East Harlem Incident

Thinking about the murder of motivational speaker and “positive, loving energy” guru Jeff Locker in East Harlem this week, where he had been pursuing an assignation with a young lady not his wife but got himself strangled and stabbed to death in his car by the damsel and her two male accomplices instead, I realized that this is yet another contemporary event that Bob Dylan has, in a manner of speaking, got covered. Here is the recording and below are the lyrics of Dylan’s 1964 song, “Spanish Harlem Incident,” where the singer, with his “pale face,” seeks liberating love from an exotic dark skinned woman, and is “surrounded” and “slayed” by her. The song reflects back ironically on the Jeff Locker case, presenting the more poetical side of the desires that, on a much coarser and stupider level, led Locker to his horrible death. By quoting it, I’m not making light of murder, readers know how seriously I take murder. But when a man gets himself killed through such an accumulation of sin and gross folly, a man, moreover, whose New Agey belief in positive energy and transformative love apparently left him unable to see the obvious dangers he had put himself in, there is, unavoidably, a humorous aspect to it.


Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem
Cannot hold you to its heat.
Your temperature is too hot for taming,
Your flaming feet are burning up the street.
I am homeless, come and take me
To the reach of your rattling drums.
Let me know, babe, all about my fortune
Down along my restless palms.

Gypsy gal, you’ve got me swallowed.
I have fallen far beneath
Your pearly eyes, so fast and slashing,
And your flashing diamond teeth.
The night is pitch black, come and make my
Pale face fit into place, oh, please!
Let me know, babe, I’m nearly drowning,
If it’s you my lifelines trace.

I’ve been wonderin’ all about me
Ever since I seen you there.
On the cliffs of your wildcat charms I’m riding,
I know I’m ‘round you but I don’t know where.
You have slayed me, you have made me,
I got to laugh halfways off my heels.
I got to know, babe, ah, when you surround me,
So I can know if I am really real.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 19, 2009 09:08 AM | Send

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