Beats

Beats

and so it began


“and so it began on a couch with a spilled martini
and it ended in the bedroom: desire, revolution,
nonsense ended, and the shades rattled in the wind…”
Charles Bukowski, Burning In Water Drowning In Flame



It was a joy!




“It was a joy! Words weren’t dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.”—      Charles Bukowski



What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road


The word Beatnik

The word Beatnik was created by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen in his column of April 2, 1958.” Caen was later quoted, “I coined the word ‘beatnik’ simply because Russia’s Sputnik satellite was aloft at the time and the word popped out.”


Breathless (Godard, 1960)

Photos: Revisiting Love on the Left Bank



By Patti SmithPhotographs by Ed van der Elsken

Ed van der Elsken’s classic photo-novel Love on the Left Bank (1954) has just been reissued. Singer-songwriter and artist Patti Smith recalls her first encounter with the book—and with the woman whose image runs through it.
In the summer of 1967, at 20 years old, I boarded a bus in Philadelphia and headed to New York City. Only moments before, I had found a battered copy of Love on the Left Bank sitting on a sale table outside a used-book stall, across from the bus station. Attracted to anything French, I opened it and was greeted by a dark and intriguing café scene on the grittier side of the City of Light. It was Jack Kerouac, Parisian-style. I was especially captivated by the image of a girl, the likes of whom I had never seen before. She was Vali Myers, the Beatnik gypsy mystical witch who reigned over the rain-soaked streets. With her wild hair, kohl-rimmed eyes, loose raincoat, and cigarette, she offered herself with abandon and self-containment. She mirrored what I aspired to aesthetically—to be unconscious of style, yet style itself. Her subterranean world seemed emblematic of all I hoped to attain: in a word, freedom. These images, shot in the 50s by Ed van der Elsken, melded the documentary with art. I carried them within me as I ventured into new territory and a new life.
In 1971 the same Vali Myers, with a live fox on her shoulder, entered the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, in New York, where I lived with Robert Mapplethorpe. She was then a tattooist, among other things. Recognizing the girl in the rain-pitted mirror, I gathered my courage and asked her to tattoo a lightning bolt on my knee, and she consented. And so she touched me first as an image and then as a human being, and I am happily branded for life. I still have my tattoo, and those images of an unobtainable but brutally familiar nightlife. They have always been with me, for they are, like Vali herself, unforgettable.


The facsimile edition of Love On the Left Bank is published by Dewi Lewis on April 11, 2011.

























A Life in Beat Poetics

A Life in Beat Poetics

by 

Glenn A. Bruce




MaryRose and Paul Carroll, 1977


   Chicago poet and Beat Generation enabler Paul Carroll believed that poetry could change one’s life. He said this because poetry changed his own life in 1949 when he first encountered James Joyce’s Ulysses—and couldn’t understand it. Was it prose? Was it fiction? What did it mean? The only thing he knew for sure was that from that moment on, his life would be different.

   And it was.

   Carroll wrote and published several highly regarded books of poetry, won prestigious
awards, and taught many young Chicagoans the lasting importance of poetry in their lives. He also predicted, in 1956, that he had “exactly 39-years left.” He was exactly right. He died in 1996.

   Paul’s second wife MaryRose—an artist herself, creator of award-winning very large metal sculptures—was at his side for the 20-years leading up to that moment. Nearly two decades later, Maryrose is just finishing a book about her late husband and his important contributions to poetry, literature, and First Amendment freedom of expression. I sat down with Maryrose at a Panera Bread Company table, recently, to hear her story. Nearly two hours later, I left impressed, sad, happy, and—dare I say—more interested in Beat poetry than ever.

  Paul Carroll is known as a tipping-point kind of guy—a man who braved a New World of repression at the end of the seemingly calm Fifties by daring to print the “salacious” and “dangerous” writings of William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. But to those who knew him, he was a kind and sweet—If troubled—man who loved poetry above all else.

   Except his family—and love itself.

   In a taped interview a short time before his death, Paul said that he would most like to be remembered by his son and wife as “a fairly decent guy.” His warmth shines through, along with his ongoing curiosity for and appreciation of life.

   In that way, Paul Carroll was the perfect poet—the model for what all poets should be, that to which they should aspire. Yet, he was not a lecturer in the normal sense. Stories have accrued over the decades of his pronounced lack of structure-training, of his evasions of prosody in favor of sheer enthusiasm for poetry and what it could do, its potential, its pleasure, and its perfection as a means to communicate true emotion to humans.

   Yet, even though Carroll praised Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson as America’s
greatest poets, the writers he championed were the likes of Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, and Creeley—the beating hearts of the Beat Generation.

   MaryRose met Paul at a Chicago art gallery in 1977. He proposed a week later—how
romantic is that?—and they remained together until his death of cancer in 1996, at the age of 69. He left behind a trove of poetry written in his clear and unique voice, as well as a literary landscape littered with great stories about him and his exploits.

