Big Sur (2013) Movie Script

In the early 1950s, the nation
recognized in its midst
a social movement
called the Beat Generation.
A novel titled "On the Road"
became a best seller,
and its author, Jack Kerouac,
became a celebrity,
partly because he'd written a
powerful and successful book,
but partly because
he, uh, seemed to be
the embodiment
of this new generation.
So here he is, Jack Kerouac.
3,000 miles from Long Island.
It's the first trip I've taken
away from my mother's house
since the publication
of "Road" three years ago.
All over America,
high school and college kids
thinking Jack Kerouac
is 26 years old
and on the road
all the time hitchhiking,
while there I am almost 40
years old, bored and jaded.
The book that made me famous
and, in fact, so much so,
I've been driven mad
for three years
by endless telegrams,
phone calls, requests,
mail, visitors,
reporters, snoopers.
I was surrounded
and outnumbered...
and had to get away
to solitude again or die.
So Lawrence Ferlinghetti
wrote and said,
"Come to my cabin in Big Sur.
No one'll know. "
Although Lawrence and I
exchanged huge letters
outlining how I would sneak in
quietly into the West Coast,
I'd ruined my secret return to San
Francisco by getting silly drunk
and marching forth into North
Beach to see everybody.
Everyone recognized me.
I'm telling you.
Hey, everybody,
the bloody king of the
beatniks is back in town.
Two days of that,
including Sunday,
the day Lawrence Ferlinghetti
is supposed to pick me up
at my secret skid row hotel
and drive me to Big Sur woods.
One fast move,
or I'm gone.
You say I'm alone,
and the cabin is suddenly home
only because you made one meal
and washed
your first meal dishes.
Then nightfall.
The flies retreat
like polite
Emily Dickenson flies,
and when it's dark, they're
all asleep in the trees.
Maybe the bees got
a message to come and see me,
all 2,000 of 'em,
which seems to happen like
a big party once a week.
No booze, no drugs, no binges,
no bouts with beatniks
and drunks
and junkies and everybody.
No better.
What I do now next?
Chop wood?
Long nights simply thinking
about the usefulness
of that little wire scour,
those little
yellow copper things
you buy in supermarkets
for 10 cents,
all to me
infinitely more interesting
than the stupid and senseless
"Steppenwolf" novel
in the shack,
which I read with a shrug,
this old fart reflecting
on conformity of today,
and all the while, he thought
he was a big Nietzsche.
Because on the fourth day,
I began to get bored
and noted it in my diary
with amazement,
"Already bored?"
Even though the handsome
words of Emerson
would shake me out of that,
where he says in one of those
little red leather books
and is relieved and gay
when he has put
his heart into his work
and done his best.
Yet I went crazy
inside three weeks.
In me and in everyone,
I felt completely nude of all
poor protective devices,
like thoughts about life
or meditations under trees
and the ultimate
and all that shit.
In fact, the other pitiful
devices of making supper
or saying, "What I do
now next? Chop wood?"
I see myself as just doomed,
an awful realization that I have
been fooling myself all my life
thinking there was a next thing
to do to keep the show going,
and actually
I'm just a sick clown,
not even really
any kind of common sense,
animate effort to ease the soul
in this horrible, sinister
condition of mortal hopelessness.
I hate to write.
All my tricks laid bare,
even the realization
that they're laid bare itself
laid bare is a lot of bunk.
The sea seems to yell to me,
"Go to your desire.
Don't hang around here.
"Why not live for fun
and joy and love
"or some sort of girl
by a fireside?
Why not go to your desire
and laugh?"
But I ran away
from that seashore
and never came back again
without that secret knowledge
that it didn't want me there,
that I was a fool to sit there
in the first place.
The sea has its waves.
The man has
his fireside, period.
It's time to leave.
I'm so scared by that
iodine blast by the sea
and by the boredom
of the cabin.
I'm tired of my food,
forgot to bring Jell-O.
You need Jell-O after all that bacon
fat and cornmeal in the woods.
Every woodsman needs Jell-O
or Cokes or something.
But before I go, I realize
this isn't my own cabin.
Here's the second signpost
of my madness.
I have no right to hide
Ferlinghetti's rat poison
as I'd been doing,
feeding the mouse instead,
so like a dutiful guest
in another man's cabin,
I take the cover
off the rat poison,
but compromise by simply leaving
the box on the top shelf.
I go dancing off like a fool
from my sweet retreat,
rucksack on back,
after only three weeks
and really after only
three or four days of boredom
and go hankering back
for the city.
I figure I'll get a ride
to Monterey real easy
and take the bus there
and be in Frisco by nightfall
for a big ball of wino yelling
with the gang.
I feel, in fact, Lew Welch
ought to be back by now,
or Neal Cassady
will be ready for a ball,
and there'll be girls
and such and such,
forgetting entirely
that only three weeks previous,
I'd been sent fleeing
from that city by the horrors.
This is the first time
I've hitchhiked in years,
and soon I begin to see that
things have changed in America.
