Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sinead O'Connor


[Sinead O'Connor at Sin-é, New York, June 1992 - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - courtesy the Allen Ginsberg Collection of Photographs at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, Canada] 

Yesterday, we featured a couple of the more unusual (more unlikely) subjects from the Allen Ginsberg photo collection housed at The University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library - Madonna and Warren BeattyToday, we feature another - images of Sinead O'Connor. The occasion was her June 20, 1992 set at the legendary (New York) East Village club, Sin-é (famous also as the spawning ground for the young Jeff Buckley

On October 3, just three months later, she appeared in the notorious segment on NBC's Saturday Night Live, singing an a cappella version of Bob Marley's "War" and ripping up a photo of the Pope (John Paul II)   

Never a stranger to controversy

and always an extraordinary voice. 

See for example here 



and here 



and here (to just give three instances):




Recent tragedy (the sickness of her son) has caused her to currently (temporarily, we hope) retire from the public stage
(mindful too of promoters and their rip-offs (see here)
and her own deeply-personal challenges - here 

Here's a recent interview (from April) promoting her tenth studio album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss 

Keep up-to-date with Sinead - keep her in your thoughts -  Sinead O'Connor's Facebook account


[Sinead O'Connor at Sin-é, New York, June 1992 - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - courtesy the Allen Ginsberg Collection of Photographs at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, Canada] 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Warren Beatty & Madonna



[Warren Beatty and Madonna at Francesco Clemente's New Years Eve Party, 1990-1991 - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - courtesy the Allen Ginsberg Photography Collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library a tthe University of Toronto, Canada]

Among the more unusual snaps (unusual subjects) in the Allen Ginsberg Photography Collection (now housed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto) are these ones of Madonna and Warren Beatty, taken in 1990-1991, on the occasion of Francesco Clemente's New Years Eve party.  

"The greatest romance of the whole entire 1990's" gushed Amy Rose Spiegel on Buzzfeed, a couple of years back.

Out provides some of the more "juicy" snippets from Peter Biskind's 2010 biography - Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America - here

As recently as March of this year, on the Howard Stern radio show, Madonna looked back fondly on the relationship, and confessed, "Yes he was (an incredible lover), I'm not going to lie".

The couple first met while co-starring in the filming of the comic-strip classic, Dick Tracy. The movie (directed by Beatty himself) had premiered only six months before these shots of Allen's were taken (Madonna played "Breathless Mahoney", Beatty played Tracy).

Madonna's own 1991 documentary, Truth or Dare (In Bed With Madonna) also "captures" Beatty.

The chemistry unrehearsed.


[Warren Beatty and Madonna at Francesco Clemente's New Years Eve Party, 1990-1991 - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - courtesy the Allen Ginsberg Photography Collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, Canada] 






Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ginsberg at UMass, Lowell, part 2 - (Whalen,Sakaki, Creeley,Wieners, Corso




Allen Ginsberg's Beat class (at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell) continues

AG: There's another interesting poet almost as old as (Jack) Kerouac, that was part of the..what was called San Francisco Renaissance - Philip Whalen. Anybody ever heard of him? [a show of hands] - a few - He's… Now, as you know, there is some interest n Buddhism and Zen - Kerouac's Dharma Bums - and Philip Whalen was a prototype for Kerouac's character, [Ben Fagan in Big Sur] Warren Coughlin, in Dharma Bums.
And Whalen now is the Abbot of the Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco, meaning that he's a sensei (or, in Zen, as you get older, they call you roshi, or a Zen master) - and so he's now the first poet, American poet, first Postmodern Zen master.