   After contemplating these big tales for a decade or more, MaryRose decided it was time to celebrate her husband in a book about his life and times. She is just finishing the book, which is currently being edited by one of his former students, Dan Campion, in Iowa City. Ironically, while working on the book, Dan and Maryrose discovered they had grown up one block apart in Chicago. She is hoping to publish the book through the University of Chicago Press, since that university has archived all of Paul’s work—poems, books, lectures, papers, articles—and most important, original copies of Big Table, his groundbreaking magazine, published in 1959.

The one that landed him in court.

   The story goes that Paul, as a former student then, was one of the editors of the university’s Chicago Review, along with Irving Rosenthal. When they chose to publish excerpts from William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, the university decided that Paul and Irving should leave.

   They did—and started their own literary magazine.

   It didn’t have a name yet; but at a casual meeting with Jack Kerouac, whose work Old
Angel Midnight, they also planned to published, Kerouac famously suggested a napkin-note he had made to himself about inclusiveness. He had scribbled: “We need a bigger table.” Thus came one of the most significant titles in the history of American free press. Big Table was born.

   But it didn’t get far.

   A Chicago reviewer called it “filthy” and a court agreed. The Post Office seized 400 copies of Big Table before it could be sent out, and a longer court battle ensued. Ironically, the same judge who would later hear the trial of the legendary Chicago Eight (later, reduced to Seven), Judge Julius Hoffman, heard the case against Paul Carroll in appeal, and ruled that the material was “not obscene.”

   Big Table went on to publish one more groundbreaking issue, for a total of only five, then folded. But those issues and that ruling changed American publishing forever, paving the way for braver, uncensored writing.

   Paul Carroll was an American hero in that movement, if a humble and unlikely one.

   MaryRose Carroll has captured his life in vivid detail in her book Beats Me: Love, Poetry, Censorship and why Allen Ginsberg Called Me a ‘Horse’s Ass,” a moving, inside-look at how Paul Carroll worked, thought, and lived—from his early days as the adoring son of a wealthy, kind banker-father who died when Paul was young to his self-admitted “lazy” years in the military, his discovery of poetry in college on the G.I. Bill, his controversial publishing of Big Table and beyond, to his death.

   Along the way, MaryRose recounts many wild and telling stories of encounters with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who really made Big Table possible), Jack Kerouac, and one of Paul’s best friends, national Poet Laureate James Dickey—a well-known Southern hard-drinking hell-raiser and close friend until the end. MaryRose’s memories of Dickey’s last kind letter to her, just after Paul’s death, is touching and tells a different story of their sometimes tempestuous relationship—a story sure to break a few hearts.

   Dickey died a few months later.

   MaryRose Carroll perhaps knew Paul Carroll better than anyone on earth. He was an open-hearted man with few reserves who relayed his many publishing “war stories” over time to his beloved second wife, which she has reported in careful detail—as well as the many adventures they had together in Chicago during their years together.

   Many, the wild times with the most famous of that sea-changing Beat Generation.

   A quick taste: one of my favorites from our discussion. MaryRose remembered clearly how Paul dismayed of Jack Kerouac’s great talent and early passing. She told me, regarding the three scholarships he had been awarded (Boston College, Notre Dame, and Columbia):

   “Paul often said he wondered that if Jack had attended Notre Dame instead of Columbia—where he went to play football, with their culture of drinking and partying hard—he might not have become an alcoholic and self-destructed so young.”

   It’s an interesting consideration—and only one of many in the new book written by
MaryRose Carroll about the fascinating life and curious times of her husband, renowned poet, activist, and Free Speech advocate for the original Beat Generation, Paul Carroll.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Glenn A. Bruce has an MFA in Writing and has published five novels as well as two collections of short stories. He wrote the movie Kickboxer, episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger and Baywatch. He has been published in in RedFez, Alfie Dog, LLR, and Carolina Mountain Life. He is currently working on two novels and several film projects while teaching Screenwriting and Acting for the Camera at Appalachian State University.

My heart is a thousand years old



 “My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.” Charles Bukowski


The annual migration of the beat generation



The Observer reports on an economic migrant of the 60s: the beatnik, on the move in search of unearned money

