Tuesday, 24 March 2009
24 March 2009
concert tickets, and the names Jack and Joan and Henri and Vicki, the girl, together with a series of sad jokes and some of his favorite sayings such as ‘You can’t teach the old maestro a new tune.’ So Neal couldn’t ride uptown with us and the only thing I could do was sit in the back of the Cadillac and wave at him. The bookie at the wheel also wanted nothing to do with Neal. Neal, ragged in a motheaten overcoat he brought specially for the freezing temperatures of the East, walked off alone and the last I saw of him he rounded the corner of 7th Ave., eyes on the street ahead, and bent to it again. Poor little Joan my wife to whom I’d told everything about Neal began almost to cry. “Oh we shouldn’t let him go like this. What’ll we do?” Old Neal’s gone I thought, and out loud I said “He’ll be all right.” And off we went to the sad and disinclined concert for which I had no stomach whatever and all the time I was thinking of Neal and how he got back on the train and rode over 3,000 miles over that awful land and never knew why he had come anyway, except to see me and my sweet wife. And he was gone. If I hadn’t been married I would have gone with him again. So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old brokendown river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the evening-star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the the prarie, which is just before the coming of of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks in the west and folds the last and final shore in, and nobody, just nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Neal Cassady, I even think of Old Neal Cassady the father we never found, I think of Neal Cassady, I think of Neal Cassady.