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Wilderness of Virginia

Dreamed c. Oct 1? 1953 by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac dozing on bus through red sunset; dream sketch by Wayan.


WILDERNESS OF VIRGINIA after awhile, the bus carrying me west to "Oakland" and on which I've been sleeping with head down on the top of the back rest ever since New York and so profoundly that some tall blond guy got on and sneaked into my window seat thinking himself in but I pretend to flop over and eventually he shifts to another seat---it's the distinct Virginia woods and the bus goes through a little town with Alpine like houses every one inn-like humming with excitement and voices of eaters, I think "They come in old country cars from down every hill, to the taverns of town"---As on my great voyage west in August 1952 across Carolina to the Coast, the sky is blood red in a rainy dusk, through trees far across the marsh I see the remnant red fire beneath a lowering night, outlining thin birch and stumps of America-lost trees---On the bus are two young railroad men one wearing a passenger cap, they're "deadheading" up the mountain to a train, some train order station in the bleak pines---I'm going to chat with them after my nap---

In my dream-nap I imagine the bus is going thru Santa Margarita and wish I was there, have nostalgia memories of Obispo and the little hillswinger's shack at the trackside at Margarita so sweet and peaceful---America is so sad, haunted, long remembered, itself a dream, what can Irwin Swenson begin to know about the red dusks over the wilderness trees and the meaning of young trainmen in the hills, old shanties with stoves, the long old dream---

Also I see visions of the war in Italy and see a truckload of American soldiers go by but in the Italian's naive picture of Americans they're all wailing together in one great bop band ensemble like Ted Heath or Neal Hefti band and I wake up realizing the Jazz Century I'm in and the thousands of dollars BEAT GENERATION which M.C.A. Agency lost is worth----the big issues jazz will be, bop, and how Watson has already begun to capitalize on it at my expense (using my anecdotes, phrases etc. and in fact further battening on the sufferings of junkey musicians---I feel horrified and fear my Blake humilities which I can stand will become unbearable if worth millions to stealers like Watson, as if and just like, Christ and his thorns pounded into a golden Chalice, the Bible a Bestseller---the Agony in the Garden a smash hit! Bitch! Poseur, sloth, fop & cheat---musty!

--Jack Kerouac

EDITOR'S NOTES

I posted this dream for its closing--Kerouac's bitter prediction America'd exploit the sufferings of his friends, sell the Beats like shoes.

And lo, it came to pass.

Source: page 153 of Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac, expanded (2001) edition, City Lights Books.
Date: estimated from sequence.
Title: Kerouac always capitalized a dream's first phrase as a working title, even if it didn't fit the dream as a whole.
Paragraph breaks: added when a screen became hard to read. The web is not the printed page. I apologize to purists.

--Chris Wayan



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