Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ah, read it twice...

I was amazed, and at the same time I felt it was ridiculous: in my first shot at the West I was seeing to what absurd devices it had fallen to keep its proud tradition.

God's empty chair

He starts the first chorus, then lines up his ideas, people, yeah, yeah, but get it, and then he rises to his fate and has to blow equal to it. All of a sudden somewhere in the middle of the chorus he gets it - everybody looks up and knows; they listen; he picks it up and carries. Time stops.

Now you just dig them up front. They have worries, they're counting the miles, they're thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they'll get there - and all the time they'll get there anyway, you see. But they need to worry and betray time with urgencies false and otherwise, purely anxious and whiny, their souls really won't be at peace unless they can latch on to an established and proven worry and having once found it they assume facial expressions to fit and go with it, which is, you see, unhappiness, and all the it all flies by them and they know it and that too worries them no end.

By this time Dean was so exhausted and out of his mind that everything he saw delighted him

I realized I was beginning to cross and recross towns in America as though I were a traveling salesman - raggedy travelings, bad stock, rotten beans in the bottom of my bag of tricks, nobody buying.

He looked more like himself huddling in the cold, misty spray of the rain on empty Madison Avenue at night.

The muddy cobbles and the Montana logs, the broken steamboats, the ancient signs, the grass and the ropes by the river. The endless poem.

He's on his way already ... Suddenly I had a vision of Dean, a burning shuddering frightful Angel, palpitating toward me across the road, approaching like a cloud, with enormous speed, pursuing me like the Shrouded Traveler on the plain, bearing down on me. I saw his huge face over the plains with the mad, bony purpose and the gleaming eyes; I saw his wings; I saw his old jalopy chariot with thousands of sparking flames shooting out from it; I saw the path it burned over the road; it even made its own road and went over the corn, through cities, destroying bridges, drying rivers. ... Behind him charred ruins smoked. He rushed westward over the groaning and awful continent again, and soon he would arrive.

Sal, I am digging the interiors of these homes as we pass them - these gone doorways and you look inside and see beds of straw and little brown kids sleeping and stirring to wake, their thoughts congealing from the empty mind of sleep, their selves rising, and the mothers cooking up breakfast in iron pots, and dig them shutters they have for windows and the old men, the old men are so cool and grand and not bothered by anything.

"D'you think I can ride to Fortieth Street with you?" he whispered. "Want to be with you as much as possible, m'boy, and besides it's so durned cold in this here New Yawk.."

1 comment:

Kehla said...

By the way - the scroll exhibit will be at the IMA until late September. When will you be coming through Indy again? I'll make sure to have the day open so we can run around. Also, you must visit the new library with me - it's a bookworm's dreeeeam. Then we can cross the street and have wonderful tea at the Abbey.