Not only was there no traffic but the rain came down in buckets and I had no shelter. I had to run under some pines to take cover; this did no good; I began crying and swearing and socking myself on the head for being such a damn fool.
I started to cry. And I looked up and saw the bleak pines by the bleak mills of Roanoke Rapids with one final despair, like the despair of a man who has nothing left to do but leave the earth forever.
I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it.
When daybreak came we were zooming through New Jersey with the great cloud of Metropolitan New York rising before us in the snowy distance. Dean had a sweater wrapped around his ears to keep warm. He said we were a band of Arabs coming in to blow up New York.
It no longer makes me cry and die and tear myself to see her go because everything goes away from me like that now — girls, visions, anything, just in the same way and forever and I accept lostness forever.
And before me was the great raw bulge and bulk of my American continent; somewhat far across, gloomy, crazy New York was throwing up its cloud of dust and brown steam. There is something brown and holy about the East; and California is white like washlines and emptyheaded - at least that's what I thought then.
As for his hobby, drawing, he was better at that than most artists alive today and I always knew he was really a great young artist pretending to be withdrawn so people would leave him alone, also so people wouldn't ask him to get a job.
Somebody had tipped the American continent like a pinball machine and all the goofballs had come rolling to LA in the southwest corner. I cried for all of us. There was no end to the American sadness and the American madness. Someday we'll all start laughing and roll on the ground when we realize how funny it's been.
All my editors since Malcolm Cowley have had instructions to leave my prose exactly as I wrote it. In the days of Malcolm Cowley, with 'On the Road' and 'The Dharma Bums', I had no power to stand by my style for better or for worse.
Sometimes during the night I'd look at my poor sleeping mother cruelly crucified there in the American night because of no-money, no-hope-of-money, no family, no nothing, just myself the stupid son of plans all of them compacted of eventual darkness.
Tonight while walking on the waterfront in the angelic streets I suddenly wanted to tell you how wonderful I think you are. Please don't dislike me. What is the mystery of the world? Nobody knows they're angels.
He had a third martini. He looked at me intently and took hold of my arm. 'Look', he said. 'You're a fish in a pond. It's drying up. You have to mutate into an amphibian, but someone keeps hanging on to you and telling you to stay in the pond, everything's going to be all right.
Every one of these things I said was a knife at myself. Everything I had ever secretly held against my brother was coming out: how ugly I was and what filth I was discovering in the depths of my own impure psychologies (214).