Cleveland Museum of Art
Phrase level fittings. Giancarlo running through the Mendelssohn for
The umpteenth. And if I were sitting against a lordly tree with a notebook
Reverencing the masterwork—“though it hung off the gallows pole”—
Like that nappy gap-tooth man who stab’d a cocksucker for shouting
“I am the tempest!” and “providing onerous unnecessaries.” Ah, the human
Ungodly beast, bulwark and effacer of us all. Final curtain tragedian.
Coming to the point. A whittler’s discourse. Noncommittal nodding.
And if I were elbow-prop’d and moony against a wisteria’d balustrade
Overlooking a grand oceanic quay where Senegalese boys routinely out-
Manœuvre’d the douaniers. Night’s brisk commerce. Sass-inflect’d way of
Snapping a butt into the street. Dog pawings of sleep. What to construe
In the ruck of scuff’d particulars, what opposing armies to exalt, all of
Us tagalongs, spur tracks, orphans. There’s a story Melville only
Browsed through a book of Emerson’s “in Putnam’s store,” though
Mardi is all plenitude and lack, bold scribbles of trash-
wrack’d genius, holy-loathsome pull’d down out of the Zeitgeist.
And if I were pound numbly. Portuguese concierge. Hôtel Résidence sur la
Lining things up.
Saturday night is when those things that haunt us beyond our speech and the formations of our thoughts suddenly wear a sad aspect that is crying to be seen and noticed all around and we can’t do anything about it and neither could Cody; and to this day he, older and after all this time, goes now haunted in the streets of Saturday night in the American city with his eyes torn out like Oedipus who sees all and sees nothing from the agony of having lived and lived and lived and still not knowing how to conjure from the pitiful world and the folks around some word of praise for something that makes him grateful and makes him cry but remains invisible, aloof, delinquent, complacent, not unkind but just dumb, the street themselves, the things themselves of life and of American life, and the faces and hopes and attempts of the people themselves who with him in gnashing map of earth pronounce vowels and consonants around a nothing, they bite the air, there’s nothing to say because you can’t say what you know, it’s a void, a Demosthenes pebble would have to drop way long down to hit that kind of bottom. [Kerouac’s Visions of Cody, composed c. 1951-52]And:
And even should his start off, his heart that is, on its waltz, in his ear, tralatralay pom pom, again, tralatralay pom pom, re mi re do bang bang, who could reprehend him? Unfortunately we must stick to the facts, for what else is there, to stick to, to cling to, when all founders, but the facts, when there are any, still floating, within reach of the heart, happy expression that, of the heart crying out, The facts are there, the facts are there, and then more calmly, when the danger is past, the continuation, namely, in the case before us, Here there is no wood, nor any stone, or if there is, the facts are there, it’s as if there wasn’t, the facts are there, no vegetables, no minerals, only Worm, kingdom unknown, Worm is there, as it were, as it were. But not too fast, it’s too soon, to return, to where I am, empty-handed, in triumph, to where I’m waiting, calm, passably calm, knowing, thinking I know, that nothing has befallen me, nothing will befall me, nothing good, nothing bad, nothing to be the death of me, nothing to be the life of me, it would be premature. [Beckett’s The Unnamable, 1958 in the Grove Press edition]And:
34 Then with balls swoled up one hung low leaving the action snake no biggern at, Oi, the lone woe of Lee Lucky his basketa pittykats earthquaking peoples balls outa sight & leaving nothing but tremble-under-the-bed, the grace in Orlando turned out to be a gentle wee heatwave & a little shit (O shut up and say it!)And:
