May I ask why you are so hostile about this?
Oh, Captain, my captain!
( I'm standing on the table)
Pearl Jam live at the garden ! But almost every Bootleg has a great live version ! Sometimes Ed Vedder add some improved lyrics at the end...sometimes they are more optimist but they also can be very pessimist. It's kind of bi-polar.
Here's what they add in Vienna: I dreamt to you, Where ever you are tonight, I dreamt to you, I'm having a better time than you are tonight, Where ever you are , where ever you are, Fucked up when you let me, Fucked up when you lost me, could'nt be you, couldn't be you, could have been you !
No work for me exept playing one song. That was too funny
He plays the costanza role
nice original post, but i would definitely remove those #'s.
"hello, mr bruno, it's me, eddie"
Such a cruel taunt, sir!
However, I can forward the school's contact info to the Mods....Better safe than sorry?
I was thinking about all that info on a public board and I definitely agree with those who felt the information should be removed. I've gotta be honest Mr. Bruno, I would even be hesitant to leave your school name, town and state at the bottom of your original post.
Having worked in a middle school for quite a few years, I've never mentioned the name of the school, the district, or any other information on the board.
Maybe it's just me and a few others but, I'm very hesitant and cautious when it comes to stuff like this...especially because of the children.
You might want to contact Kat and Sea for them to clean up any quoted posts, all of your info is still in the quotes.
Dear Mr. Vedder,
My name is Mr. Bruno. I'm a Maryland English Teacher.
On behalf of my three 8th grade classes, we have a story to share.
For the past three years, I have included the lyrics to your song
"Black" as part of my Journey Through Genres unit. Initially, I
introduce "Black" as a poem. In the end of the Journeys Through
Genres unit, I ask the kids if they want to hear "Black" being "read,"
and I play your song. They always seem stunned when they realize that a
song is really nothing more than poetry married to rhythm.
I must admit that teaching "Black" is one of the highlights of my
year, and the kids love it, too. My students actually whined when I
took the lyrics back from them (too much to go over during a 45 minute
block of time). They wanted to know how the "poem" ended: I only
let them examine the song stanza by stanza, and we only got through the
first two stanzas during the first day. Never before have I seen them so
hungry for more. One promising young student even asked for a copy of
the lyrics. As a teacher, those moments are pure gold. It makes me
proud to be an educator.
When we review "Black" we treat it to literary analysis: we go
over Imagery, Metaphor, Mood, Tone, and Symbolism. In addition, we
examine the emotional temperature of the piece. The kids seemed to be
right-on-the-money with respect to the mood of "Black." They both
felt and appreciated the Narrator's pain as he laments the loss of a
Here's what we came up with.
Empty canvas and untouched sheets of clay suggest that something is
incomplete in the Narrator's life, contrasting the two aspects of his
life. When she was in his life, the Narrator/artist was able to produce
his work. Now that the relationship is over, he lacks the steam
required to continue his art. The words empty and untouched suggest a
barren, austere emotional climate. They illuminate potential that goes
empty and untouched.
Comparing the Antagonist to the sun suggests that she provides heat,
warmth, and life to the Narrator, the proper "earthen bed" required
to nourish and promote the flower of happiness, growth, and
self-actualization. In short, she was everything to him. She completed
him. This totality can be seen in the fact that the word everything is
repeated several times during the subsequent portions of the song. The
line, "Now the air I tasted and breathed, has taken a turn" sharply
marks Tone. It is the Narrator dropping his mask and speaking directly
to us about how he feels about his loss. Not only was she his sun, she
was the air that sustained him. And with the souring of the
relationship, so sours the air. With the souring of the air comes the
souring of the Narrator. He gasps for breath, choking on his situation.
This slow, emotional suffocation is mute testimony to the honesty of his
pain, his loss, and the slow fragmentation of his security. The
Narrator can no longer breathe without suffering, and every breath
haunts him. The fact that he is required to breathe this sour air is an
ever-present reminder of the Narrator's all-consuming pain.