                                                            [Philip Whalen (1923-2002)]

"Further Notice" - (this is 1956) - "I can't live in this world/And I refuse to kill myself/Or let you kill me./ The dill plant lives, the airplane/My alarm clock, this ink/I won't go away/  I shall be myself/ Free, a genius, an embarrassment/Like the Indian, the buffalo/ Like Yellowstone National Park" - (See, sort of self-empowering, like Whitman, that one). But (also) his later work is really interesting. I made a choice, (a) selection of short, short poems by him. "Dewey Swanson" - ("ran lunatic in the midst of our/canoeing trip had to tie him/up and sit on him in the bottom/of the canoe in the daytime"…"we never would have found him except/for his talking and we never did catch/him asleep from the time he first/started acting funny") -  (And) there's a little poem from 1967 (he goes to Japan all the time [sic]) - "A Couple of Blocks South of the Heian Shrine" (a very famous sacred shrine in Kyoto) - "She builds a fire of small clean white square sticks/balanced on top of a small white clay hibachi" (hibachi?, you know, a little portable stove that you can put things on, with charcoal) - "balanced on top of a small white clay hibachi/which stands on a sewing-machine set between her/house wall and the street where my taxi honks past" - It's quick - like he took, like, a little photograph, but he noticed it and he got it all down - '"She builds a fire of small clean white square sticks/ balanced on top of a small white clay hibachi/which stands on a sewing-machine set between her/house wall and the street where my taxi honks past"- You don't get the.. the very last thing - you suddenly realize, wow! how quick! . (From) 1968, (a) two-line poem - "Sadly unroll sleeping bag:/The missing lid for teapot!" And then this one has a really weird title -  "Allegorical Painting: Capitalistic Society Destroyed By The Contradictions Within Itself (Second Five Year Plan)" - "feeble claw blanket grab disappear foot hog/crackling Oklahoma dustbowl (Virgil Thompson)/whisker tickles shoulder - eye sinus bulge/with %&% cock numb and warm…"…"..I cannot acccept /the ending of a day no more light I cannot wait/for night when bed fucking blowing  jacking-off is/possible at last naked safe and pleasure" - (it's real fast, (it's) ba-bam, all those thoughts - so his motto (for) his poetry is (was) "My poetry is a picture of a mind moving" [from "Since You Asked"] - and you sure get that fast with this).  "Alleyway" - "That darling baby!/All wrapped up asleep/In his fuzzy blue bunting/An extra blanket carefully pinned/Around him asleep on the ground/Between two boxes of rubbish/Beside the overflowing garbage cans/All alone. Throwed way." (that's something - sweet, really) - "Epigram on Himself" - "People can forgive all my faults/They despise me for being fat" (and he is fat!) - "Untied Airlines" - "The world's tiniest apple pie and library paste for lunch/Where to go/I want out" - "Powell & Market Street, San Francisco" - "Fat man waves tiny Bible/Shouting threats about Jesus/Nearby, a younger thinner man (high on something else?) /starts undressing" (Powell and Market is a place where a lot of the cranks make speeches in San Francisco) -"Fat man waves tiny Bible/Shouting threats about Jesus/Nearby, a younger thinner man (high on something else, question mark) starts undressing" - "The Turn" ("Walking along Elm Road/Handful of nasturtiums, butter, some kind of bread"…"The dogs are scared and their people scandalized/"What are you trying to do? HAY! What are you trying to do?"/I had nothing to tell them, I was talking to their dogs") - "The Laundry Area" ("Each time I hang up a washboard/The slenderest thread of cold water/Runs down my wrist and into my armpit/Without wetting my clothes" (universal but probably nobody else noticed it ever before) - "When hanging up the washboard/The slenderest thread of cold water/Runs down my wrist and into my armpit/Without wetting my clothes" - And as a Zen Master by 1978, or Zen student - "Cynical Son" ("You do what you do/Fucky-ducky/You do it anyhow/People don't like it/Fucky-ducky/People like it/Fucky-ducky/You do what you do/Fucky-ducky" - So that's for Philip Whalen - interesting.

                                                          [Nanao Sakaki (1923-2008)]

(Next a) Japanese poet, who's a friend of Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and myself, Nanao Sakaki, who writes in English (and is) part of the same generation (that were) born in 1923 - "If you have time…" [Allen begins reading] - I'll put it in his voice, in his accent [sic] - "If you have time to chatter/Read books/If you have time to read/Walk into mountain, desert and ocean/If you have time to walk/sing songs and dance/Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot" And here is a poem called "Future Knows" - "Thus I have heard" (That is the beginning of a Buddhist sutra - "Thus I have heard" this, that, or the other - "Thus I heard" - to (a) teacher's question/) - "Oakland, California - /To teacher's question/An eleven-year-old girl answered/"The ocean is/ A huge swimmming pool with cement walls"/ On a starry summer night/At a camping ground in Jaoan/A nine-year-old boy from Tokyo complained/ "Ugly, too many stars"/ At a department store in Kyoto/One of my friends bought a beetle/ For his son, seven years old /A few hours later/ The boy brought his dead bug/ to a hardware store, asking/"Change battery, please."