A beatnik squat in London’s Drury Lane. Photograph: George Harris/Associated New/Rex
The beatniks

 of Britain are on the move this weekend, exchanging their summer quarters on the beaches and on the cliff tops for “winter pads” in the towns. It adds up to an unparalleled migration – an exodus of hundreds of youngsters, sickened by society, tramping northwards in search of enough unearned money to keep them alive until next spring. They will live on acquaintances and gather in groups of up to 50 for days-long “scenes” that will be interrupted only by police searching for drugs.
For the beatniks, the best half of the year is over. The holidaymakers have gone home. Life now begins in earnest for the jean-clad, long-haired youngsters who make a career out of doing nothing.
“Woodbine” Chris Donne, 18, ex-public school boy turned beatnik is heading for the “university circuit” – among the students there is always a free bed and meal. Donne and his beat companion, “Lord Jim” Browne, 19, will move from town to town. Most beatniks, though, will gather together in small wintertime groups, taking a cheap flat or room between them. Winter is the time of the scene gatherings that will be shaking areas like Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London. They are an economic aid to survival. Lord Jim explains: “You always get the Chelsea birds along – the ones with money.” Where the beatnik goes is dictated by the need to find people who will pay his way. “Some holidaymakers think we’re filthy bastards, but others are all right. Find a crowd of them getting drunk; one will always give you money just to look flash. Lorry drivers are good, too.” Young girls, though, contribute most to keeping beatniks in foods and cigarettes. “Learn how to make up to a woman and you can always get your food.”
The beatnik likes to move. His companion is a sleeping bag and a spare shirt. Paradise is a derelict house. Woodbine says: “After a time you get an instinct for finding them.” The police are one of the beatniks’ two recognised enemies. “They are always threatening you with vagrancy or begging. At scenes they come in looking for drugs.” The other enemy is the Rocker: “They’re always looking for a fight.”
The backgrounds of Lord Jim and Woodbine are fairly typical. Jim was an apprentice who “got fed up”. He went on the road two years ago and claims to have covered hundreds of thousands of miles. Woodbine failed some exams and was “whiling away the summer” when Jim appeared.
All beatniks have deliberately opted out of society and its responsibilities. “One day you wake up and realise you don’t want anything out of society, so why the hell should you put anything into it?” asks one. “There is a brotherhood about it. You’d share your last crust of bread. Would you get that in society?”
This is an edited extract



Meet 1959's "Miss Beatnik" Of Greenwich Village


Miss Beatnik, 1959. (Photo courtesy of the Beat Museum)

In July of 1959, a 17-year-old native Brooklynite named Angel was crowned "Miss Beatnik" by a crowd at the Gaslight Coffee House, a title also known as "The First Lady of MacDougal Street." According to the Village Voice, "The contest had been staged to clear the beatnik name, which had been sullied a few days earlier when, according to the coffeeshop cognoscenti, a girl from the Copa kicking squad was given the palm at a 10th Street bar."
As for Angel, who accepted her title barefoot, she told the paper she was "deeply concerned about the way the public views the beatniks... I wish people would try to understand what the so-called beat generation is, and maybe they will realize we have something to offer society. We are considered anti-social, but we are not!" The Brooklyn College student did not exactly consider herself a beatnik, however—she told the paper she was more of hipster. What did she consider a hipster? "An artist and an intellectual, and I smoke Viceroy and I think for myself."
Corbis notes that beatniks at the time had "attained the status of a tourist attraction... many a visitor to New York would rather see a real-life beatnik than the Statue of Liberty," kind of like today's hipsters?
You can see another photo of Angel (who is now a psychoanalyst, mother, and grandmother) right here, alongside her judges. Though we think John Oliver would be cool with this "pageant."



What matters


To do a dull thing


How can you say you love one person



“How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them? But you’ll never meet them. All right, so we do the best we can. Granted. But we must still realize that love is just the result of a chance encounter.” Charles Bukowski

My heart

“My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.”  Charles Bukowski

There are no actual pages



 “There are no actual pages I can turn in this place. Just a series of clicks until it gets me where I need to go. Until it lets me say what I need to say. I turn my palms up, carrying nothing. My fingers take turns tapping letter after letter after letter, saying everything.” Richard Brautigan, from  Drives On Deep Into Egypt.


I carry death in my left pocket

 “I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: ‘Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.’” Charles Bukowski



Nobody owns life,

“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death   William S. Burroughs



“I felt free and therefore I was free.” — Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums



Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. There is no single word translation for dharma in western languages. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’.


The Dharma Bums


The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The semifictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after the events of On the Road. The main characters are the narrator Ray Smith, based on Kerouac, and Japhy Ryder, based on the poet and essayist Gary Snyder, who was instrumental in Kerouac's introduction to Buddhism in the mid1950s.

The book largely concerns duality in Kerouac's life and ideals, examining the relationship that the outdoors, bicycling, mountaineering, hiking and hitchhiking through the West had with his "city life" of jazz clubs, poetry readings, and drunken parties. The protagonist's search for a "Buddhist" context to his experiences (and those of others he encounters) is a recurring theme throughout the story.

Ray Smith's story is driven by Japhy, whose penchant for the simple life and Zen Buddhism greatly influenced Kerouac on the eve of the sudden and unpredicted success of On the Road.
The action shifts between the events of Smith and Ryder's "city life," such as threeday parties and enactments of the Buddhist "YabYum" rituals, to the sublime and peaceful imagery where Kerouac seeks a type of transcendence.

