by Joe Váradi
I have a habit of planting cultural references — some obscure, some not — here and there in my original essays and poems.
If the entire piece is inspired by a greater work of art than mine, as is Mother or And Then There Were None, I will give a clear citation. But if it’s an impulsive burst of association, a fleeting tip of the hat, I figure it might be more fun to let my reader make the discovery.
If you’re into this sort of thing, I challenge you to spot as many hidden references as you can in these pieces.
There is a well-known Hendrix song title tucked away in here. Don’t let it distract you that the poem as a whole is inspired by The Clash.
I reference a lesser-known song title by the former Genesis front man. The tune was written in the early 90s, long after Gabriel went solo.
Eric Burdon and the Animals
I borrow generously from the chorus of a jazzy-bluesy masterpiece, which was originally written for Nina Simone in 1964. The Animals covered the song a year later, and turned it into a hit blues rock ballad. (Hint: It’s not House of the Rising Sun.)
Carly Rae Jepsen
She’s kind of a one hit wonder … so this should be easy. (Hint: If you’re stuck, perhaps you can dial me up, on a telephone.)
Ok — these are also fairly obvious. I have three references to Part I of the Godfather trilogy, sprinkled in these haikus.
Coming to America
There is a reference here to the 1988 comedy starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones. (Hint: The reference is a single word.)
At least I was thinking of a Faulkner title when I wrote the line. (Hint: Faulkner himself borrowed this phrase from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.)
Thanks for indulging me!
I hope to do more of these in the future.
Please share some of your writings with hidden pop culture references, in the comment section below.