                                                                  [Robert Creeley 1926-2005)]

And Robert Creeley - [to Robert Creeley, in the audience] Do you want to read these or should I? - okay, I'll make a quick selection - "The Operation" (about a marriage difficulty, a couple's marriage breaking up - "By Saturday I said you would be better on Sunday/ The insistence was a part of a reconciliation./  Your eyes bulged, the grey/light hung on you, you were hideous./ My involvement is just an old habitual relationship/ Cruelm cruel to describe/what there is no reason to describe" - "The Conspiracy" (this is one of my favorite poems, from 1955-56, when we were all getting together around then..) - "You send me your poems,/I'll send you mine" - first line - that's called "The Conspiracy" - " You send me your poems,/I'll send you mine./ Things tend to awaken/even through random communication./ Let us suddenly/proclaim spring, And jeer/at the others/all the others./ I will send a picture too/if you will send me one of you" (that's sort of laconic, but very sweet actually) - "The Lover" - "What should the young/man say, because he is buying/Modess? Should he/ blush or not. Or/ turn coyly, his head, to/one side, as if in/ the exactitude of his emotion he/were not offended? Were/proud?/Of what? To buy/ a thing like that" (so that's the same Americanese that's in Kerouac, regular, somebody talking, making his own idiom, spoken idiom). (And) this sort of encompasses all of Walt Whitman (so, "I celebrate myself and sing myself..") - "Like They Say"- "Underneath the tree on some/soft grass I sat, I / watched two happy/ woodpeckers be dis-/turbed by my presence. And/ why not, I thought to/myself, why/not" - (Do you get it? - that he wasn't guilty that the woodpeckers were disturbed by his presence, that he was able to sit down in soft grass and…)
So, but then these are (all) early, pretty late, much later, (in the (19)80's) ,"First Rain" ("These  retroactive small/instances of feeling/ reach out for a common/ ground in the wet/first rain of a faded/ winter. Along the grey/ iced sidewalk revealed/piles of dogshit, papers/ bits of  old clothing , are/the human pledges. call them, "We are here and/have been all the time"/ I walk quickly. The wind/ drives the rain, drenching/ my coat, pants, blurrs/ my glasses, as I pass.")  - (So he's just taking a very simple awareness of his own presence, and going on to..  (like today's rain), "blurring your glasses" - "dog shit, papers /bits of old clothing,.. human pledges..."
 Later on, "Still Too Young" ("I was talking to older/man on the phone/ who's saying something/and something are five/ when I think it's four,/and all I'd hoped for/ is going up in abstract smoke,/and this call is from California/and selling a house, /in fact, two houses,/ is losing me money, more/than I can afford to/and I thought I was winning/but I'm losing again/ but I'm too old to do it again/and still too young to die."  (What's interesting to me about this is that it's almost like he figured out one line, he doesn't know what's going to come next, and he figured out another line, and that changes what the first line meant , and then he figured out another.. then another line comes, logicallyy, and that changes everything before that. So it's like turning a Venetian blind. By the time you get to the end, it's all locked in, it all makes complete sense. Everything is explained 
 ("I was  talking to older/man on the phone.." (it's called "Still Too Young") -  "I was talking to older/man on the phone/ who's saying something/and something are five" (saying something and something are five)  - "when I think it's four,/and all I'd hoped for" (hoped for) "is going up in abstract smoke /and this call is from California/and selling a house, /in fact, two houses,/ is losing me money, more/than I can afford to/and I thought I was winning/but I'm losing again/ but I'm too old to do it again/and still too young to die."

