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. God’s 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 that crack opened in the air, and I saw pits. I was suddenly no longer 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 (aint met him yet) sent G [Robert 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 mill town, 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 I’ll see you tomorrow night? – and live in the same city with you. Why is everybody like Sebastian (Sampas) 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 (Bill) 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 the joyful singing of angels mingling with the shudders of devils. We’ll see that everything exists. For the first time we’ll realize that it’s 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 of the world, we wouldn’t realize nothing.
It’s Jack Kerouac’s birthday today, March 12. He would be ninety-seven.
Happy Birthday, Jack!