Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Readings: Through Angel Eyes

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night

I am very close to the end of On the Road: The Original Scroll and I am beginning to experience the separation anxiety, beginning to miss living in it already. The passage that follows is from the last road trip; a hell-bent dash by jalopy from Denver, all the way to Mexico City. Kerouac’s great themes, the endless road, the search for the self at the heart of existence, the quest of the missing father, are present here; as is the raw ecstasy of pure being. Kerouac muses on the nature of human existence as he drives into the heart of Mexico, having taken the wheel from the original angelheaded hipster, his exhausted friend, Neal Cassady:

The boys were sleeping and I was alone in my eternity at the wheel and the road ran straight as an arrow. Not like driving across Carolina, or Texas, or Arizona, or Illinois; but like driving across the world and into the places where we would finally learn ourselves among the worldwide fellaheen people of the world, the Indians that stretch in a belt around the world from Malaya to India to Arabia to Morocco to Mexico and over to Polynesia. For these people were unmistakably Indians and were not at all like the Pedros and Panchos of silly American lore---they were not fools, they were not clowns---they were great grave Indians and they were the source of mankind and the fathers of it. And they knew this when we passed, ostensibly self-important moneybag Americans on a lark in their land, they knew who was the father and who was the son of antique life on earth, and made no comment. For when destruction comes to the world people will still stare with the same eyes from the caves of Mexico as well as from the caves of Bali, where it all began and where Adam was suckled and taught to know. These were my growing thoughts as I drove the car…

This may not be sound anthropology, but it is kick-ass poetry, Jim.