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Book of Dreams is Jack Kerouac's record of his dream life, a parallel autobiography of the soul, the sleeper's On the Road:

"I got my weary bones out of bed & through eyes swollen with sleep swiftly scribbled in pencil in my little dream notebook till I had exhausted every rememberable item … "

Awake of asleep, Jack's mind spun the web of relationships that were the substance of almost everything he wrote:

"In the book of dreams I just continue the same story but in the dreams I had of the real-life characters I always write about."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780872863804
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publication date: 05/01/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 924,094
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was an American author and painter and the central figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s. His most famous books include On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Big Sur. Several of his novels have been adapted into popular films. In 1959 Kerouac released his long-form poem, Mexico City Blues, which is his most important work of poetry. Few authors can claim as large an influence on American culture as Jack Kerouac and his examinations of youth and rebellion.

Read an Excerpt

OH! THE HORRIBLE VOYAGES I've had to take across the country and back with gloomy railroads and stations you never dreamed of---one of em a horrible pest of bats and crap holes and incomprehensible parks and rains, I can't see the end of it on all horizons, this is the book of dreams. Jesus life is dreary, how can a man live let alone work---sleeps and dreams himself to the other side---and that's where your Wolf is ten times worse than preetypop knows---and how, look, I stopped---how can a man lie and say shit when he has gold in his mouth. Cincinnati, Philarkadelphia, Frohio, stations in the Flue---rain town, graw flub, Beelzabur and Hemptown I've been to all of them and read Finnegain's Works what will it do me good if I dont stop and righten the round wrong in my poor bedighted b---what word is it?---skull. . .

Talk, talk, talk---

I went and saw Cody and Evelyn, it all began in Mexico, on Bull's ratty old couch I purely dreamed that I was riding a white horse down a side street in that North town like in Maine but really off Highway Maine with the rainy night porches in the up and down America, you've all seen it you ignorant pricks that cant understand what you're reading, there, with sidestreets, trees, night, mist, lamps, cowboys, barns, hoops, girls, leaves, something so familiar and never been seen it tears your heart out---I'm dashing down this street, cloppity clip, just left Cody and Evelyn at a San Francisco spectral restaurant or cafeteria table at Market and Third where we talked eagerly plans for a trip East it was (as if!) (as if there could be East or West in that waving old compass of the sack, base set on the pillow, foolish people and crazy people dream, the world wont be saved at this rate, these are the scravenings of a---lost---sheep)---the Evelyn of these dreams is an amenable---Cody is---(cold and jealous)---something---dont know---dont care---Just that after I talk to them---Good God it's taken me all this time to say, I'm riding down the hill---it becomes the Bunker Hill Street of Lowell ---I'm headed for the black river on a white horse---it broke my heart when I woke up, to realize that I was going to make that trip East (pathetic!)---by myself---alone in eternity---to which now I go, on white horse, not knowing what's going to happen, predestined or not, if predestined why bother, if not why try, not if try why, but try if why not, or not why---At the present time I have nothing to say and refuse to go on without further knowledge.

AND MEXICO CITY, A SPECTRAL ONE WITH WISHED FOR PIERS sitting at the base of gloomy gray Liverpool-like Ferrocarril---I and a horde of young generation in suits with prom flower girls attend a melee, a gathering, at a building, a tower---so crowded, I, among bachelors, have to wait outside---rousing applause, speeches, music inside---Strange how in my dreams it doesnt seem that everything's already happened in a more interesting way, but awe, sweet awe remains---for my rage is eating my heart away. What am I doing in this sinister North Carolina as a clerk getting up at 6:00---a clerk among sinister oldfaced clerks in an old gloomy railroad office---no dream could be as frightening and more like hell.---I finally manage to get in the party---no, the idiot dog woke me up at just the point where I might have made a story of the deal---and lately anyway I wake at dawn with the horrors. In New York they're stealing my ideas, getting published, being feted, fucking other men's wives, getting laurel wreaths from old poets ---and I wake on this bed of horror to a nightmare only life could have devised. To hell with it.

