Revving the engines this morning for a trek up to Lowell where I’ll be tossing my two cents in with a panel on Kerouac’s Scriptures of the Golden Eternity. Strange how these things happen. Barbara Gagel, a New Mexico artist originally from Lowell has been painting great resonances of Golden Eternity canvases. She gets an art show back home during Jack‘s 90th. Somehow I get wind of it and an invite to be on the panel. Bob’s your uncle.
It’s all part of the ’ants merlying' and 'mesaroolies microbing in the innards of mercery’ thing Kerouac dug, which is what making the scene is. Synchronicities, convergences, and materializations -- great tragic opportunities of blind luck fortune and hastily conceived miscalculation.
In them all 'realities for you and me,' says Whitman.
It's the great road trip. The crazy seriousness of working men on scaffolds painting white paint. Going for a walk with friends among O'Hara's hum colored cabs.
David Amram calls it ‘hangout-ology.’
So I’ve been boning up on the Golden Eternity and it turns out I haven't had to look far to find resonances with Jack’s ideas about transience, impermanence, etc.
Everywhere I look, the whole simultaneous duality thing people like Derrida, Levy-Strauss and Gilles Deleuze talk about -- binary oppositions, happening/not happening, illusion/materiality -- a great unity in the middle of nothing which is everything.
Keeps popping up -- like weeds in spring, really. Rumi. Ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles. Great Zen Koans from Japanese antiquity.
And deeply intuitive utterances among our contemporaries in the poetry world. Heck, just last Sunday night I caught Claire Nicolas White getting to the nut of it in a flash, with her “Time’s emptiness makes the day swell…"
Kerouac brings his own take on it all. The sweet sad tragedy, the persistent emphasis on compassion. The sublime sense that our shared springtime in the void is a magic and holy goof to be experienced with a wry grin.
Reading Kerouac these perspectives happen by turn. At one moment he digs the street of life, celebrating those who “burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” At the next, he is contemplative, tranced out: ‘the perfect little No Clouds' keep popping up 'in the deepening afternoon blue’ of San Francisco's Embarcadero.
It's springtime in the void again, boys and girls. The center is everywhere and if you're somewhere, you're everywhere.
It's fine by me if we’re all ‘pretending at playing the magic cardgame and making believe it's real,’ like Jack says. OK if it's “a big dream, a joyous ecstasy of words and ideas and flesh, an ethereal flower unfolding an folding back, a movie, an exuberant bunch of lines, bounding emptiness.’
Sound to you like a good night out on the town with poet-friends? Maybe you’re ready to go mesarolying with the microbes too!