HTOWN | 25 | M | cat
November 22, 1963 | Woody Creek, Colorado
I am trying to compose a reaction to the heinous, stinking, shit-filled thing that occurred today. Supposedly it will be the “local” reaction, but of course it won’t. It will be my own, couched in local color. Nobody has asked for it but I am sending it anyway. 1000 words - damn few to fill the awful hole.
I suppose your boys over there are whooping it up. Another victory for Marxism. Well, they better add up the score again, because they lost as decisively as I did. The names of the winners are not posted yet, but soon they will come down from the towers - but only after a respectable period of mourning. It is the triumph of lunacy, of rottenness, the dirtiest hour in our time. That the bullet should have come from the Far Left is the filthiest irony of all. It was right and proper that the deed was done in Texas, but a terrible shock to find the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee” with its name on the slug. I hope they have the wrong man, but I’m afraid not. The damage this has done to the Left in this country - which I guess you would call a puppet show, at best - is incalculable. It is the death of reason. from here on out, the run is downhill for us all - and I mean all.
Wayne Vagneur, the rancher up the road, stopped by with the news. I started to cry but figured that was not called for, so cursed instead. He is not the type for jokes, or otherwise I could not have believed it. Where do we go from here? All of you cheap book-store Marxists who had the answer yesterday had better buy bullets. It would not surprise me at all to find Cuba devastated by the time I was up tomorrow. And then a notice in my box: “Report at once.” Well, if my mood at the moment continues, I am just about ready to report as long as they guarantee action. I guess they are probably laughing harder in Mississippi and in the back rooms of the Dallas GOP headquarters than they are right now in Moscow. Maybe in Red China they are whooping it up too, but Khrushchev has better sense.
This is by far the most profound act of the 20th century. But the ski bums are still living it up in the Red Onion. The big laugh. Aspen is a bag of shit.The fact that you like it only reinforces my opinion of your Marxist leanings. You will turn out like those black doctors you deplore - refusing to go into the bush because the bright lights are in town. Bright lights have no politics, and in any politics there are bright lights. It hardly matters what you believe as long as you’re on top, and laughing. Fuck all.
I am considering a retreat to reality. For the next year - at least until the ‘64 elections - every man with balls should be on the firing line. There will be more and more like your boys in Caracas who have only killed 24 this week in an effort to stop elections. If today’s action defined the law in this world, then I am ready for it. And you should warn your friends that not all Americans are soft pot-bellies. The shits were surely killing us, and now they have killed the only hope on the American horizon, the only man who had half a chance of carrying the ball. Now, President Johnson. Jesus Mother. Fuck. Again; where do we go from here?
I would like to be able to define the meaning of this thing, but the further I think, the further the error extends. I see no end to it, and less hope. It will almost surely mean a Goldwater victory in ‘64, a wild reaction against “The Reds.” The democratic (small d) camp will be totally disorganized for too long. Now it is a question of either your kind of fascism or the other kind administered by the men with the fish-bellies. If it were fashionable, I would weep for us all.
After the monstrous frustration of Aspen, the sight of so much giggling scum, I called Louisville, thinking that maybe I could communicate my sense of urgency. But there, of course, it was worse. Maybe like a bad accident of the Dixie Highway. I recall Davison telling me had met Rutledge Lilly at the CC [Command Courier], and Rut had asked about me. Davison told him a few things, and the Rut asked, “Is he going back to school?”
How do you deal with a mentality like that? What can you say? Is he going back to school - How long, O Lord, how long?
But school is out here, The ‘64 elections - beginning tomorrow - will be the most crucial vote in the history of man. Every fish-belly in the nation is out in the open tonight, but for everybody is holding them low until after the funeral. Mine is out too, for that matter, and I don’t figure on putting it away for quite some time. The dirty dealing has come to the surface; fair play was yesterday and maybe tomorrow. If you have any guts at all you will comeback and put your back to the wall with the rest of us. You said in a letter to Peggy Clifford that my concept of America is outdated, divorced from reality and the rest of the world. Probably it is, but I fully intend to go down with it before I give in to either of the other shitty camps. It may be that the fascists will croak us, but not before getting their balls twisted. If only by me.