IN A STRANGE LIVINGROOM presumably in Mexico City but very much and suspiciously like a livingroom in a dream of my Ma and Pa in Lowell or Dream Movetown---June (Evans) is telling me the name of a great unknown Greek writer, Plipias, Snipias, how his father ran away with the family money so Plipias, queer, went to live on an Island with the boy he loved; and wrote: "I never go on strike against man, because I love him"---June recommended this writer highly, and said: "You can spend an hour a day hassling over small things but in the larger sense you can see what he means, never go on strike against man---" Meanwhile I'm about to go in the bathroom but Bull's already in there---has made no comment---

DIGGING IN THIS WOMAN'S CELLAR to plant, or transplant, my marijuana---under clutters of papers (just a minute before was going thru my own things, in a huge new room, Peaches'd just left Hal)---clutters of rubber bands, etc., and digging into dirt to make plant bed but realized how deep her hole was beneath her junk, thought to myself, "The old lady's---the older you get the deeper your cellar gets, more like a grave-----the more your cellar looks like a grave---" There was a definite hole to the left---a definite saying---

I was foraging for my stories and paper for Peaches---earlier I was in a room, working for a man as secretary, he was a masquerader, a fraud---and an evil pulp magazine crook genius leader of some evil---My mother visited me as if I was in jail---I turned over in my bed, my cot, interested in these things---

HORRIBLE HASSELS IN CHICAGO---with young seamen and Deni Bleu, in a car, Boston-like going up and down bright traffics---stopped by cops, the youngest kid throws 2 quarts beer out window and smashes them---"Goddam him!" we all curse---I make note of my pockets, nothing but a rubber---But cops find a roach, but I'm going to say it's just thyme, or Cu-Babs, and that's what it really is---thyme not valuable but culpable---a plainclothes taxidriver cop has me stick my tongue out to check on Cu-Babs, I do so, he makes as if to slap me but doesnt---On the radio we'd heard big seaman union broadcasts with that silly wiper from the Pres. Adams giggling over the air---also making angry union speeches---Deni gloomy as ever---used as ever--- Then in the olddream Frisco of hills again but still related to the Bunker Hill of the white horse and altho it hasnt happened since I actually went back to Frisco--- Cody is driving jaloppy, a swank apartment house hill (he pulls throttle from floor without seeming effort to reach)---he's telling me something but unpleasantly, everything is now unpleasant, everybody wants money or earning power from me, the sweetness is gone---Cody has a harried, unpleasant, sullen expression--- The jaloppy reminds me of the jaloppy I had parked in a quiet Ozone Park street last week, a buddy sleeping at the wheel, and a guy began shooting at us with a shotgun from 2nd story window of a leafy Calabrese home and I ducked in gutter gritting my teeth for feel of shot burning me but he missed---then I run down street, he begins shooting at me deliberately (first shot was aimed at woman June Ogilvie woman on sidewalk)---now he wants me---I run---I'm tearful and terrified that he's after me---Jaloppy is mine---he jumps in, "he's going to steal my truck now!" I moan--- "Goddam this world!" And my buddy didnt move from behind that wheel---was this because he was killed by the first shot? He was Don Jackson of Mex City---I wished I hadnt left carkeys in car---I'd been driving and driving, thru that spectral railroad station Rainycity---The madman shot again ---I was in that Ozone Park that sometimes at night on a vast boulevard I'm riding a bus to my mother's davenport porch house---all rattling, all haunted by the dead---lost lost lost in the infinite eternity of our doom---