35 Sor god denoder pie your pinging lief bring Ida Graymeadow Wolf babe ooo brooding in the is-ness seastand grayog magog bedonigle bedart ooo the day Odin meeteth the Loup Gris, yag, ack, the day ooo dies—The day the gray wolf oatses Odin for his long slackjaw slaver, asurp—When Ida Meadows her long gown camp the Persian disencamps & dusts—When the vision fades from the rough surface of Snorri & Sturla—When Eric Bloodaxe and Harold Fairhair battle for the final blonde on the last Iceland prick rock—When Rodedodo grows Chrysanthemums by the door—When Eugene Bonedown burps—When Hair Redknife snaps the band—When Callicott Cobcorny crashes in motherlip—When Orristander boos—When Whitlip barks—The dog days of Egypt, bow wow wow—When Espinal gives the bull his final ass—When visions of the sea go 152—When Prick Neon’s nailed to me! When Carrie Methodical Divine and the nomad Patzinak steppe bedazzlers (azzle dazzle muffed my gazzle!) the Napoleon fire rings, the slavers of the lip of Richelieu, Mazarin, Colbert, Lisieux, Ourmantelle, Archanciel and Pas D’Enfant kisses my ogly roar go-down seafeet on Oregon Beachie, when trappist divine speaking whistling the window roar borovates to the endless machine hum of endless infinitesimal worldspace oogloomosanical tarpidalisaclna multivantarn go-l-ta pian par music!—grag-ashash!—when burt me-davey-grave hung mine down poles the final lot across the rivie of Buddhas and last Potilic losts flint in the Old Sar, ah me Marva, a flesh carney, ah river a day, ah strikeout, that’s when I’ll bring my lesson to thee, saith window to Me—And I cried “Window, what you mean?” Said window “O listen to the spherical booding moan star music the midnight study the Faust man divel harp in hand, O hum O moan O”
36 The little tit tat tadpole honey tweak of kitty lips on my toosy two toes make me think of dwiddle tingle springs of ditties of childerhood—sang—commanded Eyrdeadan showaps to crail before my fire ping! OOlamona! call the sails, the frog croak eave drip never-rains-but-sweats Florida screenwindow with Avaloki tes var star twarping in my woondow—And did you ever say the wee that nack saw all farding blle on par ton take sick grick clap cat mat cack Mother? No that was a halting burgle—purr—eat & purr be holy kittypee pool in sand of red eyed bat bird insewecties pirking tig toont to Ma tier free curé the school—A long unlearned heavy school noises of piano legs in the smile paradise bed? [Kerouac’s Old Angel Midnight, c. 1956]
Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all doubt all other doubt than that which clings to the labors of men that as a result of the labors unfinished of Testew and Cunnard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labors of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea in a word I resume flying gliding golf over nine and eighteen holes tennis of all sorts in a word for reasons unknown in Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham namely concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown but time will tell fades away I resume Fulham Clapham in a word the dead loss per head since the death of Bishop Berkeley being to the tune of one inch four ounce per head approximately by and large more or less to the nearest decimal good measure round figures stark naked in the stockinged feet in Connemara in a word for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there and considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman it appears what is more much more grave that in the light the light the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman that in the plains in the mountains by the seas by the rivers running water running fire the air is the same and then the earth namely the air and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold alas alas in the year of their Lord six hundred and something the air the earth the sea the earth abode of stones in the great deeps the great cold on sea on land and in the air I resume for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard [Lucky’s speech, Waiting for Godot, 1954 in the Grove Press edition]Sliding around (typing around—there’s an enormous amount to be learn’d about writing by the simplest acts of transcription) a hunch. In the index to Kerouac’s letters, two mentions of Beckett: one (June 7, 1957, to Ginsberg and cohort) refers to “that dumb Rexroth article . . . in New World Writing no. 11 where I’m ‘in his small way’ peer of Céline and Beckett”; the other (September 1960, to Ferlinghetti) postscripts “I’m enjoying Beckett’s books.” I’d consider’d (intend’d) to pull down some flashes of Clark Coolidge, too (particularly out of The Crystal Text for Beckett-echoes), and, uh, didn’t. Et puis, one’d look vainly for evidence of Beckett’s reading Kerouac? I’d put down money he didn’t. And why?