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In Watsonville California

Dreamed early Nov. 1953 by Jack Kerouac

Snakes fly over Elkhorn Slough near Watsonville, California; dream by Jack Kerouac, sketch by Wayan.

IN WATSONVILLE CALIFORNIA with my mother suddenly (in the marshes outside, at around Elkhorn or Moss Landing that Steinbeck wrote about and where I braked on the SP) we see a flock of flying snakes, reminiscent too of those seahorses in the picture yesterday and green and with little curved-for-flying spine bodies and the faint suggestion of transparent butterfly whirrers and awfully disgusting---"C'est des cockrelles," my mother says with great disdain and disgust, "They're just cockroaches"---she's not fooled---they're cockroach people impersonating as flying snakes and she's seen it before---

At once I'm reminded of Irwin Garden (Pa called him cockroach), Hubbard, all my friends my mother hates & fears and in fact one of the snakes suddenly flops over my neck "like Garden!" I think frantically dodging to run, "like the importunate advances of affection from my disgusting friends!"---the flock of snakes over the marsh fly away---

Later, right after, I see a vision of the Katzenjammer kid that had dark hair, striped shirt, he's pulling down a prize box from heaven on a rope and pulley, it turns out to be a mother with gifts---

--Jack Kerouac


"Irwin Garden": Kerouac's pseudonym for Allen Ginsberg. Not too flattering. But at least this night Kerouac's dreaming mind agrees with his mom: his Beat friends are parasites.

Katzenjammer Kids: at first glance, this afterdream seems unrelated. It's not. The Katzenjammers were rowdy, disobedient & ungrateful sons on the Sunday comics page; Jack dreams this unworthy son gets a mom from heaven with gifts. Like, perhaps, the gift to see through shimmering literary disguises... to the roach beneath. The followup dream urges Jack to take his mom's view seriously.

Mind you, Ginsberg was a powerful poet. But you can be both--real poet, real mooch.

Source: page 182 of Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac, expanded (2001) edition, City Lights Books.
Date: estimated from sequence.
Title: Kerouac always capitalized a dream's first phrase as a working title, even if it didn't fit the dream as a whole.
Paragraph breaks added. I apologize to purists.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: flying - snakes - roaches - moms - advice in dreams - monsters - parasites and vampires - more Kerouac - Wayan dreams of bohemian mooches in Dramatic Parasites and Beryl Borrowed It - more odd flying critters over Monterey Bay, in Spit Door & Zelig Flies

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