Derby Day, 2012—a good day (as if any day’s not!) to read some Hunter S. Thompson.
Click HERE to read The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, HST’s 1970 article for Scanlan’s Monthly that depicts the derby as a “jaded, atavistic freakout with nothing to recommend it except a very saleable ‘tradition.’”
Also: “Anybody who wanders around the world saying, ‘Hell yes, I’m from Texas,’ deserves whatever happens to him.”
“The true essence, the secret recipe of the forest and the light and the dark was far too fine and subtle to be observed with my blunt eye—water sac and nerves, miracle itself, fine itself: light catcher. But the thing itself is not the forest and light and dark, but something else scattered by my coarse gaze, by my dumb intention. The quilt of leaves and light and shadow and ruffling breezes might part and I’d be given a glimpse of what is on the other side; a stitch might work itself loose or be worked loose. The weaver might have made one bad loop in the foliage of a sugar maple by the road and that one loop of whatever the thread might be wound from—light, gravity, dark from stars—had somehow been worked loose by the wind in its constant worrying of white buds and green leaves and blood-and-orange leaves and bare branches and two of the pieces of whatever it is that this world is knit from had come loose from each other and there was maybe just a finger width’s hole, which I was lucky enough to spot in the glittering leaves … and nimble enough to scale the silver trunk and brave enough to poke my finger into the tear, that might offer to the simple touch a measure of tranquillity or reassurance.”
Thoreau mighta said this, but he didn’t—Paul Harding did.
Excited for this one! Anyone who knows me at all knows that Jack Kerouac is my fave. Always has been, always will be. I know the Sierra Nevadas to be wild and starry-skied because of Dharma Bums. I know the Nor Cal coast to be raw and lonely because of Big Sur. I know love to be a stand off because of The Subterraneans, The Town And The City, On The Road … too many to mention here.
Also, I’ve been having neck problems lately and have resorted to standing on my head daily (good for the spine?), which I know to be something Kerouac did to allay his own neck pain. The act of hunching over a typewriter (back then) and a computer (now) being pretty much on-par bad for one’s back.
Anyhow, I’ve posted this one before, but here t’is again. A poem by Jack Kerouac:
How to Meditate
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
i hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance-Healing
all my sicknesses-erasing all-not
even the shred of a “I-hope-you” or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it off, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes-and
with joy you realize for the first time
“thinking’s just like not thinking-
So I don’t have to think