On Mexico City Blues (18th Chorus)

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues continues from here

AG: Okay, next one, (18th) continuing on the mind:

‘The bottom of the repository/ human mind/   The Kingdom of the Mind,/The Kingdom has come./  It’s the only thing you got free,/the Mind/  Per Se Williams, the critic/and author..”

Now, he’s referring to William Carlos Williams and he’s talking about literary theory, or 20th century composition – “Per Se Williams, the critic/and author…” –

Then, a  break in the stanza.  Presumably Williams or some American author “Slept in a rainbow” – “Slept in a rainbow/When he discovered/the perfect accommodation/of Universal Mind/in its active aspect/  You’ll have a Period of Golden Age/Restitution of Loss/I’ve had all I can Eat/ Revisiting Russet towns/Of long ago/On carpets of bloody sawdust.”

That’s strictly for a Tennessee voice again!

“I’ve had all I can Eat/ Revisiting Russet towns/Of long ago/On carpets of bloody sawdust” – (“Russet” – we had the russet before but russet, I imagine, sunset,  Decline of the West  So there’s a little (Oswald) Spengler in there –  “You’ll have a Period of Golden Age/Restitution of Loss.”

The first four lines, though, actually explain what went previous – “The bottom of the repository/ human mind/   The Kingdom of the Mind,/The Kingdom has come”

– “It’s the only thing you got free,/ the Mind/  Per Se Williams, the critic/ and author..”

I think he was being a little kidding about Williams there – that Williams tried to tie things down, as I do somewhat, to objective reality as the basis of the poems, because Kerouac here is taking off completely from objective description and detailed long description and one-to-one relationship between the words and something you can see outside, and here he’s combining it in a kind of Surrealist Mind Kingdom babble.  But he’s also saying that it’s available to anybody, and anybody’s mind is like that – (to Student) like you said yours is.

Is there anybody whose mind is not like this?  Or doesn’t have aspects of that in their mind of continuous gabble, babble, and cross-reference and idiot whimpering and witticisms?  It seems universal to me.  It sounded  like my own mind, somehow.  And I think most people finally, reading Kerouac’s swifter things, later works, do get a glimpse maybe into his consciousness but a consciousness which is like anybody’s consciousness.  So basically saying anybody’s consciousness, if you could be the stenographer, would make great poetry and would be understandable in some way or other.

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-eight minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-one minutes in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.