You can't get a ride
anymore, but, of course,
especially on a strictly
tourist road like this
or coast highway
with no trucks or business.
But the tourists,
bless their hearts,
after all, they couldn't know,
only think I'm having a big,
happy hike with my rucksack,
and they drive on.
If you should ever
stop using that smile,
how could the world go on?
We were gonna come down
to see you this weekend.
You should have waited.
Your mom wrote.
She said your cat died.
I'll go get the letter.
My relationship with my cats
has always been dotty.
Some kind of psychological
identification of the cats
with my dead brother Gerard,
who taught me to love cats
when I was three and four
and we used to lie
on the floor on our bellies,
then watch them lap up milk.
The death of a cat
means little to most men,
but to me, it was exactly...
and no lie and sincerely...
like the death
of my little brother.
What the hell?
Why bother grown-up men
and poets at that
with your own troubles?
Maybe you should
go back to the cabin
for a couple of weeks, huh?
Or are you just
gonna get drunk again?
I'm gonna get drunk, yes.
You can go back soon, huh?
Okay, Lorry.
Did you write anything?
We can drink to that.
It's still a cat.
I know he meant a lot to you.
You know that's
the way of things.
Hey, so by City Lights
bookstore the other day,
there was a workman out
in the front, you know,
hammering away with a
jackhammer really loud.
"Yahh. "
Right in the street.
And the psychic above the
studio leans out the window,
and he says,
"When are you gonna stop
making all that racket
down there?"
And the guy looks up,
and he says,
"You're the psychic,
buddy. You tell me. "
Did you write that?
No, I... I read it
in the paper.
Herb Caen wrote it.
Here's to Tyke.
I'll go give Lew a call.
Yeah, Lew, this is Phil.
Listen, I'm down
with Jack at the bar.
Why don't you come down?
Old Jack!
On the rocks, right?
Hey, buddy.
Drinking any less?
Unless we're drinking.
That we are.
Can I get one of what
he's having, please?
Hey, go play a record
or something.
Who's the kid?
Kid I met named Paul Smith.
He's a little scared
of you, I think.
He's a little starstruck.
Yeah, apparently.
Yeah, you know.
Didn't know you
were gonna be here.
Good to see you.
Welcome back.
I'm glad to be back.
We missed you.
I'm back.
So what are you doing back?
What are you doing here?
I been hanging out at Big Sur.
Lawrence sent me down there.
You know where in Big Sur?
How was that?
Thank you.
I realized the
unbearable anguish of insanity.
Big ministers of states,
bishops walking around
with a dirty behind.
How uninformed people can
be thinking insane people are happy.
In America,
they have these racks
of dry-cleaned clothes,
like you see on trips.
And advertising firms with
their neckties and their...
A regular nuthouse actually
and just exactly the image
of what the journalists want to
say about the Beat Generation.
Nevertheless, a harmless and pleasant
arrangement for young bachelors
and a good idea
in the long run,
because you can rush
into any room
and find the expert,
like, say,
Philip's room, and ask...
He said go fuck yourself.
Make your mind like a wall.
Don't pant over
outside activities,
and don't bug me
with your outside plans.
Or you go running
into Lew Welch's room,
and there he is sitting
cross-legged on his mattress
on the floor
reading Jane Austen.
Ain't nothing but a well-cooked
beef and onion stew
that you let cool afterwards.
Then you throw in mushrooms
and lots of sour cream.
I'll come down and show you as
soon as I finish a chapter.
Or you go into Johnson's room
and ask if you can borrow
his tape recorder
because at the moment,
some funny things
are being said in the kitchen
by Michael McClure
and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
There was Zen, jazz, booze,
pot and all the works,
but it was somehow obviated
as a supposedly degenerate idea
by the sight of a beatnik
carefully painting
the wall of his room
in clean white
with nice little red borders
around the door
and window frames.
Come on down, pal.
Let's go see Neal.
My God, what the hell
has happened?
There's nothing but
construction in the Valley now.
Looks like Los Angeles.
Population explosion's
gonna cover
every bit of backyard
dirt in America.
In fact, someday
they'll have to start
piling frigging levels
of houses and others...
I think I see a flying saucer
in the sky over Los Gatos.
It's five miles away.
Yeah. It's just the top
of a radio tower.
We're anxious
to see great Neal Cassady,
who was always
the major part of my reason
for journeying
to the West Coast.
I haven't seen Neal
for several years,
because mainly he just
spent two years in San Quentin
on a stupid charge
of possession of marijuana.
Neal actually loves his home,
paid for by rail road insurance
when he broke his leg trying to
stop a boxcar from crashing.
Loves his kids and especially
his little son,
Timmy John,
partly named after me.
And then there's Caroline.
She's got her mind
on other things
than taking care
of the children,
though all she really wants is to be alone
with me and talk about Neal Cassady,
which includes the fact
of Billie, his mistress,
who has threatened to take
Neal Cassady away completely.
In fact, I can see it now,
a great big
four-way marriage
with Neal and Caroline.
It is...
Hi, Caroline.
Hey, Jack.