And some funny little things in here, little poems, like "Go" - "Push that little/thing up and the/other right down,/It'll work" (a description of the universe, or sex, or a little toy  "Go" ( I think he's got children, (he's got) six kids (so he's been in this situation, I guess, a lot") "Push that little/thingp and the/other right down,/It'll work"  - "Memories" ( "Hello, duck/in yellow/ cloth stuffed from/inside out,/little pillow" (maybe a little something he remembers from childhood or something he got given as a kid) -  - "Lovers" ("Remember? as  kids/we'd looked in crypt/had we fucked/ we walked a Saturday/in cemetery it/was free the flowers/the lanes we looked/in past the small/barred window into/dark of tomb when/it looked out at us/face we saw white/looking out at us/inside the small/room was it man/who worked there dead/person's fraught skull?" - (That's a New England vision! ) 
ok. that's some of Robert Creeley. So Robert's reading tonight (reading new works, I guess).


[Gregory Corso (1930-2001)]

I'd like to get on to a couple of little poems of Gregory Corso , the un-well-known as Kerouac is well-known - (Gregory doesn't get around that much) - "The Last Gangster"
[Allen breaks off - "Who's the host here? What time does the class begin and end?" - He's told to "go right ahead" - "Pardon me? No, my question was what time did the class begin and  formally end?. It's a quarter-to now, so we should end in five minutes right? - is that correct?   (And) if anybody wants to hang around I'll continue a bit..] 
By Corso, one of the early poems, "The Last Gangster" ("Waiting by the window/my feet enwrapped with the dead bootleggers of Chicago/I am the last gangster, safe, at last,/waiting by a bullet-proof window/ I look down the street and know/the two torpedoes from St Louis./ I've watched them grow old/...guns rusting in their arthritic hands") - (and)  "Birthplace Revisited" ("I stand in the dark light in the dark street/and look up at my window, I was born there./The lights are on: other people are moving about./I am with raincoat: cigarette in mouth,/hat over eye/I cross the street and enter the building/The garbage cans haven't stopped smelling./I walk up the first flight; Dirty Ears/aims a knife at me.../I pump him full of lost watches.") 
A late poem by Corso (that was early, now late), a poem called "The Whole Mess (Almost)" - the whole mess of life, or, everything you want to know about everything important…. - [Allen reads "The Whole Mess (Almost) "] - "I ran up six flights of stairs/to my small furnished room/opened the window/and began throwing out/those things most important in life.."…."…suddenly realized Humor/was all that was left - All that I could do with Humor was to say, "Out the window with the window!"'


                                                                        [John Wieners (1934-2002)]

So the last thing I want to read here is from…well, there's a lot of good stuff here, from John Wieners, a late poem, a kind of interesting.., well, not late but middle-period poem (John Wieners will be reading tonight) - "Children of the Working Class" (Wieners is a very interesting poet (sort of a poet of love, gay, been, sort of many times sort of frustrated, been in mental hospitals (and out)) And this is the time, 1972, when he was in Taunton State Hospital ,  written from in there, called "Children of the Working Class"  [Allen reads John Wieners' "Children of the Working Class" in its entirety] - "gaunt, ugly deformed…."…"...I am witness. not to Whitman's vision but instead the/poorhouses, the mad city asylums and re-/lief work lines. Yes, I am witness not to/ God's goodness, but to his better or less scorn".

 It's a very powerful poem, and very, very much (meaningful)

So, I'm running overtime, but we have (a few moments left)..so, thank you

So I was trying to give you a little brief survey, a range of poems, by various poets, related to the Beat Generation, that you might not get in your antholoie (for the course)  

class ends here

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ginsberg at UMass, Lowell - part 1 (Burroughs and Kerouac)



[Allen Ginsberg at the UMass (Lowell)]

Courtesy the video archives of the Jack and Stella Kerouac Center For Public Humanities (scroll down), Allen Ginsberg speaking on and reading from William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Philip Whalen, Nanao Sakaki, Robert Creeley, Gregory Corso, and John Wieners, recorded at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, 1991

Following a broef introduction by Bill Roberts, the head of the English department (who notes Robert Creeley is in the house) and Hamid Shirvani, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Allen begins speaking

AG: Actually, my understanding is that this is a class, or the core here is a class, in "Beat Literature"?  - Is that right?. So that was what I was aiming at. So what other classes are there here? So there's the Beat class and then just miscellaneous students from other classes..?..."Modern Poetry" - What else? Anything else?… and of "Writing" 


