Decoded by Jay Z


It’s not a song but then I’m not much of a fan of hip hop or rap. NWA’s “Fuck The Police,” an essential anthem of our day and age, is about all I know of either— based upon a fond memory of listening to NWA in Larry Gonzalez’ VW bus riding out to skate a ditch in god forsaken Southern California sometime around 1990. Several poet friends of mine have been deeply influenced by hip hop/rap. I recall speakers blaring as poet-pals spit lyrics back and forth to one another. There was of course as well accompanying judgement of “the living” as against “the listening,” for as with skating, that shit matters. When I came across Decoded (Jay Z’s autobiographical reflection via interpretative analysis of some of his own lyrics) on a shelf of used books, I picked it up along with Mailer’s Picasso and commenced reading them more or less side-by-side. Jay Z’s ever varying shades of hiding and unveiling his life and art provide a remarkable document of our time, i.e. it’s Totally Great.

-Patrick James Dunagan

20140921_155943Patrick James Dunagan lives in San Francisco and works at Gleeson Library for the University of San Francisco. He is a graduate of the now defunct New College of California poetics program where he had the excellent fortune to study under Tom Clark, Adam Cornford, Gloria Frym, Joanne Kyger, George Mattingly, and David Meltzer. Writings of his have appeared in: 1913 a journal of forms, Amerarcana, American Book Review, Big Bell, Bookslut, Chain, Dusie, Fulcrum, Haarp, HTMLGiant, Lightning’d Press, Rain Taxi, The Rumpus, Shampoo, Your Impossible Voice, The Volta, and Wild Orchids.  His most recent books include GUSTONBOOK and Das Gedichtete.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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