All right, you guys
come by around 1:00
when the boss leaves,
and watch me work,
and keep me company
a while, all right,
before you go back to the city?
Neal doesn't like me drinking.
I don't like some of the
things Neal does either.
We all have our something.
Neal's little something
lives in San Francisco.
She might as well move in.
I'll be your something.
I always said
I had two husbands.
You could have picked me.
You're nobody's fool, Jack.
I can see in Neal's eyes
that he can see in my own
eyes the regret we both feel
that recently we haven't
had chances to talk
like we used to do
driving across America.
Oh. Incoming!
Lew Welch now realizes
why I've always
loved Neal Cassady.
Expecting to see
a bitter ex-con,
he sees instead a martyr
of the American night in goggles
in some dreary tire shop
at 2 A.M.
making fellows laugh with joy
with his funny explanations,
yet at the same time, to a performing every bit of the
work he's being paid for.
And then had been reenlisted
in the Army Reserves
in active duty for the
remainder of the war.
My God, he can do all that,
then even explain it
while he's doing it.
Who wants to give it a try?
I'm good.
Come on, Jack.
We know both know
a little something
about retreading.
No, no, no.
I'm fine where I am.
Neal really
loves me like a brother.
And more than that, he gets
annoyed at me sometimes,
especially when I fumble and
bumble like with a bottle.
Far from my clean cot
on the porch in Big Sur,
no blue jays yakking
for me to wake up anymore,
no gurgling creek.
Waking up the next morning,
groaning, of course,
but this is the big day
where we're going to visit
poor Albert Saijo at the
TB hospital in the Valley.
Lew perks me up right away
bringing coffee
or wine, optional.
Any drinker knows
how the process works.
The first day when you
get drunk is okay.
The morning after
means a big head,
but you can kill that easy
with a few more drinks
and a meal.
But if you pass up the meal
and go on
to another night's drunk
and wake up
to keep the toot going
and then continue on
the fourth day,
there will come a day when
drinks won't take effect,
because you're
chemically overloaded,
and you'll have to sleep it off,
but you can't sleep anymore,
because it was
the alcohol itself
that made you sleep
those last five nights.
So delirium sets in,
sleeplessness, sweats,
a groaning feeling of weakness
where your arms
are numb and useless,
nightmares of death.
She's a nudist,
and, by God, she is
gonna practice it.
She's a big,
beautiful brunette
in the line of taste you
might attribute to every slaky,
hungry sex slave in the world,
but also is intelligent,
well-read, writes poetry,
a Zen student,
knows everything,
who is in fact just a big,
healthy, Romanian Jewess
who wants to marry
a good, hardy man
and go live
on a farm in the Valley.
But I can't believe
old Zen master Albert
is going to allow
his body to die.
He's in a bathrobe and looks up
at us almost displeased.
He sighs, and the expression
on his face says,
"Well, ah, so you've come
to see me because I'm sick,
but what do you
really want?"
You're gonna be
all right, Albert.
I don't know.
I guess all that dharma talk
about everything is nothing
is sinking in my bones.
He really
means, "I don't care. "
And always warm
and courteous with me,
he now hardly pays much
of ragged beatniks.
Do you remember those
dancing girls in St. Louis?
Whore candy.
How about the nurses here, huh?
They hot?
There's one.
But Albert
doesn't care anymore,
and, anyway,
it's time to leave.
The other kids are
all back at the car
wondering what's keeping me.
What's keeping me is that I know
Albert will get better
and live
and teach the joyful truth,
and Albert knows I know this.
That's why he's playing
the game with me,
the magic game of glad freedom,
which is that Zen or, for that
matter, the Japanese soul
ultimately means I say.
And someday I will go
to Japan with Albert,
I tell myself,
because I've heard
the supper bell, right?
And knowing Albert's
fantastic appetite,
I don't want to hang him up.
Though he nevertheless
does one last trick.
I lost that tire job.
Because we were there?
Nah, nah, nah.
He's got to lay off some men.
Everything's all fucked
up down here, Jack.
So, uh...
loan me $100, will you?
I'll be right down
and give you $100.
Ah, listen. Listen.
You can just loan it to
me, but if you insist.
How you gonna get down here and
give me that money then, huh?
I'll have Lew drive me down.
Yeah, you'll do that?
Ah, listen,
I'll pay the rent
with it right away.
It's Friday, right?
Or what day is it, Thursday?
Yeah, it's Thursday,
so I don't need to be looking
for a new job till Monday,
so you and me, we can hang out
and talk like we used to do,
and I will
demolish you at chess.
Maybe even go see
a baseball game,
maybe go sneaking
into town and see my...
see my pretty little baby.
What do you say?
All right, I'll see you soon.
I ask Lew, and,
yes, he's ready,
and, yes, he's ready
to go any time.
He's just following me,
like I often
follow people myself,
and so off we go again.
The idea suddenly comes to me
for Lew and me and Neal
to go to the cabin and spend
a big, quiet, crazy weekend,
but when Ferlinghetti
hears this, he'll come, too.
