Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg November 1957

Jack Kerouac reading at The Village Vanguard, December 1957. Photo – (c) Phillip A Harrington

Another Ginsberg letter today – this one to Allen (dated November 30, 1957 – sixty years ago today) from Jack Kerouac in Orlando, Florida to Allen in Paris.  Jack confesses he’s drunk, and broke, but writing up a storm (writing Dharma Bums) and looking toward the future.

Dear Allen.  Your poem [“Kaddish’] very beautiful, especially “eyes of Ma Rainey dying in an ambulance” (why don’t you spell it “aumbulance” which would mean aum-vehicle…)…well, and Greg’s [Gregory Corso’s]  “sweetly in sun-arch”  [sic] indeed amazing….I’m very drunk as I write this, forgive. I too have a thousand new poems but I’m tired and too tired to send you some…..later. I’m going to NY in three weeks to appear twice a night at the Village Vanguard nightclub to read my prose starting with Road and later I’ll stick in Visions and Pomes...at plenty money a week I’ll do it and if this doesn’t make me a drunk, nothing ever will, actually I look skeptically towards this advenure but the money is necessary. Holly(wood) ain’ buying my book probably at all. Brando is a shit, doesn’t answer letter from greatest writer in America and he’s only a piddling king’s clown of the stage, I bugged, so your $225 I’ll send as soon as I can probably December or January  when I get royalties, don’t worry, and it’ll be your return fare security anyway. Like you paid my way across to the other shore, I’ll pay your way back. Without movie sales  only really have not much more than T & C (The Town and the City) loot, which is a shame. You guys were all het up about nothing. I be bhikku till  day I die. But I hope to meet producers et al as nightclub performer and I will come on like a cool SOUND MUSICIAN, like Miles Davis and not drink too much  hope. I’ll be living at Henry Cru‘s pad which is 307 West 113th Street, in three weeks. (Paul) Carroll at Chicago Review askt me send him stuff I sent “Lucien Midnight” poems (new ones you didn’t see,, wrote em last night in fact) and other poems. Jay Laughlin is going to do a selected edition of  Visions of Neal, maybe one hundred pages, of best prose, in fancy $7.50 thin volume private edition, he says to begin with,, is very nice and polite in letters and sent me little brochure of his really most excellent poems. He’s a very good poet. I am afraid of this coming New York trip but I was getting fat and bored down here. I’ll probably end up in the Bowery this trip but as Esperanza used to say I DUNT CARE. No, Gregory, I won’t go cry on Lucien‘s floor, Lucien makes me laugh happily, Lucien is my brother. I’ll this time find Laff [Lafcadio Orlovsky] and take him under my tutelage when he hits town. With loot from the Vanguard I’ll buy oils and paint more holy pictures of Virgin Mary my mother and your mother, mother. I am vast endless nakedheaded giant cloud making no sense even to members of the nut ward, wha a fate for a simple football player! I got a nutward letter from a certain B.Zemble and I’m sending him back a spontaneous poem so crazy Gregory would flip over it, in which I say, “science statement is million years over owned by pens as treacherous as Aga Arnold of Good Day Biddy Father Uptown – see? I’m.a fool! I love reverse! I got hidden Moo-Flutes in my horn cow. I did it dad because I good it money – I am Governor President!” – etc, and it ends with :My conscience is all snow. Ib fact my conscience is coldspot”.    In other words I have discovered Gregory’s secret because I’m so smart and crazy. But I don’t care. I’m rather good novelist now, my in-progress work is The Dharma Bums about Gary (Snyder) and 1955 and 56 in Berkeley and Mill Valley and is really bettern On The Road, if I can only stay sober enuf to finish it now that I know I’m going to make a big fool of myself with evil Gilbert Millsteins in New York. If I can swing the sale of Road to movies, on this jaunt, . Brando may come and dig me in nightclub. I’ll make a trust fund and disappear on Zen Lunacy Road and you can all join me. That’s my purpose in this blear deed. “All of Medieval Europe in a Shakespeare inch”, I wrote last night, where says “Poor perdu! thin helm!” Wow. Also I’m reading Don Quixote which is probably most sublime work of any man ever lived, thank God of Spain! All living creatures are Don Quixote of course, since living is illusion. Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho  ha ha aha woeieield..! “k3738#%#”(s&  So I’ll send your money soon, All, don’t worry, Alle ubers, ober and did you get the letter I sent you to mail to Burroughs a month ago? Well I’ll write later. I am bugged and sad and mad and writing a great novel, The Dharma Bums, wow, wait’ll they read that one!  How great Gary is in it, and Whalen…you’ll see. Meanwhile, all I gotta say is: We’re all going to die. Neal don’t write. Neal great. Neal says “Ha! I shall now succumb to victory” as he plays chess with me, satirizing where I’d said to him I let him win chess games because I a bodhisattva….I wrote great play about Neal, too, which was mentioned in Herald Trib(une) and now four producers reading it, but it’s woefully short, but that’s alright you sweet daddies please pray that I can join you in Paris in April because I want to embrace you, poor Perdue. Well this is John the Roi saying, Don’t step on the candy gal

Joh(n) Perdu

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