for Jack Kerouac
by Michael McClure
IN LIGHT ROOM IN DARK HELL IN UMBER IN CHROME,
I sit feeling the swell of the cloud made about by movement
of arm leg and tongue. In reflections of gold
light. Tints and flashes of gold and amber spearing
and glinting. Blur glass…blue Glass,
black telephone. Matchflame of violet and flesh
seen in the clear bright light. It is not night
and night too. In Hell, there are stars outside.
And long sounds of cars. Brown shadows on walls
in the light
of the room. I sit or stand
wanting the huge reality of touch and love.
In the turned room. Remember the long-ago dream
of stuffed animals (owl, fox) in a dark shop. Wanting
only the purity of clean colors and new shapes
I WOULD CRY FOR THEM USELESSLY
I have ten years left to worship my youth
Billy the Kid, Rimbaud, Jean Harlow
IN DARK HELL IN LIGHT ROOM IN UMBER AND CHROME I
feel the swell of
smoke the drain and flow of motion of exhaustion, the long sounds of cars
the brown shadows
on the wall. I sit or stand. Caught in the net of glints from corner table to
from knob to floor, angles of flat light, daggers of beams. Staring at love's face.
The telephone in cataleptic light. Marchflames of blue and red seen in the
I see myself—ourselves—in Hell without radiance. Reflections that we are.
The long cars make sounds and brown shadows over the wall.
I am real as you are real whom I speak to.
I raise my head, see over the edge of my nose. Look up
and see that nothing is changed. There is no flash
to my eyes. No change to the room.
Vita Nuova—No! The dead, dead world.
The strain of desire is only a heroic gesture.
An agony to be so in pain without release
when love is a word or kiss.