LAST NIGHT MY FATHER WAS BACK in Lowell---O Lord, O haunted life---and he wasnt interested in anything much---He keeps coming back in this dream, to Lowell, has no shop, no job even---a few ghostly friends are rumored to be helping him, looking for connections, he has many especially among the quiet misanthropic old men---but he's feeble and he aint supposed to live long anyway so it doesnt matter---He has departed from the living so much his once- excitement, tears, argufying, it's all gone, just paleness, he doesnt care any more---has a lost and distant air---We saw him in a cafeteria, across street from Paige's but not Waldorf's---he hardly talks to me---it's mostly my mother talking to me about him---"Ah well, ah bien, he vivra pas longtemps ce foi icit!" --- "he wont live long this time!" ---she hasnt changed---tho she too mourns to see his change ---but God Oh God this haunted life I keep hoping against hope against hope he's going to live anyway even tho I not only know he's sick but that it's a dream and he did die in real life---ANYWAY---I worry myself. . . (When writing Town and the City I wanted to say "Peter worried himself white"--- for the haunted sadness that I feel in these dreams (PA-G-X-4327) is white---) Maybe Pop is very quietly sitting in a chair while we talk---he happened to come home from downtown to sit awhile but not because it's home so much as he has no other place to go at the moment---in fact he hangs out in the poolhall all day---reads the paper a little---he himself doesnt want to live much longer---that's the point---He's so different than he was in real life---in haunted life I think I see now his true soul---which is like mine---life means nothing to him---or, I'm my father myself and this is me (especially the Frisco dreams)---but it is Pa, the big fat man, but frail and pale, but so mysterious and un-Kerouac---but is that me? Haunted life, haunted life---and all this takes place within inches of the ironclouds dream of 1946 that saved my soul (the bridge across the Y, 10 blocks up from 'cafeteria'---) Oh Dammit God---

A LONG QUIET ALMOST WAKING TALK WITH EVELYN---almost real---about how hopeless her "love" is and what's going to happen and not happen----I dont understand love at all---but I sit there eagerly talking and supping up the hours of the angels---by the clock---

THE STRANGEST PLACE IN THE WORLD is that little fairyland old Colonial house on a narrow street in back of my father's old printing shop near the Royal (therefore Market street) but also in England and gray---cobblestones ---many dreams there, vague marriages, girls, maybe something to do with the other life I sensed in the Frisco Market Street Vision---(Market street? Of Greeks?)---On a very strange other street semi Aiken or Lilly in Centralville but also a big mysterious maindrag in a tremendously important city like New York (Bronx St?) or Montreal---but really Aiken St.---but really Juarez at the Prado---(New Haven! That's What!)---a young kid, a boy, well dressed like the round-the-world-$80-hitch-hiker is riding a horse over the trolley tracks but is holding the reins so loose I, from the curb of Scoop's store, say "Hey, that rein's too long---he's gonna lose control of his horse---" But gravely the kid trots up the street, thru traffic, but then starts galloping either to show off or lost control and as he gallops the reins slip more and more thru his hands till he's leaning way back and rearing to fall backwards with hands up holding futile long flap-reins as the horse gallops across a dangerous intersection where the light has just changed and armies of cars and trucks who'd been playing the light, bearing down on it 60 m.p.h., now ball right thru and barely miss horse and rider but I can see he's going to get killed pretty soon down the street---and I'm yelling "Grab those reins shorter! pull!" ---he's no baby, I'm saying to myself, he has enough strength to pull that horse up if he wants to---aint he got sense? THIS IS NOT ME Also there was Garden and schools on the side rawls, but I paid no attention and dont remember, except, a dawn, waking, I saw the vision of 3 words in my mind. . "urp rain again". . .the return of the urp rain again---

("A bullet fell in ya!" says Little Paul)

THEY WOULDNT LET ME WORK on the ship even tho it had just sailed from the North River pier where Joe and I've many times walked---a gray, dismal pier---rickety, hive-ish, with "Julien's reformatory" as I call a certain strange Arabic tenement and the place where Ma and I stood on the warship deck in that famous dream of face-towel crabs floating in the water that Hubbard analyzed in 1945---I'm in my quarters, we're already at sea, I feel lonely, awful, lost in mazes of fresh-paint rooms and lockers and bunks and worried about the gray cold sea and the officials come in to check my papers and he, the head one, young, grins---I call him Mate, meaning First Mate, forgetting the Sir---"You cant sail without a so-and-so paper," he says with incredulous smile, "You'll have to sail this trip but you cant work"---I'd helped with lines at tight dock---in fact I'd run on board the very last minute as the ship was moving down the crowded canal, I could see its funnel passing roofs---how I got on is unclear, I was returning from a spectral ball in the huge-room places like the Mexico Harbour City Tower with mixups of everybody---O haunted poorboy John Kerouac but you are headed for a long sad dream--- The smoke is on the Tar River, the sparrow does its delicate flutter---

