Friday, 5 September 2008

05 September 2008

Hollywood alone. First I bought a loaf of bread and salami and made myself ten sandwiches to cross the country with. I had a dollar left. I sat on the low cement wall in back of a Hollywood parking lot and made the sandwiches using a piece of flat wood I found on the ground and cleaned to spread the mustard. As I laboured at this absurd task great Kleig lights of a Hollywood premiere stabbed in the sky, that humming West Coast sky. All around me were the noises of the crazy gold coast city. And this was my Hollywood career- -this was my last night in Hollywood and I was spreading mustard on my lap in back of a parkinglot john. I forgot to mention that I didn’t have enough money for a bus ticket all the way to New York, only Pittsburgh. I figured to worry about that when I got to Pittsburgh. My sandwiches under one arm and canvas bag in the other I strolled around Hollywood a few hours. Whole families that had driven from the country in old jalopies went put-put-put across Sunset and vine with their eager faces searching everywhere for movie stars. All they saw was other families in other jaloppies doing the same thing. They came from Okie flats outside Bakersfield, San Diego, Fresno and San Berdoo; they read movie magazines; the little boys wanted to see Hopalong Cassidy conducting his great white horse across the traffic; the little girls wanted to see Lana Turner in a deep embrace with Robt. Taylor in front of Whelan’s; the mothers wanted to see Walter Pidgeon in tophat and tails bowing at them from the curb; the fathers---gaunt crazy jaloppy Americans---scented money in the air. They were ready to sell their daughters to the highest bidder. On the sidewalk characters swarmed. Everybody was looking at everybody else. It was the end of the continent, no more land. 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. Until then there is a lugubrious seriousness I love in all of this. At dawn my bus was zooming across the American desert---Indio, Blythe, Salome (where she danced); the great

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