 The novel concludes with a change in narrative style, with Kerouac working alone as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak (adjacent to Hozomeen Mountain), in what would soon be declared North Cascades National Park (see also Desolation Angels).

 These elements place The Dharma Bums at a critical junction foreshadowing the consciousnessprobing works of several authors in the 1960s such as Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey.

One episode in the book features Smith, Ryder and Henry Morley (based on reallife friend John Montgomery) climbing Matterhorn Peak in California. It tells the story of Kerouac's first introduction to this type of mountaineering and would serve as inspiration for him to spend the following summer as a fire lookout for the United States Forest Service on Desolation Peak in Washington.

The novel also gives an account of the legendary 1955 Six Gallery reading, where Allen Ginsberg gave a debut presentation of his poem "Howl" (changed to "Wail" in the book), and other authors such as Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth, Michael McClure, and Philip Whalen performed.

Some reviewers criticized Dharma Bums for being spiritually crude and lacking seriousness. Ruth Fuller Sasaki found it a good portrait of Snyder, but thought Kerouac knew nothing about Buddhism. She wrote to Snyder, "His Buddhism is the most garbled and mistaken I have read in many a day ... I think everyone grants Kerouac's sensitivity of reaction and his ability to vividly write those reactions. I found the first mountain climbing episode quite exciting. But as a novelist he shows no talent whatsoever and no imagination."

 Alan Watts discounted it as "Beat Zen": "a shade too selfconscious, too subjective, and too strident to have the flavor of Zen."

Snyder wrote Kerouac, "Dharma Bums is a beautiful book, & I am amazed & touched that you should say so many nice things about me because that period was for me really a great process of learning from you...." but confided to Philip Whalen, "I do wish Jack had taken more trouble to smooth out dialogues, etc. Transitions are rather abrupt sometimes."

 Later, Snyder chided Kerouac for the book's misogynistic interpretation of Buddhism.


Character Key
Kerouac often based his fictional characters on friends and family
"Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work."

Reallife person         Character name
Jack Kerouac            Ray Smith
Gary Snyder            Japhy Ryder
Allen Ginsberg      Alvah Goldbook
Neal Cassady        Cody Pomeray
Philip Whalen        Warren Coughlin
Locke McCorkle     Sean Monahan
John Montgomery    Henry Morley
Philip Lamantia      Francis DaPavia
Michael McClure     Ike O'Shay
Peter Orlovsky       George
Kenneth Rexroth      Rheinhold Cacoethes
Alan Watts      Arthur Whane
Caroline Kerouac     Nin
Carolyn Cassady    Evelyn
Claude Dalenberg    Bud Diefendorf
Natalie Jackson     Rosie Buchanan

"I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures ..."

"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple."
"It all ends in tears anyway."

"Down on the lake rosy reflections of celestial vapor appeared, and I said, "God, I love you" and looked to the sky and really meant it. "I have fallen in love with you, God. Take care of us all, one way or the other." To the children and the innocent it's all the same."

"I felt  lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost,  the face of a longdead relative,  an old dream,  a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all  golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling."

"Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wildhaired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that's the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea out there, with the MaWink fallopian virgin warm stars reflecting on the outer channel fluid belly waters. And if your cans are redhot and you can't hold them in your hands, just use good old railroad gloves, that's all."

"Finding Nirvana is  locating silence."

"One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls."

"Pain or love or danger makes you real again...."

"Are we fallen angels who didn't want to believe that nothing is nothing and so were born to lose our loved ones and dear friends one by one and finally our own life, to see it proved?"
"The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual the world is."

"colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middleclass nonidentity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of welltodo houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness to hear the voice crying in the wilderness, to find the ecstacy of the stars, to find the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization."

"Let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious."

"The human bones are but vain lines dawdling, the whole universe a blank mold of stars."

"The silence was an intense roar."

"my karma was to be born in America where nobody has any fun or believes in anything, especially freedom."

"I think it's a lovely hallucination but I love it sorta."

"Who can leap the world's ties and sit with me among white clouds?"

"The yard was full of tomato plants about to ripen, and mint, mint, everything smelling of mint, and one fine old tree that I loved to sit under on those cool perfect starry California October nights unmatched anywhere in the world."

"It was all completely serious, all completely hallucinated, all completely happy."

"I don't wanta hear all your word descriptions of words words words you made up all winter, man I wanta be enlightened by actions."

"i wish the whole world was dead serious about food instead of silly rockets and machines and explosives using everybody's food money to blow their heads off anyway."

"Rocks are space, and space is illusion."

"Mind is the Maker, for no reason at all, for all this creation, created to fall."

