They're Hanging the Political Traitor
Dreamed late Sept? 1953 by Jack Kerouac
THEY'RE HANGING THE POLITICAL TRAITOR in my closet up in my room at Phebe Avenue, crowd watching from near the window and I (with friend) from near the corner---It's an old man like the actor Ray Collins, he isnt too scared, not at all in fact---The executioner puts the rope around his neck and for an instant we see a look of distaste (for the rope) (itself) (not death) on the face of the condemned old man---I stand horrified to see it's all "really going to happen!"---the hangman ties the knot and then with no ado puts up laboriously the body of the big man, I had intended not to "watch" but I do "see" and the rope tightens, the politician grimaces to choke, his body rises, silent---no complaint---no comment from the audience---I "dream" his twisted side down deadneck, not moved at all but curious---going downstairs then with Lionel to the parlor where I turn on the television though it's 5 A M and Ma's in the kitchen cheerily making her go-to-work lunch and chatting with also-up Nin---I say to Lionel "But he really wasnt all Ainti Fascist!" and it's my father I'm talking about, my father was hanged---
My mother looks at me as if she didnt recognize me immediately or what I was doing down there---The red livingroom rattle furniture of Lilly Street flat in 1929 is responsible for the horror, the hanging, the guilt, the old Victrola's just a new TV now, is all---the coffin that's never been removed from the parlor of the Kerouacs---le mort dans salle des Kerouac---
Kerouac's dreams consistently portray his dad as giving up on his family, hope, life itself, while his mom persevered. I suspect this is the treason he's hanged for in the dream.
"Ainti Fascist" is not a scanning error for "Anti-Fascist", but a slip in Kerouac's journal. ("Ain't he fascist", perhaps?)
Source: page 152 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 break added.
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