So what I thought I would do.. I've been teaching a class in "Beat Literature" also, at Brooklyn College, and also at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (and I taught that for years, on and off, and, in the course of that, made a little anthology of Beat, or pseudo-Beat, or Beat-allied, writing). So in the Beat class, did you study any of Gregory Corso's work? - John Wieners? - how many here have heard of John Wieners? - one? - Well, John Wieners is going to be reading tonight along with Robert Creeley and myself (and Robert is not exactly a "Beat" writer, but we've been friends and allies and is sort of an honorary Beat, or Original Beat, or Post-Beat, or Postmodern Beat, or…).  So all three of us will be reading tonight, so you're welcome there. And Robert Creeley and I think that John Wieners is one of the major poets of this half of the century [twentieth century] in America, and so those of you who are studying either "Writing","American Poetry", or "Beat Literature" would do well to pick up on him. 

So what I thought I would do is read a few poems from various different writers that are connected with the Beat movement and maybe you get acquainted that way (recognizing that) the subject is "Beat and Kerouac" for the Kerouac Convention here [Lowell Celebrates Kerouac]


[William Burroughs - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg]

So, (to begin with an elder, William Burroughs. How many have read some of Burroughs? - almost everybody, I guess. And I have a favorite passage of Burroughs which was used in that movie of Naked Lunch, called "The Market", from which.. I don't know if any of you saw.. what was it? - it was that cafe where Venusians and people from weird planets got together to get drunk? - [Star Wars] - Star Wars, yeah, actually..Star Wars ripped off Burroughs from "The Market" -  Allen begins reading Burroughs] - "Panorama of the City of Interzone . Opening bars of "East St. Louis Toodle-oo"… "at times loud and clear then faint and intermittent like music down a windy street…The Composite City where all human potentials are spread out in a vast silent market……Gaming tables where the games are played for incredible stakes. From time to time a player leaps up with a despairing cry, having lost his youth to an old man or become Latah to his opponent. But there are higher stakes than youth or Latah, games where only two persons in the world know what the stakes are.." - (just like life!) - "All houses in the City are joined…."….
"In the City market is the Meet Café" -  (this is where Star Wars comes in) - “In the City Market is the Meet Café. Followers of obsolete, unthinkable trades doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, pushers of souped-up harmine, junk reduced to pure habit offering precarious vegetable serenity, liquids to induce Latah, Tithonian longevity serums.." - (Tithys was promised eternal life by the Gods, but they didn't promise him a young ever-youthful boy, so he wound up dust in a bottle, talking and wanting to be annihilated) - "Tithonian longevity serums.." - "...black marketeers of World War III, excusers of telepathic sensitivity, osteopaths of the spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrants taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, bureaucrats of spectral departments, officials of unconstituted police states, a Lesbian dwarf who has perfected operation Bang-utot, the lung erection that strangles a sleeping enemy, sellers of orgone tanks and relaxing machines, brokers of exquisite dreams and memories tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, doctors skilled in the treatment of diseases dormant in the black dust of ruined cities, gathering virulence in the white blood of eyeless worms feeling slowly to the surface and the human host, maladies of the ocean floor and the stratosphere, maladies of the laboratory and atomic war... A place where the unknown past and the emergent future meet in a vibrating soundless hum... Larval entities waiting for a Live One…”  

So that’s quite a prose-poem actually. It’s a little like MTV. I think it was actually first published in Black Mountain Review number seven, by Robert Creeley, who, very early, recognized Burroughs’ quaint, precise, clear visual eye. So what you have is, like, a..panorama, (a) fast nightmarish panaroma, maybe more easy to understand these days when you have this sense of cut-up and jump-cut in music video, one image coming after another without explanation but building up a sense of..  well, futuristic-ness, or surreal nightmare intensity and outrageous post-Modern post-Scientific science-fiction end-of-the-planet ominousness. So that was Burroughs, the elder (gentleman) o that’s quite a prose-poem actually. It’s a little like MTV. I think it was actually first published in Black Mountain Review number seven, by Robert Creeley, who, very early, recognized Burroughs’ quaint, precise, clear visual eye. So what you have is, like, a..panorama, (a) fast nightmarish panaroma, maybe more easy to understand these days when you have this sense of cut-up and jump-cut in music video, one image coming after another without explanation but building up a sense of..  well, futuristic-ness, or surreal nightmare intensity and outrageous post-Modern post-Scientific science-fiction end-of-the-planet ominousness.
So that was Burroughs, the elder (gentleman)

