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My Dream Nightjob

Dreamed late 1956 or early '57 by Jack Kerouac

photo of writer Jack Kerouac by a train.

MY DREAM NIGHTJOB for the past several years of dreaming, I'm going to it at night in a fabulous 4-story-high bus across the railroad tracks near that perennial Brooklyn like Pittsburgh like waterfront, around midnight, and as we bounce over the track l'm reminiscing about my railroad work right on that very track when they'd kicked a boxcar and I threw the switch after it, after it crossed over the points, and then I ran after it and clambered up and braked it to a stop before the deadblock---Proudly, and now as my bus arrives at my nightjob destination "near Yankee Stadium" I gulp and start the great horror of coming down the fourstory busladder on the outside, my hands closing around the grab ladder into tight white fists as I look down at the lucky people on the rain glistening cobbles below---But I negotiate the last 20 feet by half swinging half flying down the ladder and landing in a graceful airy jump to impress workmen, who dont watch---

In topcoat and good clothes I clack off to my midnight job (my mindnight job) which is at the office of a garage again,where I know my work so well I'm always deigning to be a little late---Enroute I pass a candy store where just as I'm to buy an ice cold grape soda from the drinkbox some other character occupies the tiny drink-spot before it and I curse---

Suddenly I'm some sort of elder brother greedily eating his chocolate pudding and wont give any to the baby, who then, in a William Blake newly-discover'd poem, makes his beautiful complaint

"Is nature
"Something not new, something not perfumed
something not new, something not perfumed"

as he runs his cherubic fingers and counts the panes and missing-panes of the window by his crib with the dusty glass---It is a definite new poem by Blake so beautiful that at points the language of the verse fairly gurgles with babylikeness, just perfect---I can remember long innocent questions complaining about the elder brother's delectable avarice and then the wild witty takeoffs---Ah me---

--Jack Kerouac


I posted these dreams (two, three, four?) because they reveal Kerouac learning to enjoy his three-ring circus of dreams--there's a definite (and, I think, new) affection toward whatever spirit tosses him down four-story omnibus ladders, turns him into a bratty brother, generates new Blake poems. Other dreams of this period like At a California Camp are explicitly Buddhist; though this one isn't, his studies have had an effect. It's all Maya, all a show. "Ah me---"

Source: page 299-300 of Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac, expanded (2001) edition, City Lights Books.
Date: estimated from sequence. Page 285 is "Spring 1955"; p.303 is "the day after the publication of ON THE ROAD" (July '57)
Title: Kerouac always capitalized a dream's first phrase as a working title, even if it didn't fit the dream as a whole. I'd have just called it "Blake".

--Chris Wayan

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