Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dear Allen                                                                                  
                                                      January 13,1950
                                              New York,  New York

      Tonight while walking on the waterfront in the angelic streets I suddenly wanted to tell you how wonderful I think you are. Please don't dislike me. What is the mystery of the world?  Nobody knows they're angels.   Gods angels are ravishing and fooling me.  I saw a whore and an old man in  a lunchcart, and God  -- their faces!  I wondered what God was up to.   In the subway I almost jumped up to yell, "What  was that for?  What's going on up there?  What do you mean by that?"  Jesus, Allen,  life ain't worth  the candle,  we all  know it , and almost everything is wrong, but there's nothing we can do about  it, and living is heaven.
      Well, here we are in heaven. This is what heaven is like. Also in the subway I suddenly shuddered, for a crack had opened, like cracks open in the ground when there's an earthquake, only this crack opened in the air, and I saw pits.  I was suddenly no longe an angel, but a shuddering devil.
      Mainly, I  wanted to tell  you how dearly  I regard your soul, and value your existence,  and  wish  for your  recognition of my heart's desire, in short, I admire and love you and  consider you a great man always.   Let me boast a moment in order to give value to this, for what good is regard from a dunce, a spook, an elephant or a chocolate drop:  My English editor, (ain't met him yet) sent Giroux a postcard showing picture of the antique Counting House in their firm, and said, "Place looks exactly like it did when we published Goldsmith & Johnson.  Please tell  Kerouac he is in  good  company and  what  is more, is  worthy of it."
      A beat American kid from a milltown, me, is now side by side with  Goldsmith & Johnson.  Isn't it strange historically?  if not actually?  Let us get on  with the mystery of the world.
      For instance, why do I write you this note in spite of the fact that that I'll  see you tomorrow  night?--and  live  in  the same city with you.  Why is everybody like Sebastian in  the  record, stammering, stumbling at the end,  fainter and fainter  with  all  the scratching, saying,  "So  long,  Jack old boy...take it  easy, please...goodbye...old friend...see you soon,  I guess...goodbye...take care of yourself,  now...farewell...I  guess...'bye...so long...goodbye old man."  Most people spend their lives saying that to their best friends;  they're always  putting  on their coats and leaving, and saying goodnight, and going down the street,  and turning to wave a last time...Where they go?
      Let me tell you what the Archangel is going to do.   At a big Walter Adams party, or a Cannastra party,  the Archangel is suddenly going to appear in a blinding  flash of white  light, among  actual waterfalls of honey-light also,  and everybody  will  keep still while the  Archangel, with its voice, speaks.  We  will see, hear, and shudder.  Behind  the archangel we will see that Einstein is all wrong about  enclosed  space...there will be endless space, infinities of  Celestial Vine,  and all  the gores of the mires below, and joyful  singing of  angels  mingling  with  the  shudders of devils.   We'll  see that  everything  exists.  For the first  time we'll  realize that its all alive,  like baby  turtles, and moves in  the middle of  the night  at a  party...and the archangel is  going to tell  us off.  Then clouds of cherubs will fall, mingled with satyrs and whatnots and  spooks.  If  we were not  haunted  by the mystery, we wouldn't realize nothing.

Dear Jack:                                                 
                                              January 21,50
                                       Paterson Midnight      