As I’m going along, if you have any particular questions, you’re welcome to…


[Jack Kerouac - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg}

Next, I thought..  How many here know Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues? _ Not so many. So, I’ll read a couple of those.
 (Jack) Kerouac was a very interesting poet, turned on a lot of poets, actually, and had a big influence on American poetry, although, interestingly enough, he’s very rarely represented in any academic poetry anthology (or the regular anthologies that you get here – has anybody seen any Kerouac poems in any of the Norton’s or Macmillan’s or any of the school anthologies?) – So if you were to define academic as being the English professors that make anthologies that are used in high schools and colleges, Kerouac, then, has been totally rejected as a poet by the academy, but, at the same time, he’s a favorite of many of the (living) poets - almost every open-form, avant-garde, poet in America.. digs his Mexico City Blues, including Bob Dylan, and those who have been influenced by Dylan, (the entire folk-rock, later punk-rock and grunge ,world, really, up to Sonic Youth and U2, both directly influenced by Burroughs and by Kerouac indirectly)

"Starspangled Kingdom bedecked/in dewy joint - DON"T IGNORE OTHER PARTS/OF YOUR MIND, I think/And my clever brain sends/ripples of amusement/Through my leg nerve halls?And I remember the Zigzag/Original Mind/ of Babyhood/when you let the faces/crack & mock/& yak and change/& go mad utterly/in your night/ firstmind/ reveries/The endless Not Invisible/Madness Rioting/Everywhere" - (That's a pretty good description of everybody's subjective world of thinking and dreams That was the 17th Chorus)


"All great statements ever made/abide in death/All the magnificent and witty/rewards of French Lettrism /Abide in death/  All the Roman Sculptor/of Heroes, all Picassos/and Micassos and/ Macayos/and/Machados/ and K e r o u a c o' s - /even Asvaghosha's Glorious Statement/and Asanga's and Holy Sayadaw/and all the good and kind saints/and the divine unabstractable ones/the holy and perfect ones/ All Buddhas and Dharmas/All Jesuses and Jerusalems/And Jordans and How are You's/ - Nil, none, a dream./ A bubble pop, a foam snit/in the immensities of the sea/at midnight in the dark" - ((24th Chorus) That's pretty vivid - and quite real psychologically)


What else is good? – (49th Chorus) -  “They got nothing on me/ at the university/Them clever poets/of immensity/With charcoal suits/ and charcoal hair/And green armpits/and heaven air/ And cheques to balance/my account/In Rome benighted/by White Russians/Without care who puke/In windows/Everywhere/ They got nothing on me/'Cause I'm dead/They cant surpass me/'Cause I'm dead/And being dead/ I hurt my head/And now I wait /Without hate/For my fate/To estate"  - (So his "fate/To estate"  is now his big monument)….

Allen continues with the 50th Chorus -  (“Maybe I’m crazy, and my parts/Are scattered still - didn't gather/Em when form was passin out…"…"Maybe I'm an Agloon/doomed to be spitted/on the igloo stone/ of Some North mad")  -  (must’ve been high when he wrote that!) -  and the 51st Chorus - ("America is a permissible dream..") - (So..kind of interesting, for nationalist chauvanists) - "America is a permissible dream/Providing you remember ants/Have Americas and Russians/Like the Possessed have Americas/And little Americas are had/ By baby mules in misty fields…"…."Afternoon, when men/gamble and ramble & fuck/and women watch the wash/with one eye on the grocer boy/and one eye on the loon/and one eye/in the universe/in Tathagata's /Transcendental/orb of the balloon" 

  
- and the 54th (Chorus) - "One night in 1941 I was a kid/And ran away from college"…"Once I went to a movie/at midnight, 1940.."…"On both occasions I had wild/Face looking into lights/Of Streets where phantoms/Hastened out of sight/Into Memorial Cello Time" - 
(I always liked that - "Memorial Cello Time" - it's like an old home movie).