In fact, he'll bring his little
Chinese buddy, Victor Wong,
and we'll catch Michael McClure
at Santa Cruz
and go visit Henry Miller,
and suddenly another big,
huge ball has begun.
I'll just spend a couple
days with Jack and the gang
and look for a new job Monday.
There you go.
Have fun.
Get out.
The air's so good.
Here we go.
Thank you.
Not that I'm talking about
us or anybody in particular.
I wouldn't even dare that.
Must be awful at night.
Reminds me of
the old Colorado, by God.
It's like they say. It's like
a cathedral of redwoods.
This is the kind of place where you
should really be alone, you know.
There's such a sad
sweetness to these trees,
as though yelling
would insult them.
Hey, over here, Lawrence!
McClure is
the handsome young poet
who's just written
the most fantastic poem
in America called "Dark Brown,"
which is every detail
of his and his wife's body
described in ecstatic union
and communion
and inside out
and every which way,
and not only that,
he insists on reading it to us.
But I want to read
my sea poem, too.
"Let me be a torch to myself.
"Oh, heart-sick, burn
strive past the drift-ease
"to the depth within, making a
film of the gene over the surface.
Say meat hand the hand black in the
deed as this damned pleasure!"
You are beautiful!
Too many people
now want to talk to us
and tell us their stories.
We've been hemmed in and
surrounded and outnumbered.
The circles closed in on
the old heroes of the night.
That's what he
told me last week.
Oh, what was it?
Oh, yes.
I've gotten
the idea in my head
I'm the leader
of a guerilla warfare unit,
and I'm marching ahead, the
lieutenant giving orders.
With all our flashlights
and yells,
we come swarming
down the narrow path,
going hup, one, two, three,
and challenging the enemy
to come out of hiding.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
Hey, Jack! Jack.
Whoo! You got
to see this, man.
The night ending
with everybody passing out
exhausted on cots,
in sleeping bags.
Outside, McClure goes home
with wife.
Victor and I
by late fire keep up,
yelling spontaneous
questions and answers
right till dawn like.
Circles momentarily complete
the balance of forces
lying together
into love that never
have slipped out.
I kiss your shoulder,
and it reeks of lust.
Well, Jack, I didn't get a
chance to talk to you yesterday
or last year or even 10 years
ago when I first met you.
You know, I can remember
being so terrified
when I first met you and Neal.
You looked like a couple of
bank robbers or car thieves.
You know, all this sneery stuff
they've written against us,
against San Francisco,
against Beat poetry writers,
that's because none of us
really look like that.
We don't look like writers or
intellectuals or anything.
I... I must say that
you and Neal, well,
you look pretty awful in a way.
I... I must say that,
you know, well,
let's just say
you've seen better days.
Man, you ought to go to Hollywood
and play Billy the Kid.
What I'd rather do is go to
Hollywood and play Rimbaud.
Well, you can't
play Jean Harlow.
You know what I really want?
I want to get "Dark Brown"
published in Paris.
So, if ever possible...
I don't know...
a word from you
to Gallimard or Girodias,
it... it would help.
I don't know.
You know, when I first read your
book of poems, "Mexico City Blues,"
I turned around, and I started
writing completely differently.
Everything changed, man.
That book...
it enlightened me.
That's nothing like
what you do.
In fact, it's miles away.
I'm a language spinner,
and you're an idea man.
I used to do this in a work
gang in southern Arizona.
Who's got the chops?
Lawrence, show 'em
how it's done!
No tree was left alive.
I realized you can
always study the character of a man
by the way he chops wood.
Ferlinghetti took neat,
little, short-handled chops.
Oh, whoa.
Whereas old Whalen
slogged away,
I guess, the way he
learned in Oregon,
getting his job done
silently, not a word.
Little Victor thereupon
tried his luck,
but gave up after five strokes.
The ax was likely
to carry him away anyway.
I'm really happy for the
first time in three years.
Then Lew Welch demonstrated
with big, easy strokes,
and in no time, we had
five huge logs to use.
Neal's fantastic,
fiery character showed
in the way he went at that
log with horrible force.
When he brought down that ax
with all his might
and holding it far at the end,
you could hear
the whole tree trunk
groaning the whole length
He brought
that ax down so hard,
his feet left the Earth
when it hit.
It was like an example
of vast, but senseless strength.
He chopped off his log
with the fury of a Greek god.
Whop, de-doo whop,
whop, de-doo whop...
Now it was
time to get in the cars.
McClure had rearrived, and we go
driving south down the Coast Highway
to a hot springs
bathhouse down there,
which sounded good
to me at first.
The boys reassure me the hot
springs bath will do me good.
They see I'm gloomy,
now hungover for good.
Look, there's
a dead otter down here.
But when we arrive,
my heart sinks again
as McClure points out to sea
from the balcony
of the outdoor pools.
And sure enough, it is
a dead otter, I guess,
a big, brown pale lump
floating up and down
It's just an otter.
With the swells
in the ghastly weeds.
"My otter. Why did he die?"
I ask myself in despair.
Why do they do that?
What's the sense of all this?
