Sunday, July 17, 2011

April 1948
Saturday Night
Ozone Park

Dear Allen......

P..S The thing I like about Van Doren is this:  he was the only professor I personally knew at Columbia who had the semblance of humility without pretensions-- the semblance, but to me deeply, the reality of humility too.  A kind of sufferingly earnest humility like you imagine old Dickens or old Dostoevsky having later in their lives.
Also he's a poet, a "dreamer" and a moral man.  The moral man part of it is my favorite part.
This is the kind of man whose approach to life has the element in it of a moral proposition.
Either the proposition was made to him or he made it to himself, to life.
See?   My kind of favorite man.
I have never been able to show these things to anyone from a fear of seeming hypocritical rather than sympathetic or simpatico.

October 19, 1948

Dear Jack...

"To find the western path,
Right through the gates of wrath
I urge my way:
Sweet morning leads me on,
With soft repentant moan,
I see the break of day."

This is the moment of death.
This is the nectar whereof each one tells.
This is why Lucien sadly hits himself over the head
with a frying pan at dawn, he has never done it.
I have not yet.
Yes for fuck all this, I am crazy.
All this  is raving babbling, I am I talk and read and write and the circle of destiny narrows and closes around me:
die, go mad,
what you think now is mad is real love and sane.
Die, go "mad" This is schizoid.
I am so monomaniacal in my preoccupation with this moment of will.

I think what I say is true in one way or another, though you can't understand it, I think because I have not made myself clear.
Perhaps I could have said all this by saying, of your letter,  I understand what you are saying , more or less.
I understand because not that I am smart, but that you have actually understood what you were writing.
I heard what you were saying.
I did not understand fully because you were not clear enough , because you were beginning to understand but it was not complete you yet.
When it becomes more complete, I will understand more.
Don't say that it never becomes complete because what I am saying is that is just the whole point, even of you, that it can be complete.
All green.     Abandon everything else.

February 1952
San Francisco

Dear Allen...

the value of your mind
is in its spontaneity, it has no other.
Considered thought is for existential generals
who love battles anyway
and for Spenglerian  high late men
who are all embroiled in squadrons of bureaucracy
and expensive cuckoldry in midtown funny cocktail blahs.

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