Monday, 17 November 2008

16 November 2008

I slept: the bus became frozen so that the passengers had to spend the night in a diner or freeze and nevertheless I slept unnoticed in the bus and felt perfect when I woke up, and slept straight through the repairs in a Fargo garage. In Butte Montana I got involved with drunken Indians; spent all night in a big wild saloon that was the answer to Bill Burroughs’ quest for the ideal bar; I made a few bets on the wall, got drunk; I saw an old card dealer who looked exactly like W.C.Fields and made me cry thinking of my father. There he was, fat with bulbous nose, wiping himself with a backpocket handkerchief, green visor, wheezing asthmatically in the Butte winter night games, till he finally packed off with his old dog to sleep another day. He was a blackjack dealer. I also saw a ninety year old man called Old John who played cards with slitted eyes and had been doing so they told me for the last seventy years in the Butte night. In Big Timber I saw a young cowboy who’d lost an arm in the war and sat with the old men in a winter afternoon inn looking with longing eyes at the boys loping by outside in the great Yellowstone snows. In Dakota I saw a rotary plow hit a brand new Ford and send it scattering in a million pieces over the plain, like sowing for the Spring. In Toledo Ohio I got off the bus and hitch hiked up to Detroit Michigan to see my first wife. She wasn’t there and her mother wouldn’t lend me two bucks to eat with. I sat fuming with rage on the floor of the Detroit Greyhound bus station men’s room. I sat among the bottles. Preachers approached me with stories of the Lord. I spent my last dime on a cheap meal in Detroit skid row. I called up my wife’s father’s new wife and she wouldn’t even see me. My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you night as well go mad. All I wanted was to drown my soul in my wife’s soul and reach her through the tangle of shrouds which is flesh in bed. At the end of the American road is a man and a woman making love in a hotel room. That’s all I wanted. Her relatives were conspiring to keep us separated; not that they were wrong but they felt I was a bum and would only reopen old wounds in her heart. Actually she was in Lansing Michigan that

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