I borrow McClure's yellow
bathing suit and get in.
It's very typical
of me and Neal
that we won't undress
in this situation.
We were both raised Catholics,
supposedly the big sex heroes
of our generation.
Not to mention that
when somebody informs me
this bathhouse is owned by the
young writer Kevin Cudahy,
whom I knew
very well in New York.
I ask one of the young strangers,
"Where's Kevin Cudahy?"
He doesn't even deign to reply.
Thinking he hasn't heard me,
I ask again.
No reply. No notice.
I ask a third time, it all
adds up to the confusion
that's beginning to pile up in my
battered drinking brain anyway.
The constant reminders of death,
not the least of which
was the death of my peaceful
love of Bixby Canyon
now suddenly becoming a horror.
To you.
All right, ready?
No, you play for me.
Hey, morning.
It looks like everybody
else, um, took off.
Is it all right if I stay?
I couldn't think of any way
to reject his request
in a harmless way, so said yes.
I... Yeah, I don't really
have a ride, so...
So when they all left
suddenly, I was alone
with this mad beatnik kid,
singing, "All I
want to do is sleep. "
You want some salami?
I mean...
yeah, I don't
really have a ride.
But I've got
to make the best of it
and not disappoint
his believing heart,
because, after all,
the poor kid actually believes
that there's something noble and
idealistic about this Beat stuff,
and I'm supposed to be
the king of the beatniks.
A dead mouse.
Hey, you got to watch
out for snakes, huh?
Never can tell which
kind it's gonna be.
Happy birthday, Jack!
Happy birthday!
Oh, I have good news for you.
I have brought Caroline and
Emily and Gaby and Timothy,
because all of us are so grateful
and glad because of your $100.
I have the most fantastic
story to tell you.
Come on. Let's get him
outside and tell the story.
Come on, get up!
Come on, get up!
Here, take him.
Take him. Take him.
So I have to have my old good buddies
push it down the road for me,
and this guy, he had this
perfect gem of a Cadillac.
A Cadillac, mind you, with
a new radio... get in...
and new headlights
and a this-a
and that-a
down to the new set of tires.
Oh, and the color, the color
that'll knock you out.
And a new job.
Jack, I got a new job along
with a new Cadillac,
a new job
in downtown Los Gatos,
where I don't even
have to drive.
I don't even have to drive.
It's a half mile, Jack.
I can walk.
Listen to that.
That is it.
Ah, that is it.
Go, girls! Get him!
I tell you, being away from
the men, I lost time, brother.
I lost more than time.
I lost a piece of soul,
but I'm getting it back!
Neal has gotta learn to control
the enormous forces
that run inside of him.
You speaking to me?
What are you doing, Jack?
You see that grove there?
Once in a while, you'll be
surprised out of your shoes
to see the mule
quietly meditating...
With locks of hair like
Ruth's over his forehead,
a big biblical mule meditating.
But up here,
look at that bridge.
Yeah. Now, what do
you think of that?
It's big.
A man needs truth like
a machine needs oil.
Well, then there's Neal.
He just manicures
his little white lies
so much that they
turn into black ones.
I don't know.
Oh, you will.
Yeah, you will.
All right.
You and me,
we're gonna go...
we're gonna go flying down
that Bayshore Highway
and go rubbing shoulders
into that city.
Then we're going
to go popping up
into my sweet
little baby Wilhelmina.
I'm gonna leave you two little
lovebirds days on end alone
so you can just live and enjoy
that gone little woman,
because, I tell you,
I want her to dig
every possible thing
you have to tell her about what
it is that you know, you hear?
'Cause she is my...
you know, she's my soul mate,
my confidante,
my mistress, and I want her
to learn, to be happy.
What's she look like?
She's all right.
She's got a gone little
body, I'll tell you that.
But in bed, oh,
she's the first and only
and last possible
greatest thing.
You dig?
I dig.
Ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah...
You're here!
It's Lucien.
My God, it's Lucien.
Neal hates Lucien,
and Lucien hates Neal.
You look like Lucien,
but you're not Lucien,
and on top of that, you're a woman.
How goddamn strange.
So I'm gonna go
back to Los Gatos
and get some sleep
before I have to work.
Poor Neal Cassady.
Yet, you see,
I've already explained
why actually subconsciously
this is what he
really wants to happen,
but he won't admit it ever
and always invents reasons
around this
to get mad at me
and call me a bastard.
I even see in my drunkenness
a little worried flutter
in Neal Cassady's eyes.
I'll come back tomorrow.
Her voice is the main point.
She talks with a broken heart.
Her voice lutes brokenly
like a heart lost,
musically, too,
like in a lost groove.
I just marvel
and stare at her mouth,
wondering where all the beauty
is coming from and why.
And we end up making love
sweetly, too.
A little blonde
well experienced
in all the facets
of lovemaking.
Why is it dark outside?
Why did the sun
shine yesterday?
Doesn't he bother you
with all these questions?
He's one of the
weirdest persons I've ever met.
I answer him because I may be
missing his next question.
