Allen Ginsberg on Vanity of Duluoz – 13

Ginsberg on Kerouac continues from here

AG: Then the next page, 125 after all that, short chapter of pure babble,  well, ok – “None of the adolescent scribblings of that time I kept in journals’ll do us now” – (So now he’s gotta write something interesting, right now, as prose now, now).  So the next chapter is a series of, a sort of very playful series of, one-sentence paragraphs (I mean, it’s really a totally, like a, spontaneously playful book  (if you can see it here, I don’t know, at any distance). Whether you read it or not, it’s simply, from that Joycean Angel Midnight babble, he decided, “Well now I”ll write a series of exactly perfect sentence paragraphs, maybe they might won’t  make any sense, but..

“In our case it meant five hundred dollars if we got back safe and free and that was a lot of money in nineteen forty two-ee” – (next paragraph) – “the barefooted Indian deckhand toured every foc’sle at dusk to make sure the  portholes were  closed and secured. He had a dagger in his belt” –  (next paragraph) – “Two Negro cooks had a big fight in the galley at midnight over gambling, that I didn’t see, where they swung huge butcher’s knives at each other  – (next paragraph)  – “a little Moro chieftain turned third cook, with small neck, swiveled and shriveled when he turned to see..He had the biggest knife of them all in his belt , a first-degree Swamee machete from old Mindanao.” next paragraph) – “The pastry cook  was advertised as gay and they said he belted off his guns into the mixings for all of us to enjoy” –  (next paragraph)  “In the steward’s linen department, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, member of the Abraham Lincoln leftwing anti-Fascist Brigade tried to make a Communist out of me” – (next paragraph) – “The chief steward had no more use for me than a piece of foam on the sea hath use for him or me or anybody”

Well, so its just a funny playfulness there – paragraphs one line each.It’s a variety of .. you can do anything.  In prose you can do anything,  as long as you’re doing it, as long as you’re  there and you’re doing it , you can do anything, at least if you.. You can make.. You don’t have to fit into anybody’s rules. It doesn’t even have to make sense. you don’t have to make a story, as long as you are so grounded and so there that you’re demonstrating the, you know, the delight of mind, or dissolution of mind, whatever , emptiness of mind. It’s a demonstration of the emptiness of mind, the emptiness of art – so accomplished that it’s completely empty and you can do anything you want. It doesn’t make any difference, I had that labelled as playful short paragraphs

But every once in a while he has such great phrasing – it’s like high poetry:

“Boy we didn’t like each other. – (this is on page 135) – “I went to second mate asking to be transferred to deck but they refused. I was trapped in a steel jail floating in the icy oceans of the Arctic Circle, and a slave at last” (a funny supposition) – “I was trapped..’ (he’s on a ship galley) – “I was trapped in a steel jail floating in the icy oceans of the Arctic Circle, and a slave at last”.

It’s a funny little vision  I mean, everybody has visions of themselves in some ultimate finality moment of today or yesterday. It’s a sort of little acme vision of trapped on a steel. ail “floating  in the icy oceans of the Arctic Circle, and a slave at last.” So he got into that, So he was able to, like, could see himself in that role.

and on 138 – he had a funny exaggerative phraseology for… women sometimes   – “Duke and I  headed the opposite way from the rest of the guys who were headed for the Eskimo settlement, it was not long before we had joined in a discussion on mountainclimbing as being more immediate than trying to lay some old blubber-smeared monster so we decided.  to go..”  – “some old blubber-smeared monster”, an Eskimo girl,  I suppose, some  Eskimo girl that the other crew members were going after,  a “blubber-smeared monster” ! – [ Editorial note – it need hardly be noted that Kerouac’s account is both sexist and racist!]  no,  just that phrase was great!

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-one-and-a-quarter minutes on and concluding at approximately seventy-five-and-three-quarter minutes in 

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