Jack Kerouac, railroad brakeman’s rule-book in pocket, couch pillows airing on fire-escape overlooking backyard clotheslines, south view three flights up, my apartment 206 East 7th Street between Ave B and Ave C, Lower East Side Manhattan. He’d completed On The Road,Visions of Cody, Dr.Sax &’d begun Book of Dreams and Pic, was in midst Subterraneans affair with “Mardou Fox”, that novel completed some year along with the romance Maggie Cassidy. Burroughs then in residence edited Yage Letters & Queer Mss. Gregory Corso visited that season. Probably September 1953
“Dear Allen – 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 got up to yell. “What was that for? What’s going on up there? What did 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 this 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 (ain’t 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…”
(Jack Kerouac in New York to Allen Ginsberg in Paterson, New Jersey, January 13, 1950, from Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg – The Letters – edited by Bill Morgan & David Stanford (2010)
Ti-Jean – American icon – Safe (now) in Heaven Dead – Happy 100th Birthday!