you But how can this maelstrom be appealing? do you like menageries? my god Most people want a man! So here I am I have a pheasant in my reminders I have a goshawk in my clouds Whatever is it which has led all these animals to you? A resurrection? or maybe an insurrection? an inspiration? I have a baby in my landscape and I have a wild rat in my secrets from you.
We need a sympathetic community within which to realize our individuality. Social media tends to turn that effort to preserve that community into the pursuit of fame. And when we pursue fame, our behavior devolves into the familiar forms of self-commodification. We replace the pleasure of what we do with fantasies about the measurable notoriety we imagine we’ll reap. Social-media companies don’t facilitate community any more than fast-fashion companies elevate style; they cater to the fantasy of being a celebrity, the impossible dream of a mass audience for everyone. With that we either beat a retreat into vicarious fantasy or end up squarely in the realm of the creative class and its fiefdom of cool. To dissolve the creative class into universal creativity, the tyranny of “cool”—fashion as a mass-market business; trend spotting as an entrepreneurial vocation; friendship as a quantitative measure; influence as an end in itself—would have to be abolished, not universalized.
The pressure that sustains self-branding, it turns out, ultimately comes from ourselves, everyone on everyone else. We circulate the meanings, we empty out or alter their meaning, we grant the suddenly measurable attention that makes identity salient. We have more capability to share ourselves, our thoughts and interests and discoveries and memories, than ever before, yet sharing is in danger of becoming nothing more than an alibi that hides how voracious our appetite for novelty has become. It becomes harder for our friends and ourselves to figure out what really matters to us and what stems merely from the need to keep broadcasting the self.