Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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Dylan Thomas

It is in the flow Eastern Standard Time 8:07 PM Friday night. I am down in the lower level doing some wash and folding clean clothes. I am tired, but it is too early to go to bed. I am in one of those moods where I am tired of everything. I think I am recovering from my gallbladder surgery still. It has been on three days since I had the operation. It might take awhile before I feel my old self once again.

Carol went to work this evening around 7:40 PM. This coming Monday morning my wife flies on the West Coast for a week.

I carried down here a book I have been reading titled, "American Smoke: Journeys To The End Of The Light" by Iain Sinclair. There are many times when I am reading this book that I have no idea on what is going on. The book is confusing because the writer goes all over the place. I am basically reading this book for the words/sentences and sometimes Sinclair says something interesting about someone I have heard about or read. Today at the library book nook Sinclair was writing about the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and I found this description of Thomas interesting.

"Thomas was living in the Chelsea Hotel when he collapsed for the last time: 'insult to the brain'. Brinnin notes, with somewhat mystified indulgence, the enthusiasm the feted lyric poet demonstrated for the disposable products of pure Americana: pulp novels (routinely assigned to the generic term: Mickey Spillane), Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, burlesque, pin-tables, jukebox bars, Howard Johnson restaurants in the neon twilight. Dollars leaked from his pockets. Jewish physicians were on tap with cortisone shots. There were workmen's blue shirts to take home. A consumerist cornucopia against the pinched meanness of rationing-book Britain. Cheap cigars instead of Woodbines.

Dylan (his name soon to be purloined by a young Jewish folk singer from Minnesota) was at the tipping point between high seriousness, the rhetoric of apocalypse, black on black, and permission to regress to the sweetest of bites: primary colors, monster hoardings, comic books, Hershey bars, cantilevered breasts, three-cow milkshakes. German expressionism converted into rain-slicked Hollywood melodrama. This crumpled, swollen-bellied man with the stained nicotine teeth was the original post-war performance poet, playing to packed crowds, and losing, in the sweats and fears of hypnotic projection, all sense of self. The preacherly mannerisms of his Methodist ancestors, and the seductive rumble and thunder of voice from the abused instrument of his body, mesmerized the uptown poetry mob. Why had he crossed the Atlantic? The questions never stopped. 'To continue my lifelong search for naked women in wet mackintoshes,' he said. And said again. Until Brinnin flinched and flustered, as he tried to head off the interrogators, tried to keep the exhausted poet on the road. A hundred and fifty readings, up and down the country; death flights, claustrophobic trains, cars bear-squeezed with host-institution academics and faculty wives. . ." pg. 131,132 Iain Sinclair "American Smoke"

review of "American Smoke"

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