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Beats In Kansas: The Beat Generation in the Heartland

The Last of the Moccasins

by Charles Plymell, 1971
(Vortex excerpt)

[photo: Beat Generation writer Charley Plymell in Moody's Skidrow Beanery shirt, Cherry Valley, NY, 2002. Copyright 2002, Pat O'Connor.]      We were coming back into the Vortex, and I started getting a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. We hit that cyclone energy belt where the vibes were strong and always twisting. When the Indians lived here, the sun was God. Now there is an unseen God. This God is everyone’s extreme image of himself as righteousness personified. And it is O.K. to do wrong if you are convinced you’re right. Great Evangelical Giant took the sun for his own. Right. Righteousness. Right Wing. What did all this mean? Why were there rightists and leftists? Right and left. I learned about this in school. Before that it was just like the sun. Now right and left like a mysterious kaleidoscope gradually pulling apart and going back into another form... always operative eternal rhythm and pitiful man crudely trying to duplicate the process with his mechanical-swastika gears. And that vestigial pineal gland shaped like a tornado right at the ass of the brain. Worse than that, the time warp in the Sargasso Sea! Like curtains closing together and ruffling back. It was like that time I took those pills J. had. J. went to the doctor, the shrink, because he thought he was becoming too homosexual. The shrink gave him some right-handed pills which stimulate the right side of the brain. J. laid ‘em onto me, old me, I’d have snake dreams. They were kind of like psychic energizers but just energize the right side. I went around cussing and gritting my teeth, ready to fight anyone or kick anyone’s ass who got in my way. the whole side of my head felt lopsided, like the right side was swollen. I had all kinds of snake dreams. Ah fuck this town and I took off for San Francisco. As always the end pad of eternity going on out there in that condemned mess. As always going farther west and at the end of west where you can’t go any farther, I felt again the feminine suck of San Francisco. Its energy was all cunt. Suck City. Her twin peaks bloomed before the skyline. A string of jewels wound around her body. A seething jeweled vibrating cunt that will always take you in... in... into that bottomless cunt pit of eternity and you can’t even feel yourself being sucked in until you realize there is very little direction in your own breath. San Francisco... end of the line transgender station... change here for all points. I got off the bus and walked over to Bob’s. He had come up from Big Sur and rented a pad in the Haight. He had tried to move a piano in and it fell into the stairwell crashing into the wall. There he left it and played a tune upon entering and leaving. The back side of it made an excellent harp. He was one of the first Big Sur Indians to settle in the Haight. His house was full of visionary paintings in day-glo color and candles, beads, God’s eyes. We shot up some smack and listened to Bob’s Schubert String Quartet which has an extraordinary sweetness to it. I walked down to Jones St. in the Tenderloin knowing I’d find Betty and Frank down there and no sooner than I got there I saw Frank who was out hustling a few odd jobs.

       I got a room in an alcoholic pensioner hotel and watched old men fight. You get old and you never killed, you keep wanting to kill... You haven’t had your release, haven’t carried out your orders- Cain- from the great apes who learned they can kill because SUBCONCIOUSLY they are haunted by the strange vapors swirling through the bottomless pit of existence. You get feverish, jumpy. The world is passing you by. There is an imbalance in the chromosomes the antimatter forces are keeping side by side with the life forces. It is a race against time against odds as great in number as all the namable items in the universe. The need to kill is somehow retained in the masculine ego setup. You’ve got to apply the personality makeup to the old ape and ass routine. That is also the basis for the swastika. The symbol evolved from and early model of men on their hands and knees with their noses in each other’s ass. The easiest place to break individual will and reform it into the precision gear-like mechanical process is, of course, the army. The whole psychological and power set up of war can be seen in the swastika. The mechanism reaches out in right angels like a gear claw. It resembles iron and metal. We feel the residue in the billion little manly decisions we make daily, while we commit genocide, massacre the ghost dancers. Afraid of death, in everyday politeness we open the doors for each other to turn our backsides.

from The Last of the Moccasins by Charles Plymell, Mother Road Publications, 1996; first published in 1971 by City Lights Books.

Available in electronic form from Cherry Valley Editions: The Last of the Moccasins E-text
  • Charles Plymell, from Kansa, Land of the Wind People, autobiographical sketch, 12/2002
  • Charles Plymell Cosmic Baseball Card
  • "The Prince of Tides," A Timely Fable by Charles Plymell, 1999
  • November 3, 1998; Dark Afternoon for Ray Bremser, poem by Charles Plymell, Evergreen Review
  • Armageddon Rapture Headed End-time Blues, by Charles Plymell, at St. Mark's on the Bowerie, Bowerie Poetry Project, 2006
  • Moody's Skidrow Beanery: Moody Connell, 1960s Hoboes and Beatniks, by Pat O'Connor, Wichita, KS; Photographs

  • Return to the Beats In Kansas or to Kansas Heritage Group or to the WWW-VL: History: USA 1960s History.
    © 1996, Charles Plymell, used with permission; page © 2009 George Laughead, maintainer, Beat Literature, Open Directory Project. Page posted: 28 July 2009. Hosted at WWW-Virtual Library @ www.vlib.us