"to me a mountain is a buddha. think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sittin there bein perfectly perfectly silent and  praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waitin for us to stop all our frettin and foolin." japhy got out the tea, chinese tea, and sprinkled some in the tin pot, and had the fire going meanwhile...and pretty soon the water was boiling and he poured it out steaming into the tin pot and we had cups of tea with our tin cups...

"remember that book i told you about the first sip is joy and the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy."

"I felt  lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all"

"Suppose we suddenly wake up and see that what we thought to be this and that, ain't this and that at all?"

"That's the story of my life rich or poor and mostly poor and truly poor."

"Though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are still pretty glorious. "

"Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wildhaired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running  that's the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach...."

"I have all the time in the world from life to life to do what is to do, to do what is done, to do the timeless doing."

"It was the work of the quiet mountains, this torrent of purity at my feet."

"Jumping from boulder to boulder and never falling, with a heavy pack, is easier than it sounds; you just can't fall when you get into the rhythm of the dance."

"The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost,  the face of a longdead relative,  an old dream,  a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all  golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify by their own lonesome familiarities to this feeling. Ecstasy, even , I felt, with flashes of sudden remembrance, and feeling sweaty and drowsy I felt  sleeping and dreaming in the grass."

"I'd rather hop freights around the country and cook my food out of tin cans over wood fires, than be rich and have a home or work."

"...do you think God made the world to amuse himself because he was bored? Because if so he would have to be mean."

"i've been reading whitman, you know what he says, cheer up slaves, and horrify foreign despots, he means that's the attitude for the bard, the zen lunacy bard of old desert paths, see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, dharma bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and there have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, tv sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, i see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up into the mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em zen lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures"

"It's only through form that we can realize emptiness"

"I wanted to get me a full pack complete with everything necessary to sleep, shelter, eat, cook, in fact a regular kitchen and bedroom right on my back, and go off somewhere and find perfect solitude and look into the perfect emptiness of my mind and be completely neutral from any and all ideas. I intended to pray, too, as my only activity, pray for all living creatures; I saw it was the only decent activity left in the world. To be in some riverbottom somewhere, or in a desert, or in mountains, or in some hut in Mexico, or shack in Adirondack, and rest and be kind, and do nothing else, practice what the Chinese call 
"do nothing"."

"Believe that the world is an ethereal flower, and ye live."

"Ray, what you got to do is go climb a mountain..."

"The smog was heavy, my eyes were weeping from it, the sun was hot, the air stank, a regular hell is L.A."

"To the children and the innocent it's all the same."

"Then I suddenly had the most tremendous feeling of the pitifulness of human beings, whatever they were, their faces, pained mouths, personalities, attempts to be gay, little petulances, feelings of loss, their dull and empty witticisms so soon forgotten: Ah, for what? I knew that the sound of silence was everywhere and therefore everything everywhere was silence. Suppose we suddenly wake up and see that what we thought to be this and that, ain't this and that at all? I staggered up the hill, greeted by birds, and looked at all the huddled sleeping figures on the floor. Who were all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me? And who was I?"

"The first sip [of tea] is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy."

"I felt free and therefore I was free."

"The secret of this kind of climbing, is  Zen. Don't think. Just dance along. It's the easiest thing in the world, actually easier than walking on flat ground which is monotonous. The cute little problems present themselves at each step and yet you don't hesitate and you find yourself on some other boulder you picked out for no special reason at all, just  zen.~ Japhy"

"Your mind makes out the orange by seeing it, hearing it, touching it, smelling it, tasting it and thinking about it but without this mind, you call it, the orange would not be seen or heard or smelled or tasted or even mentally noticed, it's actually, that orange, depending on your mind to exist! Don't you see that? By itself it's a nothing, it's really mental, it's seen only of your mind. In other words it's empty and awake."

"Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that cramp they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume..."

"This was really the way my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell."

"you know when i was a little kid in oregon i didn't feel that i was and american at all, with all that suburban ideal and sex repression and general dreary newspaper gray censorship of all our real human values but and when i discovered buddhism and all i suddenly felt that i had lived in a previous lifetime innumerable ages ago and now because of the faults and sins in that lifetime i was being degraded to a more grievous domain of existence and my karma was to be born in america where nobody has any fun or believes in anything, especially freedom."

"In all this welter of women I still hadn't got one for myself, not that I was trying too hard, but sometimes I felt lonely to see everybody paired off and having a good time and all I did was curl up in my sleeping bag in the rosebushes and sigh and say bah. For me it was just red wine in my mouth and a pile of firewood

"and the stars were icicles of mockery"

"Try the meditation of the trail, just walk along looking at the trail at your feet and don’t look about and just fall into a trance as the ground zips by. Trails are  that: you’re floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and fluteboys, then suddenly you’re struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak… just  life."

