Archive for February, 2010

Charles Plymell: The Rusty Truck Interview

Posted in charles plymell, INTERVIEWS with tags , on February 28, 2010 by Scot

Introduction to Charles Plymell by A.D. Winans

I met Charles Plymell at a small press convention back in 1976.  We have been corresponding on and off for over thirty years.  Plymell is often associated with the Beats, but he can’t be pigeon-holed into any label, be it “Beat or: Hip.”  Much has been written about Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, but Plymell was putting his foot to the pedal while Kerouac was still trying out for the football team at Princeton University.  He was born on the plains of Kansas, and his family moved a lot, so  there was no real long-term place to call home.  He didn’t attend high school except for one year in a military school in San Antonio, Texas.  By 1950 he was in his own words “driving more miles with four on the floor than Kerouac ever did or could.”  I should point out at this time that Plymell does not wish to be identified with Kerouac.  He feels they shared nothing in common, unlike Neal Cassady, whom he was able to identify with.

I have known too damn many poets who rail against the system while at the same time living at the public trough.  Plymel isn’t one of them.  During his travels, he worked at a variety of jobs which includes riding in rodeos, working on a pipeline, working with his mother at daredevil car shows in Oklahoma, working as an extra in Hollywood, working on a dynamite crew on the Columbia River, and later as a longshoreman on the San Francisco docks, a job he took personal pride in.

In 1951 he drove his new Chevy from San Antonio to Blythe, California, where his father had a farm.  The family also farmed in South Dakota, during which time Plymell took pride in owning a hot rod. He moved to San Francisco in late 1961 and stayed with friends from Wichita in an apartment on Ashbury, a half-block from the Haight, where I grew up as a child and teenager.  In 1962 he shared a flat on Gough Street with Ginsberg and Neal Cassady. He later moved to an apartment on Post Street, where he had a multilith press that printed the first issue of Zap Comics, with artwork by Robert Crumb.  He later became friends with poets like Lew Welch and David Meltzer, and early on frequented meetings at the apartment of Kenneth Rexroth who would later be dubbed the father of the Beats.  In 1971 City Lights published his book The Last Of The Moccasins, a delightful fast paced novel based on his road trips from Kansas to the West Coast.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Charles Plymell: A Video Introduction

Posted in Charles P. Ries, VIDEOS with tags , on February 27, 2010 by Scot

Neal Cassady by Charles Plymell

Posted in charles plymell with tags on February 26, 2010 by Scot

An ego pressed onward
Like a tight skirt in the night

Popeye and Olive Oyl
Swaggering down the street
Jumping parking meters
doing exercise gyrations

Expectations surrounded him
in crowds and beach boy cronies
Tarot card sharks and wood shooters
The Fastest Gun in the West.

I showed him pictures
Of Butch and the wild bunch
“Neal, Was he your father?”
That worried orphaned-look
I’ll not forget.

He lived fast, his beds, death rows
to blow genius away, like The Doors,
A race over rails from time’s windowpane
sun hot on the Mexican landscape–the
Railroad tracks chromed with cocaine.

(Picture-Neal & Ann)

Charles Plymell: Selected Poems from Eat Not Thy Mind

Posted in charles plymell with tags , on February 25, 2010 by Scot

Click on Selected Poems

Then click on fullscreen at the left
wait for arrow on right to turn pages

Ferlinghetti, Goodrow, Ginsberg, Plymell, Whalen– August 1963

SONG FOR NEAL CASSADY by Charles Plymell

Posted in charles plymell with tags on February 24, 2010 by Scot

–For John Cassady

Oh really really Neal
his first love was the automobile

Drove a ‘34 Ford with suicide doors
and stick shift on the floor
Draggin’ down main to Colfax Avenue

Jumpin’ in the back seat boulevard
kicked back watching asses in the rearview
cruising past the high school

Clock on the dash reading 10:18
past the neon diner
last stop for Benzedrine
and onward to another scene

Chicks would rob a joint
just to buy him food

One hand on the wheel
the other in her mood

The blue-eyed kid and the wild-eyed bobby soxer
California surfers Tarot card sharks and word shooters

Found Ann-Marie in Frisco like a hurricane cock
didn’t need  the Sexual Freedom League

Driving with white pills and pot
but was really addicted to the wheel

Came back to Old San Francisco
Flower children all over the streets

Carried star struck Ann-Marie in his arms
the Denver Kid he never returns

Traded her Chevrolet coupé
for an old Pontiac

Up the hills, down the curves
gear it down, pump the brakes
Old mother Ginsberg’s back seat drivin’
turning toward the Avalon

Driving
down Van Ness jumping parking meters

One hand on the gearshift
the other copping a feel

One hand up her dress
the other on the wheel

Stole a car in Denver just to hear it peel
just like drivin’ in the races

Stole a car in Denver just to hear it squeal

He moved so fast
he had one foot in Cincinnati the other in Kalamazoo

Women knew just what to do
and all wanted him to be true

Parked in front of Gough Street
in a 50’s red and white Plymouth Fury

Just back from seeing Kerouac, in a hurry
patrol car in the mirror
the old white and blacks

Drove past someone with some little white pills
heading into town

He jumped in the driver’s seat
and spun that Fury around.

The roads were paved with powder all the way to Mexico
and train tracks shined in the moon

Did hard time for two reefers
and came out smokin’ some boo

First Road Warrior
never knew what he did wrong

______________________

(from Some Mother’s Son
available at Amazon)

–pictures: Neal Cassady And Charles Plymell, 1963
Neal, Ann & the Plymouth Fury

In London by Charles Plymell

Posted in charles plymell with tags on February 23, 2010 by Scot

In London in a very neat
and sensible flat,
lives the one true genius
of contemporary American prose.

More like a poet
he veers and speaks both
naturally and subliminally,
Or more like a medium
he chats pleasantly
from a space apart,
or from a chamber
of spirits disguised
in a everyday world.

A tall man, slightly stooped
from the weight of all
the combinations and formulas
of all possible plots,

Mr. Burroughs rises
and leans against the window ledge
…could have been a St. Louis
merchant or farmer
about to speculate on the weather.

“Those birds,” he says, gesturing out
the window to a flock that caught his fancy,
“in mornings they fly one way
and in the evenings they
fly back the other way.”

And with that he reached for his hat
and we went to the local pub for brandy.

–June 1968

(from Neon Poems, 1970)

Charles Plymell–reads Bennies From Heaven poem at the Wichita Art Museum

Posted in charles plymell, VIDEOS with tags , on February 22, 2010 by Scot