AG: (Jack Kerouac – Mexico City Blues) 42nd Chorus. Well, I’ll tell you, I won’t go through every single one of them in this. Some of them I’ll just read for the sound because some of them are just fun. I’ll read this one without making comment, unless anybody got any questions
POEM WRITTEN ON A SAILBOAT/ It’s a powerful sock powerful/ Mock powerful breeze blowin/ Across this leeward shirsh/ Of fought waters thrashin/ Up to spit on the deck/
Of Heroing Man,/Ash, as we sail the jibboom/ Upon the va va voom/ And Saltpeter’s her petter/ Again, the Larceny Commission’ll/ Hear of this, fight the lawyers,/Upset the silly laws, anger/ the/ hare/ brain/ bird/ of/ wine/ In his railroad tam o shanter/ Commemorative termagant/ Able to dissect such tycoon/ Burpers outa their B Movies’/ Investment in Black.
‘Bop’/ Even on a sailboat/ I end up writin bop
So I guess it’s just bebop sounds and he says, “Even on a sailboat/I end up writin bop.”
Mexico City Bop/ I go the huck bop/ I got the floogle mock/ I got the thiri chiribim/ bitchy bitchy bitchy/ batch bath/ Chippely bop/ Noise like that/ Like fallin off porches/ Of Tenement Petersburg/ Russia Chicago O Yay/ Like, when you see,/the trumpet kind, horn/
shiny in his hand, raise/ it in smoke among heads/ he bespeaks, elucidates,/ explains and drops out,/ end of chorus, staring/ at the final wall/ where in Africa/ the old men petered
out on their own account/using their own Immemorial/ Salvation Mind/ SLIPPITY BOP
Is that clear? It’s pretty clear. He’s talking about poetry and comparing his poetry. Or talking about the particular gay rhythm he has at the moment – ‘huck bop’, “floogle mop” – except the “floogle mop” was just one of the bebop sounds. And he says “floogle mock.” huck bop/… floogle mock.” So he’s just making little bebop sounds. And making that “chirichiribim”– you know “Chirichiribim” – the song? – [Editorial note – Allen seems to be referring here to “Italian Street Song”, which Jeanette MacDonald sang in the 1935 film version of the operetta, “Naughty Marietta“] Well, there was an old, not pop song but an Italian or Neopolitan bel canto soprano song that Jeannette MacDonald…. … Pagliacci and “O Sole Mio”… and it’s one of the things that real high soprano….
AG: Yeah, there’s an old Italian song. I mean, it’s a classical Italian song rather than just an American radio song of the Thirties.
So he says, “I got the thiri chiribim/ bitchy bitchy bitchy/ batch bath” – (That’s his little parody of that) – “I got the thiri chiribim/ bitchy bitchy bitchy/ batch bath/ Chippely bop/ Noise like that/ Like fallin off porches/ Of Tenement Petersburg/ Russia Chicago O Yay” – (People so happy they’re dropping, falling off porches, singing).
Then he compares it again to the slightly more … well, this is a change of mood, actually, to real serious. He’s saying that the great trumpeters, like Roy Eldridge of their day, or horn players, like earlier Charlie Parker, did actually raise their trumpets of annunciation and bespeak and elucidate and explain and then got, like (Percy Bysshe) Shelley, disillusioned and dropped out at the “end of chorus, staring/at the final wall”- the wall of the world, the final wall of time or the final wall of their lives. And that final wall (is) usually a red brick wall like midnight when everybody’s vomiting drunk on Saturday – they wanted to have a good time and they wind up in the back of the alley behind the movie or the poolhall throwing up, looking at the red glare on the red brick wall – (that) is a basic image in Visions of Cody and also for Denver, actually, in the Denver alleys in Visions of Cody and Mexico City Blues . But here he’s saying – “at the final wall/ where in Africa/ the old men petered/ out on their own account/ using their own Immemorial/Salvation Mind/ SLIPPITY BOP” – (“SLIPPITY BOP.” You’ve seen pictures of old Afric men sitting by a wall, doing nothing, meditating, staring) – ” … petered/ out …/ using their own Immemorial/ Salvation Mind”, he says. So he doesn’t see it as a dreary scene – as now people can admire the old American Indian elder sitting doing nothing and realize that he’s in full consciousness actually rather than just an old fart sitting by a wall, can’t do nothing. But the young brave will come up and ask for some advice. So he’s saying, “using their own Immemorial Salvation Mind” -“Immemorial” – was never written down even but you can’t remember where it began, that old men were wise and silent sitting by a wall. “SLIPPITY BOP.”
Audio for the above can be heard here beginning at approximately forty-four-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty minutes in