Everything he asks me
and says to me
represents something important about
the absolute I may be missing.
He has large, liquid
brown eyes, very beautiful,
and he hates anybody
who comes near his mother
and keeps asking her
questions constantly.
What do you mean
about the absolute?
You yourself said
everything is the absolute.
But, of course, she's right.
And I realize that,
in my dirty old soul,
I'm already jealous of Elliott.
Hey, darling.
You hungry?
Yeah? Okay.
Here we go.
Lots and lots of milk, right?
There you go.
I feel myself skidding.
At night, Billie comes home,
and we pitch into love again
like monsters who
don't know what else to do.
And by now, I'm too blurry to
know what's going on anyway,
though she reassures me
everything is all right.
We're already
going to get married
and fly away
to Mexico in a week.
In fact, I can see it now,
a great big
four-way marriage
with Neal and Caroline.
I feel myself skidding
also because,
during the following week,
I keep sitting in the same
chair by the goldfish bowl,
drinking bottle
after bottle of port
like an automaton
worrying about something.
Ferlinghetti comes to visit,
McClure, almost everybody.
So Neal's secret
is public, huh?
They call to
me dashing up the stairs,
and we have
long, drunken days talking,
but I never seem
to get out of that chair
and never even take another
delightful warm bath reading books.
You should only drink
white wine, Jack.
That'll kill you.
Are you gonna come back
and get me here?
I'm feeling like
I'm hiding the weapon.
In a few days.
Just stay there.
Have you heard about that?
There's this strange group of,
uh, beatniks or whatever.
A- And they wear the most... the
most dandy clothes,
you know,
or they'll turn around
a- and have
these fancy pants,
unpressed, of course,
with torn sneakers.
Jack, you know what Lenora
and I did the other day?
We went and saw
the "The Wizard of Oz. "
Lenora after the movie
thought it would be fun
if we maybe had sex
with a midget
or something or a
munchkin or... you know.
I don't know, though. I've never had
sex with a midget or a munchkin.
You know what's freaking
me out are those fish.
I don't understand
that their world is...
their world is so small.
It's just right in there,
and then they can't
really go anywhere,
and their world is just
encompassed in this little space.
Do you ever think about that?
I think about that a lot.
I think that their world is so
small and our world is so big.
But our world
is getting smaller, too,
because now Hawaii is a
state, and Alaska is a state.
We went from 48 to 50...
I realize it's just
a little family home scene,
and I'm just a nut
in the wrong place.
Meanwhile, Neal has
completely disappeared.
This chair that you've
been sitting in for days,
have you noticed the bottom
is falling out of it?
Jack, you need some sleep.
How long have you been
sitting in that chair?
I've been, um, sitting here,
waiting for Billie
to come home.
Well, my God, let's go
outside, and sit by the water.
Only if we get another bottle.
Hmm. I have one
right here.
So Philip and me, we made our
city hike over to the bay,
where there is sound that
harkens slightly up to Sur
that I had abandoned
in betrayal.
Ah, Philip, I'm sorry
I ruined our day
by sleeping like this.
You needed to sleep.
I told you.
How long was I sleeping?
I'm sorry.
Why should you be sorry?
I love you anyway.
Was I snoring?
You were snoring all day,
and I've been
sitting here all day.
What a beautiful day.
It's been a beautiful day.
How strange.
I smoked a whole package
of Edgewood.
It's been a very strange day.
Are you sad
I didn't talk to you?
Not at all.
In fact, I'm glad.
Watching life.
Maybe we don't know
all that we think we know.
Where's she going?
Does she has some
secret sailor lover?
She only gonna finish her typing
after hours in the office?
What if we knew, Philip,
what every one of these people
going by is headed for?
Some door, some restaurant,
some secret romance?
You sound like you
stored up a lot of energy
and interest in life
out there in the woods.
What did you do all day?
I was with Philip Whalen
and slept by the water.
Here are your vegetables, honey.
Billie, what are we gonna do?
We'll get married and fly
to Mexico with Elliott.
Billie, I don't want
to get married, I'm afraid.
I want to go home
and die with my cat.
what have I done wrong?
I'll tell you what
you've done wrong.
You withhold your love...
from a woman like me.
And previous women...
and future women like me.
can you imagine all the fun
we'd have being married?
Going out to hear jazz?
Or even taking planes
to Paris suddenly
and all the things I have to
teach you and you teach me?
I'm a creepy, strange guy
you don't even know.
Creepy, strange guy...
that I love.
I love.
We could go live in an old
log cabin in the hills,
never say anything for years.
Let's leave the city
and take Elliott with us
and go to Ferlinghetti's cabin
in the woods for a week,
for two weeks,
forget everything.
Jack, I love you.
I'll call Lew Welch,
and he'll drive us
to Big Sur cabin.
We'll be alone
in the woods at least.
I'm telling you
that's what I want to do.
Hello, Lew?
There you are.
Know what I'm
calling you about?
Listen, pal,
take that big brunette Lenora,
that Romanian madwoman,
and pack her in Willie
and come down to Billie's
here and pick us up.
