Robert Gibbons: Mercy On
In one sense I just want to jot this down (it is pleasurable to begin to write most anything at this stage in life: postcard, email, journal entry, marginal note) along with others taken in preparation for the talk in Denmark, Kerouac & the Ecstatic Act of Writing. (I mean one such bit of research late last night before hitting the sack brought in D. H. Lawrence saying the Soul needs stand on the ground “among the potsherds.”) So these two dreams, one after another seem relevant. Away from home in a strange bed, maybe the sense of travel partly instigated the appearance of a book with Kerouac’s profile on the cover. You know how a dream needn’t be explicit in imagery, voice, or lettering to intuitively take in all at once the rush of interpretive meaning, for although what showed up there in the dream: book, profile photograph of the author, & title, what I assumed, there & then, was a book from a lost manuscript recently rediscovered in some archive, & that the title printed on the deep maroon cover, Mercy On, was a collection of sea tales Kerouac kept during his merchant marine days, & crazily I suppose, there was a ship named Mercy. But, of course, upon waking one begins to wonder who had, or what Fate rendered such Mercy, & on whom? In the next dream two fantastic butterflies appeared in rapid succession: the first in the shape of the Tiger Swallowtail I saw most recently, a month ago, fly out of a bride’s shoulder while speaking during an outdoor wedding ceremony, translucent with purple tinge; the second, huge, otherworldly, blue, orange, & black with added three-dimensional circular filaments continuously rising above the wings flew behind me, then felt it cling to my head, whereupon I asked Kathleen to take a picture with her cell phone, even though already picturing it there from a third-person perspective.
Photo: Robert Frank - Kerouac Sleeping, 1958 (Cover of Book of Dreams)