Sunday, October 16, 2005

Kerouac: First Verse

The other night I had a dream that I was sitting on the sidewalk on Moody Street, Pawtucketville, Lowell, Mass., with a pencil and paper in my hand saying to myself
“Describe the wrinkly tar of this sidewalk, also the iron pickets of Textile Institute,
or the doorway where Lousy and you and G.J.’s always sittin’ and don’t stop
to think of words when you do stop, just stop to think of the picture better –
and let your mind wander off yourself in this work.

- “Dr. Sax

ONCE I was young and had so much more orientation and could talk with nervous intelligence about everything with clarity and without as much literary preambling
as this; in other words this is the story of an unself-confident man, at the same time
of an egomaniac, naturally, facetious won’t do – just start at the beginning
and let the truth seep out.

- “The Subterraneans”

ALL RIGHT, WIFEY, MAYBE I’M A BIG PAIN in the you-know-what
but after I’ve given you a recitation of the troubles I had to go through to make good
in America between 1935 and more or less now, 1967, and although I also know
everybody in the world's had his own troubles, you'll understandthat my particular
form of anguish came from being too sensitive to all the lunkheads I had to deal with
just so I could get to be a highschool football star, a college student pouring coffee and washing dishes and scrimmaging till dark and reading Homer's Illiad in three days
all at the same time, and God help me a WRITER whose very 'success', far from being
a happy triumph as of old, was the sign of doom Himself.
(Insofar as nobody loves my dashes anyway, I'll use regular punctuation for the new
illiterate generation.)

- "Vanity of Duluoz"

Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955
I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees
crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara.
It was a local and I intended to sleep on the beach.

- "The Dharma Bums"

before we all go to Heaven
All that hitchhikin'
All that railroadin'
All that comin back
to America
Via Mexican & Canadian borders…

Less begin with the sight of me with collar huddled up close to neck and tied
around with a handkerchief to keep it tight and snug, as I go trudging across
the bleak, dark warehouse lots of the ever lovin San Pedro waterfront,
the oil refineries smelling in the damp foggish night of Christmas 1951
and the brought-up mysteries of Sea Hag Pacific.

- “Lonesome Traveler”

THIS IS AN OLD DINER like the ones Cody and his father ate in, long ago, with that oldfashioned railroad car ceiling and sliding doors – the board where bread is cut is worn down fine as if with bread dust and a plane: the icebox (“Say I got some rice homefries tonight Cody!”) is a huge brownwwod thing with old fashioned pull-out handles, windows, tile walls, full of lovely pans of eggs, butter pats, piles of bacon – old lunchcarts always have a dish of sliced raw onions ready to go on hamburgs. Grill is ancient and dark and emits an odor which is really succulent, like you would expect.

- “Visions of Cody”


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