I read my kid Howl as a bedtime story. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything Beat, and about twelve lines into Howl I remembered why: Beat literature makes me sad.
“… angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz…”
Because I used to drink turpentine in burning alleys right through to dusk behind warehouses and consumer cathedrals painted naked with despair. Because anything Beat brings it back and it makes me sad. Because I cashed in my chips for a discounted dream, because I had once been sick with longing, ecstasy, drink, drugs, paranoia, hunger and the heat of hitchhiking, that romantic pursuit of life virility and I had found what I was looking for.
And then, head between my legs, I cowered home to Write A Novel and instead got depressed, months drunk between couch cushions, but then the saving grace – I fell in love, into the Straight and Narrow constriction where there is no chaos to create the only life that’ll quench my soul.
Responsibility, the specter of death demanding the immersion of heart into Ego. I am A Family Man.
But I can still write, and fiction will be my soul’s sanctuary, and my house in the hills, farm of children and couch surfers, acid dropped into the bonfire Saturday night and passing-through vagabonds picking our fruit and whatever wayward poets our time may or probably won’t produce (pessimistic outlooking), door’s open to all the alley souls unfit for the main road.
What it all amounts to, the mania produced beneath The Main Road, is the desire to explore the side-routes, to Pioneer the Alleys — Next Post.