IN DENVER NOW---I dream I go in a store place and there's Joe Gavota and Joe Melis and I go up dramatically to poke Melis on his LHS thicksweater and he's not surprised at all but as if I'd been known to be around and in fact Gavota (who delivered me the '38 Lawrence game football) doesnt even look up---and they are casual but as tho aware, and I feel guilty and silly about something---at a big wild party, after loves in a sideroom slatwindowed bed (I think in a house on a dirt road, the same perfect future wife love I dream'd long ago, clarity is perfect)---we, love and I, girl with beautiful young tawny body drives me mad, we sit on floor, our love supposed to be a secret, she snuggles up, I say "Not here dont you think?" (it's all taking place in Australia!) and like Edna she tinkles laughter and throws herself back and over with her pretty little ass no panties naked crack and all to the party of watching jealous women dancing with men who dont care---one way or the other---or a jealous suitor at the kitchen in back---the dirt road of the Shrouded Arab and of the high school late gold afternoon when my mother bought me a baseball bat and Gavota and Melis (of the Lowell High School football team) were there---

Deni Bleu appears, we've been sliding down a hill but not on snow, D's in good mood---breaks window ---whole section of wall---slats fall out like yesterday's ruined shack house under Denver Viaduct---Deni on a stepladder ---laughing---and my girl-love there---more like Edna than anyone---but her ass is just like June Evans's! (and yesterday on phone I said "Evelyn Pomeray's more like June Evans than anyone") (to Mannerly)---mysteries aplenty right here. (I shall survive them and love them or they love me or it's hate, war & death---)

IN SAN JOSE NOW, Sept.7, I'm riding the yellow local Lowell bus home to Pawtucketville and as the driver comes into that last fast stretch to the corner (wrinkly tar) I say now roll---but it's on Riverside instead of Moody, the homestretch is changed because I've heard of the new superhiway---As he (there's a kid or two riding with me, heads out the window, we've just come off adventures on a ship which was shaken by depth charges and Boisvert was on board)-----blam, there's a dead run-over dog near the stop, as I get off I notice it is still alive tho contorted and run over---"Oh God he's still alive and suffering---Officer!" I yell to one of the two busdrivers "that dog is still alive----shoot him, kill him"---and out of nowhere he ups with a revolver .38 and aims it down the stairwell and begins the shooting of the dog, about 4 times, the ineffectual dreambullets only fairly surprise the dog, he twitches, gets up, and comes for me and the kids---We run backwards across Moody to avoid it---"Keep to the right!" yells the busdriver---I don't know what he means---The dog may bite me but his deathness I dont want to touch me---I can choke it, stop it, but not his deathness---he is a dirty gray Fellaheen dog, with some brown in the neck, and an old tragic collar of some blearfaced owner in blank and blind sternity,--- his teeth, his eyes---Then I see G.J. and he's complaining that Scotty or somebody is still the same old Scotty, it's NOW, 1952, morning, the old dream of sad G.J. in the morning getting ready to go to work in the Navy and griping---I tell him about the dog, the ship---as I'm telling now---

