“And it is true, it is true
I saw the ships
beautiful as ever maiden singing in a dream
Yes, I saw the ships
but they were all sailing away”
— Kenneth Patchen
“Of the same beauty were stars made
That they might guide their earthly sister
When she undertook the white still journey
Into the country of His gentle keeping.”
— Kenneth Patchen, Cloth of the Tempest
We knew we could not belong again to simple love.
I saw your opening eyes reject the trade of tiny things
And I reasoned that the whole world might lie naked
In the earth of your eyes…”
— Kenneth Patchen, from “In Judgement of the Leaf”
|Allen Ginsberg and Kenneth Patchen Backstage at the Living Theatre, |
New York City, Where Patchen Was Performing with Charlie Mingus 1959
“A faint breathing behind me… Wheeling round, hurtling the lamp to the floor in my haste, I beheld, as the flames licked upward to the curtains (spreading tiny people of fire against the window), a little girl holding a doll in her arms.
The doll’s lips moved and I saw that, whereas the body, legs, arms, and torso were of sawdust and painted wax, the head was that of a young man. Blood trickled in a little rill from the corner of his mouth.
I was positive that we were being watched.
“My brother—” she said. “They took him away to war.” Her shoulders moved convulsively in the light from the flames which were now running about our feet.
“Yes, child,” I managed to say.
“And now— this morning— I woke up with my dolly in my arms…” She sobbed in heartbroken terror. “My brother’s head— you see! he’s trying to say something.”
It was true. The mouth moved in and out like a small red door in his mutilated face.
I bent over. “What do you want to say?”
The fire was roaring and snapping and I couldn’t hear all he said.
I heard: “The dogs… the dogs…”
The little girl’s dress was on fire now. Flames skirled around her doll, reaching up to her brother’s poor face.
“The dogs belong to…”
At that moment a hand wrenched the doll from the child’s arms and something struck me a glancing blow on the back of the head.
I fell into the cave where all of us are alone.”
— Kenneth Patchen, The Journal Of Albion Moonlight.
Kenneth Patchen Part 1
Kenneth Patchen Part 2
Kenneth Patchen reads from the Journal of Albion Moonlight.
Out of print recording, extremely rare.
Kenneth Patchen -- In Order To
The City Wears A Slouch Hat Cutout of "The City Wears A Slouch Hat"(1942) by John Cage and Kenneth Patchen