We'll pack
while you's en route.
Honey's on, and we'll all go spend two
weeks of bliss in Ferlinghetti's cabin.
What's the purpose of all this?
Just to see you, and we can
talk about purposes anywhere.
Oh, Lew, I... I wanted
to stop by, uh, Neal's.
It always starts out
good like that, the bad moments.
Nothing is gained or lost
also by the fact
that I insist we stop
at Neal Cassady's en route
so I can pick up
some clothes I left there,
but secretly I want Caroline
to finally come
face-to-face with Billie.
He always wants
to drive my car.
It's my Willie.
I'll settle
things with you.
Billie's out in the Jeep.
Of course it was you who was
destined to bring her here.
What's Neal so worried about?
Oh, you're just spoiling all his
chance to be real secretive.
He hasn't come and seen us
for a whole week.
That's in a way what happened.
Just left me stranded there.
Well, why don't you
bring her in?
Honey, you should
probably get her a drink.
What can I get you to drink?
Eh, the usual.
That's fine.
I just love the color
of these walls, Caroline.
What do you call that color?
Caroline, did you
know that Billie
has a lovely little boy
called Elliott?
Asks a whole bunch
of questions,
really charming.
Neal never mentioned that.
Well, what
a great idea this was.
Let's toast, um...
Let's toast Neal.
Across the meadow and back
to the haunted cabin.
I begin to feel extremely low
as soon as last night's
alcohol wears off.
I can't chop wood
for fear I'll cut a foot off.
I can't sleep. I can't sit.
I can't pace.
I keep going to the creek
to drink water
till finally I'm going
down there a thousand times,
making Lew Welch wonder, as
he's come back with more wine.
I'm hungry.
Lew is hungry.
Are you starving?
I'm through starving.
What shall we eat?
Tell you what, I got an idea.
I am now gonna
go out surf casting
for a grab bag of fish
for a marvelous supper.
Lenora, you get a salad ready,
whatever else we need,
or you can...
Oh, no, no.
Oh doh doh doh doh doh
We're gonna leave the two
of you alone now, okay?
Why don't we go to Nepenthe
and private our grief tonight?
And drink Manhattans?
Or go see Henry Miller?
I'm so exhausted, I can't
do anything or see anybody.
Already feeling awful guilt
about Henry Miller anyway.
We've made an appointment
with him about a week ago,
and instead of showing up at his
friend's house in Santa Cruz at 7:00,
we're all drunk at 10:00,
calling long distance.
And poor Henry just said,
"Well, I'm sorry
"I don't get to meet you,
Jack, but I'm an old man,
"and at 10:00, it's time
for me to go to bed.
You'd never make it here
till after midnight now. "
His voice on the phone
just like his records,
nasal, Brooklyn,
good-guy voice,
and him disappointed in a way,
because he's gone
to the trouble
of writing the preface
to one of my books.
Though I suddenly now think
in my remorseful paranoias,
"Ah, the hell with it.
"He was only
getting in the act,
"like all these guys
write prefaces
So you don't even get
to read the author first,"
as an example
of how really psychotically
suspicious and loco
I was getting.
I'd begun to realize
in my soberness
that this thing
had come too far,
that I don't love Billie,
that I'm leading her on,
that I made a mistake
dragging everyone here,
that I simply
want to go home now,
that I'm just plumb sick and
tired, just like Neal, I guess.
I suddenly wonder if she's going to
horrify the heavens and me, too,
with a sudden suicide walk
into those awful undertows.
I see her sad
blonde hair flying,
the sad, thin figure
alone by the sea,
the leaf-hastening sea.
"You are my last chance,"
she said,
but don't all women say that?
Can it be I'm withholding from her
something sacred just like she says?
Or am I just a fool
who will never learn
to have a decent,
eternally minded
deep-down relation
with a woman
and keep throwing that away
for a song and a bottle?
Ladies and gentlemen,
what we are having
is a sacrificial banquet
with all kinds of goodies
laid in a regal spread around
one little delicious fish,
so that we may pray to that fish
and take tiny, little bites.
Now, there's only about
four bites apiece, okay?
But there's all kinds of
different parts of the fish
where the bites are
even more significant
or substantial or beneficial.
But let me tell you, however,
the real way to properly
fry a fish...
That's fantastic.
Flipping the fish, now!
We're having fish, Jack.
Here you go, Jack.
You gotta eat, Jack.
I whispered love into
every orifice of that bite.
Oh, Lew, that looks beautiful.
Thank you.
It's beautiful.
Let us pray.
This is the fish that
we're now gonna partake of
and feed us so that
we shall be stronger.
Thank you, fish people.
Thank you, fish god.
Thank you, moon,
for giving us
our light tonight.
This is the night
of the full moon fish...
which we are now going to consecrate
with our first delicate bite.
fish has all the death
of otters and mouses
right in it.
And that first bite
is for Jack.
It's just a tiny,
little bite, Jack.
Just chew it very slowly.
You just chew it really slowly.
Is he chewing?
Yes, my drink.
I'll have that piece.