When we reviewed the lines, "And all I taught her was everything / I
know she gave me all that she wore," a few students echoed some of my
private thoughts. Those lines read as if a young art professor had
fallen in love with one of his students. Several students from
different classes came up with that interpretation. The bitter hands
chafing is testimony to the Narrator rubbing his hands together in a
compulsive attempt to cope with his loss. The "washing" of the
pictures is a metaphor depicting the destruction of what was once a
beautiful relationship. The image of destroying a painting is a
powerful symbol showing how one feels when love decays. The loss of
that loved one feels like the destruction of a beautiful work of art.
The reference to a tattoo suggests that the Narrator's pain is
permanent. The pain is being compared to a tattoo's ink. Even though
that pain will fade/run over time, the Narrator feels that it will
always be there, just like a tattoo.
I feel that, "I take a walk outside / I"m surrounded by some kids
at play / I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?" is one of the
most powerful lines in literary history. Those words capture the slow
burn endured by those who are haunted by the fading echoes of true love.
It's as if the pain is both amplified by and juxtaposed with the
reminder that everyone around the Narrator has permission to be happy,
yet he is condemned to what he sees as an eternity of suffering,
slow-roasting over the white-hot coals of what was, and taunted by what
will never be. The juxtaposition of beautiful laughter and paralytic
pain eclipses the Narrator's happiness, highlighting his angst all the
The 'twisted thoughts' can be thought of as the manic replaying of
what the Narrator could have done/should have done to salvage the
relationship, second-guessing himself and dooming himself to torturous
self-examination. This self-questioning erodes the Narrator's
stability, leaving him reeling from his efforts.
As the Antagonist is being compared to his sun, the line, "How quick
the sun can drop away" shows a bitter, clipped Tone, capturing the
sarcastic hemorrhage felt by the Narrator. The sun's dropping is
testimony to the fact that the relationship is over. Love's glow has
faded. In her absence, in the sun's absence, the image created is
that of a man trying to scratch out an existence in a bleak word devoid
of warmth, light, love, and hope. Trapped within the bleak ruins of his
own emotional wasteland, the Narrator feels that he is at risk of drying
out and shriveling up. The Narrator identifies with Sisyphus, condemned
to an eternity of rolling his emotional boulder up life's steep
If the antagonist can be referred to a precious glass statue, then the,
"bitter hands that cradle broken glass," shows how the Narrator
cannot heal, despite the end of the relationship. The image created is
that of a masochist who cannot release the sharp fragments of something
that was once dear to him, trapped within a vicious cycle of
self-injury: he holds love's broken pieces, and they lacerate him.
Going against both intuition and friends' sound advice, he hugs it
again, perpetuating the cycle of self-mutilation. The word cradle
suggests that the Narrator will pursue any hope, however fleeting, of
resuscitating the relationship. The fact that the relationship keeps
slicing him is as powerful as it is self-defeating.
When the Narrator's world turns to black, he bears his soul, naked to
the world. He allows the readers a rare glimpse into the true depth of
his woe. This hurt, this emotional tattoo, ruins all that he sees, all
that he is, and all that he will ever be. This pain is symbolized by
the tattoo. His pain is so pervasive that he sees this grief has having
amputated part of his future, pillorying hope for what tomorrow could
"Black" ends with a failed coup-de-grace. Unable to admit defeat
and move on, the Narrator cannot shake hands and walk away. While the
Narrator recognizes that the Antagonist will be the star in someone
else's sky, he laments that she will not be the star in his sky,
agonizing over the fact that it wasn't meant to be. "Why can't it
be mine?" eliminates any chance of moving on, uprooting any growth
made towards closure. Buried within the wasteland of his heart, the
Narrator cannot see that he cannot see beyond the immediacy of it all.
"Black" captures all the emptiness, all the ache, and all the doom
felt by most young people when they look back on their clumsy first
attempts at love. It is my opinion that "Black" is one of the most
powerful pieces of poetry in the textbook that is our world.
My 8th grade classes are deeply interested in knowing what inspired
"Black." From where did it come? From what? That, and they
just wanted thank the person who found a voice for those who had
previously suffered in silence.
Good deal Mr. Bruno....
pssst...kat and sea kick a lot of ass don't they?
I like your story...the students have a privilege to learn deeply about poetry and music too...and when they listen the music? They like PJ now?
did you try to make the analysis from Jeremy in your school? it´s hard, no?
wauw...you really are an inspiring teacher
but i get the feeling you're a good teacher.
Dear naive people..
Ok Mr. Bruno is trying really hard and is a good teacher.