"Sometimes I’d get mad because things didn’t work out so well, I’d spoil a flapjack, or slip in the snowfield while getting water, or one time my shovel went sailing down into the gorge, and I’d be so mad I’d want to bite the mountaintops and would come in the shack and kick the cupboard and hurt my toe. But let the mind beware, though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious

"The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual life is. All these people thinking they're hardheaded materialistic practical types, they don't know shit about matter, their heads are full of dreamy ideas and notions."

"Ah Japhy you taught me the final lesson of them all, you can't fall off a mountain."

"After all, a homeless man has reason to cry, everything in the world is pointed against him."

"And he had a nice home in Ohio with wife, daughter, Christmas tree, two cars, garage, lawn, lawnmower, but he couldn't enjoy any of it because he really wasn't free. It was sadly true."

"What a horror it would have been if the world was real, because if the world was real, it would be immortal."

"Now the mountains were getting that pink tinge, I mean the rocks, they were just solid rock covered with the atoms of dust accumulated there since beginningless time. In fact I was afraid of those jagged monstrosities all around and over our heads.

"They're so silent!" I said.

"Yeah man, you know to me a mountain is a Buddha. Think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sitting there bein perfectly perfectly silent and  praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waitin for us to stop all our frettin and foolin

"...I didn't feel that I was an American at all, with all that suburban ideal and sex repression and general dreary newspaper grey censorship of all our real human values..."

"You'll be sorry some day. Why don't you ever understand what I'm trying to tell you: it's with your six sense that you're fooled into believing not only that you have six senses, but that you contact an actual outside world with them. If it wasn't for your eyes, you wouldn't see me. If it wasn't for your ears, you wouldn't hear that airplane. If it wasn't for your nose, you wouldn't smell that midnight mint. If it wasn't for your tongue taster, you wouldn't taste the difference between A and B. If it wasn't for your body, you wouldn't feel Princess. There is no me, no airplane, no mind, no Princess, no nothing, you for krissakes do you want to go on being fooled every damn minute of your life?"

"Your Buddhism has made you mean Ray and makes you even afraid to take your clothes off for a simple healthy orgy"

"I nudged myself closer to the ledge and closed my eyes and thought 'Oh what a life this is, why do we have to be born in the first place, and only so we can have our poor gentle flesh laid out to such impossible horrors as huge mountains and rock and empty space,' and with horror I remembered the famous Zen saying, 'When you get to the top of a mountain, keep climbing.' The saying made my hair stand on end; it had been such cute poetry sitting on Alvah's straw mats."

"Japhy,' I said out loud, 'I don't know when we'll meet again or what'll happen in the future, but Desolation, Desolation, I owe so much to Desolation, thank you forever for guiding me to the place where I learned it all. Now comes the sadness of coming back to cities and I've grown two months older and there's all that humanity of bars and burlesque shows and gritty love, all upsidedown in the void God bless them, but Japhy you and me forever we know, O ever youthful, O ever weeping.' Down on the lake rosy reflections of celestial vapor appeared, and I said 'God I love you' and looked up to the sky and really meant it. 'I have fallen in love with you, God. Take care of us all, one way or the other.'
To the children and the innocent it's all the same.
And in keeping with Japhy's habit of always getting down on one knee and delivering a little prayer to the camp we left, to the one in the Sierra, and the others in Marin, and the little prayer of gratitude he had delivered to Sean's shack the day he sailed away, as I was hiking down the mountain with my pack I turned and knelt on the trail and said 'Thank you, shack.' Then I hadded 'Blah,' with a little grin, because I knew that shack and that mountain would understand what that meant, and turned and went on down the trail back to this world."

"a fool forgetting all the ideals and joys I knew before, in my recent years of drinking and disappointment, what does he care if he hasn't got any money: he doesn't need any money, all he needs is his rucksack with those little plastic bags of dried food and a good pair of shoes and off he goes and enjoys the privileges of a millionaire in surroundings  this."

"But on top of all that, the feelings about Princess, I'd also gone through an entire year of celibacy based on my feeling that lust was the direct cause of birth which was the direct cause of suffering and death and I had really no lie come to a point where I regarded lust as offensive and even cruel. "Pretty girls make graves," was my saying, whenever I'd had to turn my head around involuntarily to stare at the in¬comparable pretties of Indian Mexico."

"The silence is so intense that you can hear your own blood roar in your ears but louder than that by far is the mysterious roar which I alwas identify with the roaring of the diamond wisdom, the mysterious roar of silence itself, which is a great Shhhh reminding you of something you've seemed to have forgotten in the stress of your days since birth."

"What does it mean that I am in this endless universe, thinking that I'm a man sitting under the stars on the terrace of the earth, but actually empty and awake throughout the emptiness and awakedness of everything? It means that I'm empty and awake, that I know I'm empty and awake, and that there's no difference between me and anything else."