If I try to turn over,
the whole universe
turns over with me.
It's no better on the other side
of the universe.
You got me all wrong.
I wouldn't be any good for you.
I know that now.
You're just tired of life,
and you want to sleep,
and in a way, that's
what I want to do, too.
Only, I've got Elliott
to worry about.
Could take both our lives
and solve that.
You, creepy talk.
You told me the first night
you loved me,
that I was
the most interesting,
that you hadn't met
anyone you liked so much,
and then you just
went on drinking.
I really can see now what
they say about you is true.
You keep groaning
about how sick you are,
and you really don't
think about others enough,
and I know you can't help it,
but you are
really ratty sometimes.
But even that,
I know you can't help.
Why can't you follow through
with what your heart knows
is good and best and true?
You give up so easy
to discouragement.
And I guess, too,
you don't really want me.
You want to go home
and resume your own life
with Louise.
No, I couldn't with her either.
I'm just bound up inside
like constipation!
I can't move emotionally,
like you'd say
emotionally as though
that were some big,
grand, magic mystery!
Everybody's saying, "Oh,
how wonderful life is!"
How miraculous! God's made
this, and God made that!"
How do you know he doesn't
hate what he did?
He might even be drunk and not
noticing what he went and done!
Though, of course,
that's not true.
Maybe God is dead.
No. God can't be dead,
because he's the unborn!
You have all these philosophies
and sutras
you keep talking about.
But don't you see?
They've all become empty words!
I realize I've been playing
like a happy child
all my life
with words, words, words
in a big, serious tragedy!
Look around!
I've never
screamed in my life.
It's the first time
I'm not confident
I can hold myself together,
no matter what happens.
The devils
come after me tonight.
The creek will give me water
that will clear away
Suddenly the water in the creek
tastes different...
as though somebody's thrown
gasoline or kerosene in it.
The unbearable
anguish of insanity.
There's a tightening
around the head that hurts.
There's a terror of the mind
that hurts even more.
I feel evil forces
gathering down all around me
from her,
the kid...
the very walls of the cabin...
and the trees.
Even the sudden thought of Lew
Welch and Lenora is evil.
They're all coming now.
Love me...
Even... Even if we never
see each other again,
let this last night
be beautiful.
I'm carking in my canyon.
Can you just do that for me...
Everything is death.
For the both of us?
They all look dead.
I can't.
I'm with you, Jesus,
for always,
but there's a battle somewhere,
and the devils
keep coming back.
Why can't you?
Jack, please?
I see the cross.
It's silent.
It stays a long time.
My whole body fades away to it.
I don't want to scare Billie
or anybody
with my death scream.
So I swallow the scream
and just
let myself go into death.
I can't possibly
stay here another minute.
You gotta drive us
all back to town.
Okay, but I sure wish we could stay
another week like Lenora wants to do.
Well, you drive me
and come back.
Heh. I don't know if
Lawrence would like that.
We already dirtied up
the place aplenty.
In fact, we gotta dig a garbage
pit to get rid of all the junk.
I'll do it.
It's exactly the size
fit for putting
a little dead Elliott in it.
We've all
read Freud sufficiently
to understand something there.
Want to finish
the job yourself?
What do you mean?
Well, I said I'd dig
the garbage pit,
and I've done that.
Aren't you supposed
to do the rest?
I'll dump earth over it
and tamp it down.
No, no, no, no!
What's the matter
with this kid?
Is he a cretin?
Come on, Elliott.
you are so fucking neurotic.
The hell with this madness.
Just a golden wash of goodness
has spread over all and
over all my body and mind.
All the dark torture
is a memory.
I know now I can
get out of there.
We'll drive back to the city.
I'll take Billie home.
I'll say goodbye
to her properly.
She won't commit no suicide
or do anything wrong.
Billie will go on being golden
one way or the other.
The little boy will grow up
and be a great man.
Lenora's life will go on.
Old Lew will manage somehow.
I'll forgive them
and explain everything.
And Neal Cassady
and Albert Saijo
and ravened Michael McClure
and perfect,
starry Philip Whalen,
they'll all pass through
one way or the other.
I'll stay with Ferlinghetti
at his home a few days,
and he'll smile and show me
how to be happy a while.
We'll drink dry wine
instead of sweet
and have quiet evenings
in his home.
Ferlinghetti will say,
"That's all there is to it. "
"Take it easy.
Everything's okay. "
"Don't take things too serious. "
"It's bad enough as it is"
without you going the deep end
over imaginary conceptions,
"just like you
always said yourself. "
I'll get my ticket
and say goodbye on a flower day
and leave
all San Francisco behind
and go home
across autumn America,
and it'll all be like
it was in the beginning,
simple, golden eternity,
blessing all.
Nothing ever happened,
not even this.
There'll be farewells
and smiles.
My mother will be
waiting for me glad.
The corner of the yard
where Tyke is buried
will be a new
and fragrant shrine,
making my home
more homelike somehow.
Something good will come
out of all things yet,
and it will be golden
and eternal just like that.
There's no need
to say another word.