Your failure to answer my recent burst of letters indicates that you are too wound up in Club Business to consider anything else. You had better wake up; beginning tomorrow, it is no longer safe to bug the establishment. If any one thing is sure it is that the Christians are out, and the Shits are in. And if you think that’s divorced from the rest of the world, just watch. The political clock has been turned back to early Eisenhower & McCarthy. This savage unbelievable killing, this monstrous stupidity, has guaranteed that my children and yours will be born in a shitrain.
I wish crying would solve it, because that would be easy. But there is no sense in crying for lost hope and a dead effort that was only a foot in the door but at least the door was open as long as the foot was there. I recall that night when we climbed off the turnpike in Oregon and hiked into town to watch the first crack opened in the dike. The first debate was the turning point, and I am the firs to admit that since then the gild has gone from the lily. But consider now that the lily is dead, replaced by a toadstool.
If you see any hope, send word. I am, at the moment, as low as I’ve ever been.
TV brings me the rumblings of national idiocy and incompetence. My only hope now is that the Sunday NY Times get here on Thursday.
I sent off a reaction piece to the Observer, but was probably too late for even a delayed press run. But I felt like I had to do something.
Now, surveying the remains, I am on the verge of postponing the good life for the duration of the crisis. I am even thinking of returning to New York if anyone will give me a writing job and the free hand I will of course require in order to make sense of the awful Nazi cockfight that is sure to come. I think the peace will last another 24 hours, then off with the gloves and fuck all. The soft thump of the last piece of sod going into the grave will be the signal for the orgy to begin- and I don’t know if I can stand being so completely removed from the arena as I am now. Under the circumstances, I might even run for president.
At any rate, if your influence at ABC is yet massive enough, you might point out that I am at the moment available as a roving seeker in the news area. I am not available for punk work, no matter what the salary, or even the title. My line is the seeking and assembling of facts into meaningful order. Nothing else.
But I don’t really expect you to come up with an offer, considering the cheap medium you now represent, and I am naturally taking steps in other directions. First, The Reporter, which I doubt could afford to hire me even if they wanted to. At the moment they maintain five writers, and it may be a hard crew to crack.
My other alternative is the Observer, but I turned down one of their offers and hesitate to re-apply for the same reasons I had then. I don’t know if I could stand the editing. This is no time for any man to be beholden in any way to ignorant rednecks. Even so, it would be an opening, and perhaps better than nothing.
I can only hope for your understanding of this even causes YOU to realize your current position in “The Saga of Western Man” is nearly as irrelevant as mine at the moment. And for that reason, I expect you to launch a penetration of some sort, rather than sit on your ass and your $200 rent - which, I must say, is an impressive figure. I trust it has, if nothing else, freed poor Eleanor from toil. Sandy requests, by the way, that Eleanor make some effort at communication.
I have sent several communications in the past few weeks, but none have been answered. Maybe they are not forwarding from your old address. Bone has confirmed your status, so don’t worry. Cooke has failed to communicate in any way and I don’t even know his address. Tell him to make contact.
And if, by chance, your new eminence brings you in contact with anyone who my need my services in the immediate future, by all means send word. Needless to say, I do not seek a job, but rather a position or a connection. Nor do I particularly seek money, except in the form of having my expenses covered in what I undertake. Which would, of necessity, be nothing less than a massive job.
This thing as put us all in bad trouble. Your recent dealings in low finance - coupled with your sudden largess - may have rendered you incapable of clear vision concerning anything more abstract than your wallet. If so, I trust the condition will pass. But if not, you had better refrain from having children, or you may find yourself having to explain in a few years just what you weren’t doing when the chips went down for us all.
I leave you with that, and of course, my congratulations on your success with the Great Nipple [money]. Would that we might all get a grip on it soon. But right now I have other things in my mind, and will do some eating, and clear my head before composing those letters by which I mean to seek my connection.
Hello to Eleanor, and congratulations to her for enduring you this long. Most people - women - would have had better sense.
I have just returned from town and the latest, frustrating bout with TV. My general feeling is a loss of hope in the largest sense, a pessimistic rage, and a disorganized compulsion to enter the fray at once.