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“What’s thet you’re looking at now?”

“A letter, a letter. And if you think I’m gonna read a guy’s letter, you’re crazy. It’s his letter, ain’t it? Why do you ask so many stupid questions?”

“I didn’t axe you to read the letter, I want to know what it says on it,” moaned the other man.

“It says Private Charles G. Martin, APO San Francisco, that’s all it says, and it comes from some guy called George Martin, that’s all. George Martin of 255 State Street, Brooklyn, U.S.A.”

“Didn’t you say he come from Massachussetts?”

“Yeah, he came from Massachusetts but he’s got a letter here from Brooklyn, some guy he knows, maybe his brother or his father or his cousin or somebody”— Thompson was speaking with gentle defeated wariness now— “somebody with the same last name living in Brooklyn, you see?”

“Well then, thet’s all I wanted to know, boy.”
— Jack Kerouac, from The Town And The City (1950)

Kenny Wisdom notes: Not the best passage from not the best Kerouac but for years it’s all the published Kerouac there was. And 255 State Street, eh? Is “thet” true?

FACT: Jack Kerouac, in his letters, mentioned poet, publisher, photographer Jonathan Williams numerous times— see Kerouac’s Selected Letters Volume 2: 1957-1969 for starters.

FACT: Brian Berger celebrated Jonathan Williams’ birthday last week at hilowbrow.com, where Luc Sante, once a poet, likewise paid homage to Ring Lardner.

Caz Dolowicz asks: What would Groucho drink?

One Response to “Kerouac In Brooklyn– Part I of a series”

  1. [...] The Town and the City, Jack Kerouac housed the parents of his main character in Brooklyn and mentioned the Boerum Hill [...]

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