So (74th Chorus) - ""Darling!"/Red hot/That kind of camping/I don't object to/unless it's kept/within reason./ "This coffee is delicious"/ This is for Vidal/Didn't know I was / a Come-Onner, did you?/(Come-on-er)/ I am one of the world's/Great Bullshitters,/Girls/  Very High Cantos."


What else? - What else? – oh yes, there’s a very interesting one here from Lowell. His whole point is that (this is) spontaneous writing, (you) let the mind free and what rises you accept and work with and write it down, and if you’re able to do that, actually, you wind up making some kind of sense. So there’s one preliminary (85thh Chorus) – “Do you really need/ the right word/Do you really need/Of course it's all asinine/Forms of asininity/Once & for all/ Mr William Carlos/Wiliams/ Anyway,/An asinine form/which will end/all asininity/from now on/ That's a poem/The poem/Will end/Asininity". 


So the poem that ends asininity is the 97th Chorus, describing his father coming home in Lowell, drinking a beer - "Meanwhile there's my Pa, alone in street,/Coming for supper, under heaven bleak/The trees of March black twigs/Against the red and gory sundown/ That blazed across the River/sinking in the ocean to the East/beyond Salisbury's latest & last/ grain of sand./ Then all's wet underneath, to Eclipse/ (Ivan the Heaven Sea-Ice King, Euclid,/Bloody Be Jupiter, Nucleus/Nuclid, What's  His Name - the sea/ The  sea drang Scholar with mermaids,/Bloody blasted dad flap thorn it/ - N e p p y T u n e -)/All's wet clear in Neptune's Seat/Sensing the aura, the news/Of that frost, my father/Hurries in his Woe Street/Conscious he is a man/Doomed to mortal destiny./"And my poor lil Ti Pousse," -  ["little Jack", my poor little Jack] - "he thinks of me,/"He'll get it too". 

   
That was really interesting. He just improvised whatever came to his mind including the time he got on the tip of his tongue the word “Neptune”, which was on the tip of his tongue, and he couldn’t..  and it sounds like Shakespeare! - "The trees of March black twigs/Against the red and gory sundown/That blazed across the River/sinking in the ocean to the East/beyond Salisbury's latest & last/grain of sand" - (Salisbury is down around here?  yes? - so it makes sense, that word) - "beyond Salisbury's latest & last/grain of sand./ Then all's wet underneath, to Eclipse" - then the parenthesis - "(Ivan the Heaven Sea-Ice King, Euclid,/Bloody Be Jupiter, Nucleus/Nuclid, What's  His Name" - dash "- the sea/ The  sea drang Scholar with mermaids,/Bloody blasted dad flap thorn it/ - N e p p y T u n e"  - N-e-p-p-y-t-u-n-e!  - It’s so much fun, actually. It’s like a jazz musician, you know, skittering around until he gets straight on the tone.   

So that’s Kerouac, I don’t want to go on too long (on) just one, except he’s so…so much a part of late twentieth-century American Literature, and, amazingly, not everybody really knows his work that well. I ran into the actor, Johnny Depp (do you know who that is? anybody? - yeah), who is a Kerouac fan, and who was trying to film reading a couple of Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues, which he knew quite well, and liked a lot. The one that he was favored was from (one of the last ones) if I can find it, like a Shakespeare…yes?  like a Shakespeare sonnet. So all of Kerouac’s pessimism and Catholic horror of the flesh – “The wheel of the quivering meat/ conception.." (211th Chorus)….."Poor! I wish I was free/ of that slaving meat wheel/and safe in heaven dead" – (see how it rises to a climax with ”Poor!”, like real rhythm, real interesting rhythm, and American rhythm,.so that (Bob) Dylan thought that Kerouac.. So this book blew Bob Dylan’s mind. We were in the Edson cemetery here [in Lowell] filming, in 1975, and Dylan picked up Mexico City Blues and started to read from it, and I said..I asked him, how come & what he knew about it, and he said that, oh (that), it was his favorite book of poems, that someone had handed it to him in 1959 in St Paul and it blew his mind. And I said, why?,  and he said, it talked to me, the first book to talk to me, in my own language, American language, and that seems to be Kerouac's power.





to be continued