Everything Smelling of Mint

Another excerpt from The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, ©1958:

In Berkeley I was living with Alvah Goldbook in his little rose-covered cottage in the backyard of a bigger house on Milvia Street.  The old rotten porch slanted forward to the ground, among vines, with a nice old rocking chair that I sat in every morning to read my Diamond Sutra.  The yard was full of tomato plants about to ripen, and mint, mint, everything smelling of mint, and one fine old tree that I loved to sit under and meditate on those cool perfect starry California October nights unmatched anywhere in the world.  We had a perfect little kitchen with a gas stove, but no icebox, but no matter.  We also had a perfect little bathroom with a tub and hot water, and one main room, covered with pillows and floor mats of straw and mattresses to sleep on, and book, books, hundreds of books everything from Catullus to Pound to Blyth to albums of Back and Beethoven (and even one swinging Ella Fitzgerald album with Clark Terry very interesting on trumpet) and a good three-speed Webcor phonograph that played loud enough to blast the roof off:  and the roof nothing but plywood, the walls too…

This isn’t an especially “deep” passage, just a description of his house, but love the way he writes and his use of repetition.

(“Alvah Goldbook” is a cunning pseudonym for Allen Ginsberg.)

1 Comment

  1. …if I had one-tenth the command of language to describe such a simple, yet exquisite pleasure…


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