"I wished I could explain it to those I loved, my mother, to Japhy, but there just weren't any words to describe the nothingness and purity of it. "Is there a certain and definite teaching to be given to all living creatures?" was the question probably asked to beetle browed snowy Dipankara, and his answer was the roaring silence of the diamond."

"Who doesn't feel studious when he doesn't have a girl with a Riviera suntan?"

"Smith, I distrust any kind of Buddhism or any kinda philosophy or social system that puts down sex said Japhy (Gary Snyder)"

"equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha"

"I have nothing to do but do what I want and be kind and remain nevertheless uninfluenced by imaginary judgments and pray for the light."

"Oh my God, sociability is just a big smile and a big smile is nothing but teeth, I wish I could just stay up here and rest and be kind." But somebody brought up some wine and that started me off."

"He doesn't need any money , all he needs is his rucksack with those little plastic bags of dried food and a good pair of shoes and off he goes and enjoys the privileges of a millionaire in surroundings  this." his world is the movie of what everything is, it is one movie, made of the same stuff throughout, belonging to nobody, which is what everything is."

"The world ain't so bad, when you got Japhies, I thought, and felt glad. All the aching muscles and the hunger in my belly were bad enough, and the surroundant dark rocks, the fact that there is nothing to soothe you with kisses and soft words, but just to be sitting there meditating and praying for the world with another earnest young man  'twere good enough to have been born just to die, as we all are. Something will come of it in the Milky Ways of eternity stretching in front of all our phantom unjaundiced eyes, friends. I felt  telling Japhy everything I thought but I knew it didn't matter and moreover he knew it anyway and silence is the golden mountain."

"...wishing there was a Personal God in all this impersonal matter."

"Dammit, that yodel of triumph of yours was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard in my life. I wish I had a tape recorder to take it down."
Those things aren't made to be heard by the people down below," says Japhy, dead serious."

"There's nothing wrong with you Ray, your only trouble is you never learned to get out to spots  this, you've let the world drown you in its horseshit and you've been vexed..."

"Look at that party the other night. Everybody wanted to have a good time and tried real hard but we all woke up the next day feeling sorta sad and separate."

"This is the beginning and the end of the world right here. Look at those patient Buddhas lookin at us saying nothing."

"By the time I went to bed I wasn't taken in by no Princess or no desire for no Princess and nobody's disapproval and I felt glad and slept well."

"I sat crosslegged in the sand and contemplated my life. Well, there, and what difference did it make? "What's going to happen to me up ahead?"

"Where'd you learn to do all these funny things?' he laughed. 'And you know I say funny but there's sumpthin so durned sensible about 'em. Here I am killin myself drivin this rig back and forth from Ohio to L.A. and I make more money than you ever had in your whole life as a hobo, but you're the one who enjoys life and not only that but you do it without workin or a whole lot of money. Now who's smart, you or me?' And he had a nice home in Ohio with wife, daughter, Christmas tree, two cars, garage, lawn, lawnmower, but he couldn't enjoy any of it because he really wasn't free."

"Everything was fine with the Zen Lunatics, the nut wagon was too far away to hear us. But there was a wisdom in it all, as you'll see if you take a walk some night on a suburban street and pass house after house on both sides of the street each with the lamplight of the living room, shining golden, and inside the little blue square of the television, each living family riveting its attention on probably one show; nobody talking; silence in the yards; dogs barking at you because you pass on human feet instead of on wheels. You'll see what I mean, when it begins to appear  everybody in the world is soon going to be thinking the same way and the Zen Lunatics have long joined dust, laughter on their dust lips."

"I felt  telling Japhy everything I thought but I knew it didn't matter and moreover he knew it anyway and silence is the golden mountain."
"Can't you just see all those enlightened monkey men sitting around a roaring woodfire around their Buddha saying nothing and knowing everything?"

"But the mountains were mighty solemn, and so was Japhy, and for that matter so was I, and in fact laugher is solemn."

"The old tree brooded over me silently, a living thing. I heard a mouse snoring in the garden weeds. The rooftops of Berkeley looked  pitiful living meat sheltering grieving phantoms from the enternality of the heavens which they feared to face. By the time I went to bed I wasn't taken in by no Princess or no desire for no Princess and nobody's disapproval and I felt glad and slept well."

"those who're good stay in Heaven,they've been in Heaven from the beginning"

"I bless you, all living things, I bless you in the endless past, I bless you in the endless present, I bless you in the endless future, amen."

"I have all the time in the world from life to life to do what is to do, to do what is done, to do the timeless doing, infinitely perfect within, why cry, why worry, perfect  mind essence and the minds of banana peels."

"The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost,  the face of a longdead relative,  an old dream,  a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all  golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify(by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.

"I wanta swim in rivers and drink goatmilk and talk with priests and just read Chinese books and amble around the valleys talking to farmers and their children."