      The Letter  of the Archangel  was received  here but unfortunately my father misplaced it and it can't be found.   He did not do it  purposely.  We  spent a long time looking.  I told him not to worry.
      I  was sick and vomited last time we were at Neal's and when I rose in the morning you grabbed the bed.  I was weak on my knees and still sick and that was why I was so  avaricious to get back into bed.   I felt so lousy I was willing to exasperate you.  I remember you got stuck on the  chair but what  could  I do?  I hope you are still  not angry.
      I went  to  a  party last  night--a  sweet  sixteen  party for my  sister  Sheila-- and was a wallflower half  the night  except for a  few moments when I danced  with some teen age girls, and the end of the  night when  I got  drunk with  my step  brother ( who thought  everybody at the  party was "phony") and  told  him tales  about Dakar  witch  doctors and New Orleans whorehouses.  I was surprised  by the boys there--most  of  them  sharply dressed poker  playing frat brothers, all  full of  experience and sensuality  more  mature than  my  own.   I began  to feel so miserable  that I  almost  left feeling no  reason for my  own  existence--like  a  cockroach--till  harold (my step  brother) wandered in late with a frown of anger and looked  at  the crowd of  necking  couples and cursed them all up and down for a bunch of  phony slobs.  Ah, me!  I began sheepishly asking him  what was  wrong, were they really nowhere or was I and he nowhere.   He insisted it was  them and we  got drunk after  that.  After awhile  he began  insulting all the young  girls who  came  though the  kitchen where we were drinking, calling them whores, and spilling water on their dresses ( down their bosoms).   I  had  a  feeling  all the people noticed me  and  asked who was that jerk.  O Paterson, what crucifixions do I not  suffer for love of thee?  I hope someday to become familiar with  them all  and  accepted when I have earned the  honor.  The reason I want to return home is to suffer fully the  abyss between myself  and my  generation and  home and   understand the years that have separated us and go back and  learn  to  live unselfconsciously  with my people.  So far I am Francis in the attic.   I am amazed how  much I think of him  and how true  he is;  but I am Francis after his own death  returned to life  with another chance to be  humiliated and not reject the  humiliation.  (Your novel was a world that is dead, and the characters are still alive walking through the same labyrinth on the other side of death, which is the last page of the written book.)
      When I slept last  night I dreamed  a dream.   I  had just left  Henry Street and was looking for   Bill.    We had  no appointment to meet with each other, because we thought that  the world  was dead,  and didn't knowwhat we would have to tell each other.   But we knew that we would meet with  each other  somewhere in New York.  It would  be a casual  meeting, and  very short:  he would  have  business, and  I would go  on to a movie, though we hadn't seen each other in a long  time.    While  I  walked down the street toward  Eighth Ave. I looke  at  the sky, and there I saw an  eastern auroral halo, as  from  the moon.   And  I turned  and  I looked  to the  west, and  I beheld a halo  in the sky on  the  opposite  half  of  the  sphere.  Each  of  the  two  halos was a  dim circular light exactly  similar, far up in the heavens,  and yet  large enough  to cover a piece of the night equal to  the size of  ten  moons.    After I saw this, I wished that  Bill was there and hoped that he saw it  wherever in  the city he  was.   I couldn't find  him on  the Avenue, nor could I find the bars between  42-43St., then  I  discovered I was on Seventh Avenue not Eighth Avenue.  I went  to Eighth Avenue, and  tried to  find  him , but it was too late, he had gone, and not waited for me.
      This dream is like one that I once had and dimly remember when  I was lost on an unknown vast subway system, and was  looking  for a home-pad in  Brooklyn.

       I am beginning  to get  a touch of  just how strange  and actually sordid the atmosphere here  is among  those who run the city officially.  But perhaps that is just out of the hassle of trying  to hustle a job  that involves "responsibility".   Most people here  who seem to be at all sensitive or powerful or rich  seem  to live lives  and think thoughts dominated  by the smallest sounding (to an outsider) fears  for social security  and business position.  Friendship  is actually  political.  I would not generalize so but these are just  he  impressions of the weekend surface scratching done with no axe to  grind (not even aesthetic that is while I was in  action I  did not think how  mean  it was of  the  paper to refuse a minor job to their  frustrated  genius)  and the real actual  degradation  of personality and  love and  work, the cruelty of the system--the system as an actual horrible machine to be felt and suffered in the middle, watching people lie and cheat each other staggering  their own imaginations and  mine for its reality--makes me wonder if  it turns out to be true,what will happen to me here.   Perhaps  I shall  actually  be crucified  after all.  If  what I am beginning to suspect is true it will be just like rolling off a  log. If  it is true Lucien  can't see because he is on top, not  in the grass  roots.  Everybody is sick at heart at home and full of blatant terrorist machinery.   In some south sea islands they have cruel puberty rites, because the old  men are so evil,  and, not  that they  want to  hurt the young, but they want  to  teach them a lesson in one complete formal explosion without individual  humiliation.
      I am beginning to wonder how evil  the world is again. I thought that by accepting chaos it  would make everything all  right.
      I took Varda ( the Assyrian looking  girl at Simpson's)  out on  a date  last  weekend and  she  introduced me to her best girlfriend and made supper  at her house (the girlfriend , who gave me a painting she made).  I guess I will see her mostly for a while, of the run  of  females I  know.  I wish  I could  meet a really gone sweet girl who could  love me.   But I  guess a really gone sweet girl is too much to expect.
      Why is everything so hard?
      The last lines  of Orwell's 1984 are stubborn self-willed exile from the loving  breast!  "But  it  was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory  over himself.  He  loved  Big Brother."
      Leave word  with Solomon or someone accessible where you will be this weekend.  I will try to be around.
      I turned to write to you in respite from the ugliness of the last days, archangel.

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