THEN I'M WORKING ON THE RAILROAD, as I've been doing now I realize for years in dreams of the Barrostook Crock & Crane R. R. that runs side wise east and west from Lowell to Lynn pot and other such places along a dry almost Mexican SP desert ground with tragic brakeman shacks, the road to some All Boston---now I'm almost California SP and Cody and my father mingled into the One Father image of Accusation is mad at me because I missed my local, my freight, I fucked up with the Mother Image down the line, I did something childish (the little boy writing in the room) and held up iron railroads of men---I finally get to the track but the freight is rolling so fast by that time I'm afraid to try jumping on---grimy Pop-Cody is already at work, he may fuck up in his own tragic night but by Jesus Christ when it's time to go to work it's fucking time to go to work--- There are also angry faces of seamen on ships, I screwed up at the potato pump---W C Fields in switchman's overalls by the tracks, the doll-like brakemen are jumping on the fast train,---I'm left gooping in my own sor-row---groping in my own dull Tit---

A LONG ALL-NIGHT AFFAIR WITH A WOMAN supposed to be Marlene Dietrich--- "because of her mouth you can tell" ---but other people seem skeptical she's Marlene, though I believe it or insist on believing it---I go to some parkinglot and tell the owner of the used cars that Marlene's my girl---it's located on Bridge St. Lowell across the street from the big gray warehouse--- There, I am shown a Life magazine with a big 3-page spread of pictures of me in a raincoat (tan, tailored) cutting along like a "lonely writer in sadness" in various angle shots----darkhaired, gloomy, line faced---I'm displeased because I'd have preferred closeups and also because I didnt know these pictures had been taken ---by Marlene, presumably---her mouth which was the key to her identity was tragically muggled and almost with buck teeth, like Bill Wagstrom's mouth in Mexico City or the mouth of the used car man in Rocky Mount (he was a big tall man with Panama hat) (and's in dream) and Shorty's Clarence's wife in Easonburg, and Nina Foch's mouth somehow tho she's not muggled but like real life Marlene.

AN ENCAMPMENT OF ALMOST PROVINCETOWN SUBTERRANEANS (Monterrey hipsters) around a fire, Peaches, etc., I'm with them but getting up to hit the road (the night traffic) for Canada, back to Canada and early pale Twenties furniture (sad beads of afternoon) scenes of my childhood where my mother is---it's a long trip, a sad trip, I start but come back to say something, they dont care, there's a cat in the road, I've had a dab of Immortality in this dream ---This is opening chapter of real "On the Road" ---

A LONG VOYAGE to Mexico City, I leave my California railroad work before it's even started (like I did the Carolina r. r. work) and en route get involved in houses and small dirt streets like you dont see any more because they made the automobile to ride 5 miles down the broad dead road with for what they used to slink across the street for---I make goofy tape records with Eisenhower, he condescends, but is actually friendly and has fun and doesnt mind leaving his goof words to posterity unlike real life politician---arrive in Mexico City, with Al Green, go to Hubbard's house and plug up my new longplaying phonograph and play the tape for Al ---he is Eisenhower himself---he appreciates and digs and laughs---but the door bursts open and in staggers Hubbard roaring drunk, he---I say to him, to "apologize" for breaking into his house uninvited, "I got this new phonograph and lots of money"---as if, aren't you grateful I am here?---but he staggers around, makes only cutting comments, spits on the floor, goes to his room, every time Al (who's heard so much about his greatness from me) tries to talk to him Bull is absolutely stone silent as tho deliberately---affronting Al terribly because he has sensed that I prepared Al for him and he ignores everything and is silent with that half smile---I'm mad, never want anything to do with him either any more, fresh paranoias follow me to every travel terminal, I also feel guilty and foolish and importunate for leaving that railroad work so soon, now I'm fucked, all bridges behind me burned to dreary eternity---Earlier my father had returned, to West St. but was also now a drunkard and didnt answer or give a shit---Intractable as a bad child---and I with my mother is the lost spectralities of a 4th of July Grool stand in criticism of him, fireworks on First St., nameless events waving in the road towards Joe's on Bunker Hill and down to Centralville center---the rose lattices on the porch, the drear light of the house like the light in the Cody-copwoman-oval track-children dream of moths---the Mystic Celt is far from bloomed, he's tied a Slavic knot around the Fellaheen band of the world, the Aramean Spring time is shoving underground the Iron Americas of Fellah---

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