"The little flowers grew everywhere around the rocks, and no one had asked them to grow, or me to grow."

"What a horror it would have been if the world was real."

"Dammit that yodel of triumph of yours was the most beautiful thing I ever heard in my life. I wish I'd a had a tape recorder to take it down.'

'Those things aren't made to be heard by the people below,' says Japhy dead serious.
'By God you're right, all those sedentary bums sitting around on pillows hearing the cry of the triumphant mountain smasher, they don't deserve it. But when I looked up and saw you running down that mountain I suddenly understood everything."

"It was a joy, though, to get down into the valley and lose sight of all that open sky space underneath everything and finally, as it got graying five o'clocking, about a hundred yards from the other boys and walking alone, to just pick my way singing and thinking along the little black cruds of a deer trail through the rocks, no call to think or look ahead or worry, just follow the little balls of deer crud with your eyes cast down and enjoy life."

"Diamond Sutra says, 'Make no formed conceptions about the realness of existence nor about the unrealness of existence," or words  that. Handcuffs will get soft and billy clubs will topple over, let's go on being free anyhow."

"Japhy and I were kind of outlandishlooking on the campus in our old clothes in fact Japhy was considered an eccentric around the campus, which is the usual thing for campuses and college people to think whenever a real man appears on the scene ― colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middleclass nonidentity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of welltodo houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness to hear the voice crying in the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization. 'All these people,' said Japhy, 'they all got whitetiled toilets and take big dirty craps  bears in the mountains, but it's all washed away to convenient supervised sewers and nobody thinks of crap any more or realizes their origin is shit and civet and scum of the sea. They spend all day washing their hands with creamy soaps they secretly wanta eat in the bathroom.' He had a million ideas, he had 'em all."

"Everything was everlastingly loose and responsive, it was all everywhere beyond the truth, beyond emptyspace blue. "The mountains are mighty patient, Buddhaman," I said out loud, and took a drink."

"I'd also gone through an entire year of celibacy based on my feeling that lust was the direct cause of birth which was the direct cause of suffering and death and I had really no lie come to a point where I regarded lust as offensive and even cruel."

"See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming... all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures..."

"But let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious."

"I've got my full rucksack pack and it's spring, I'm going to go Southwest to the dry land, to the long lone land of Texas and Chihuahua and the gay streets of Mexico night, music coming out of doors, girls, wine, weed, wild hats, viva! What does it matter?  the ants that have nothing to do but dig all day, I have nothing to do but what I want and be kind and remain nevertheless uninfluenced by imaginary judgments and pray for the light."

"I sit down and say, and I run all my friends and relatives and enemies one by one in this, without entertaining any angers or gratitudes or anything, and I say,  'Japhy Ryder, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha,' then I run on, say to 'David O. Selznick, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha' though I don't use names  David O. Selznick, just people I know because when I say the words 'equally a coming Buddha' I want to be thinking of their eyes,  you take Morley, his blue eyes behind those glasses, when you think 'equally a coming Buddha' you think of those eyes and you really do suddenly see the true secret serenity and the truth of his coming Buddhahood. Then you think of your enemy's eyes."

"The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost,  the face of a longdead relative,  an old dream,  a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all  golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling."

"Why is he so mad about white tiled sinks and ‘kitchen machinery’ he calls it? People have good hearts whether or not they live  Dharma Bums."

"Japhy was considered an eccentric around the campus, which is the usual thing for campuses and college people to think whenever a real man appears on the scene  colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middleclass nonidentity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of welltodo houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness to hear the voice crying in the wilderness, to find the ecstasy of the stars, to find the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization."

"They’re so silent!” I said. “Yeah man, you know to me a mountain is a Buddha. Think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sittin there bein perfectly perfectly silent and  praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waitin for us to stop all our frettin and foolin."

"I was very rich now, a super myriad trillionaire in Samapatti transcendental graces, because of good humble karma, maybe because I had pitied the dog and forgiven men. But I knew now that I was a bliss heir, and that the final sin, the worst, is righteousness. So I would shut up and just hit the road and go see Japhy."

"All you want to do is run out there and get laid and get beat up and get screwed up and get old and sick and banged around by samsara, you fucking eternal meat of comeback you"

"Are we fallen angels who didn't want to believe that nothing is nothing and so were born to lose our loved ones and dear friends one by one and finally our own life, to see it proved?...But cold morning would return, with clouds billowing out of Lightning Gorge  giant smoke, the lake below still cerulean neutral, and empty space the same as ever. O gnashing teeth of earth, where would it all lead to but to prove that the proving itself was nil..."

"I took two hour naps every afternoon, waking up and realizing "none of this ever happened" as I looked around my mountaintop. The world was upsidedown hanging in an ocean of endless space and here were all these people sitting in theaters watching movies, down there in the world to which I would return. . . ."