But all of you who fell for that -that he got a response from Eddie and are now obviously congratulating him..I've got a question..Why didn't he post the damn letter or at least write down..Hey just got a mail back from Eddie?? Because is a lie..and by posting it Kat and Sea would know it..Why posting everybody PM..ow I've got a response..It really isn't a big deal different from posting it in the thread..after all it will complete the thread...
So if it's true..don't sing it bring it...
Doesn't say No..But my friend told me that he posted him a PM message saying just that. Well ask Mr. Bruno in PM...
EDIT: ANd you can see some people saying Congratulations and stuff.. that is because of the "REPLY".
If there was I reply (I disbelieve) it think it should be posted..at least to say what it was written because you made it possible and got it noticed too. (There are TWO SAME Threads of this!)
Hey, Mr. Bruno.....I had a teacher in jr. high school who also had us look into song lyrics in poetry class.....I really loved it. I think it's great what you're doing. I never forgot that teacher.....I guess I was lucky, I had a lot of great teachers. In high school, one of my creative writing teachers even lent me his big book of Bob Dylan song lyrics.....he was a great guy.
Restless Soul wrote:
Your post and work with young people is really inspiring to read, and the interpretation of Black that you and the kids came up with. I think you are right in getting the kids to come up with their own interpretations because their views are just as valid as anyones.
I've read most of this thread, (not all) and the thing that worries me, and I know its been mentioned before, is the fact that you are hoping that Eddie will contact the kids. I really really hope he does, for your and the kids' sake but I remember reading an interview with Eddie from the early days where he said he didn't explain his songs but was always interested in hearing other people's interpretations. If he does contact you be prepared for the fact that he still might not explain the song. It's his prerogative not to. Also, I hope you haven't told the kids you are trying to contact him because it could set them up for a fall. They should be aware that their own interpretations are just as valid, to them anyway. That way they can learn that there isn't always a "right" or "wrong" answer, especially in poetry, but there are many shades of grey in between, and all of them could be equally valid. And that debating the rights and wrongs of a line and justifying it is part of the fun.
You talk about wanting to "save" the children and I think this is really commendable. I think you are already doing this by your work in teaching them to think and analyse things for themselves and allowing them to get exposed to good literature.
As for preventing them from getting into drugs or pregnancy or drop out of school, that takes a whole lot more work than an English teacher can deliver - are you sure you are not cut out to be a youth worker instead? :P I think those things can be combatted by raising awareness and education. Maybe exposure to an inspiring celebrity can help too, so good luck with that!
Anyway, what I really wanted to suggest is that if you are looking for another work of Eddie's I'd suggest Sleight of Hand from the Binaural album. I love this because to me it is about alienation and being lost from yourself, being a small cog in a big wheel, and then finding the power in yourself to change an unhappy situation in your life. To me its about self-empowerment - maybe something else the kids could learn about? (I also second the Present Tense suggestion!)
routine was the theme, he'd wake up and...wash and pour himself into uniform
something he hadn't imagined being...
as the merging traffic passed, he found himself staring, down, at his own hands..
not remembering the change, not recalling the plan, was it...?
he was okay, but wondering about wandering
was it age? by consequence? or was he moved by sleight of hand?
mondays were made to fall, lost on a road he knew by heart
it was like a book he read in his sleep, endlessly...
sometimes he hid in his radio, watching others pull into their homes
while he was drifting...
on a line, of his own, off the line, on the side
by the by, as dirt turned to sand, as if moved by sleight of hand
when he reached the shore of his clip-on world
he resurfaced to the norm
organized his few things, his coat and keys...
any new realizations would have to wait til he had more time, more time...
time to dream, to himself
he waves goodbye, to himself
i'll see you on the other side...
another man...moved by sleight of hand...
Check for a PM. : )
tell me about this PM you keep sending out....
well, first let me say that this is a great idea n probably a great way to reach out to a misguided youth..
what did the children say when they heard the song?????
did any of them search for more lyrics by PJ?
all in all --- very greatful to read a great post
thanks, n keep on rockin!!!!
This thread gives me a kind of dejá-vu ;-). Interesting.
Back in 2001 it was my English teacher in Germany who introduced me to Pearl Jam by playing and discussing "Wishlist" in class. Good to know that there are other teachers out there like that.