The Mind Is A Funny Thing (The Beat Generation)

The mind is a funny thing; there is no end to what you can store in there. Every single thing is written there weather you like it or not, either consciously or subconsciously. In my point of view, the mind is divided into two main parts, fact and fiction, the real and surreal. I love hanging out at that surreal part of my mind, it is a grand gift to be able to spend a lot of time in that part, and it takes a lot of guts too. It’s a gift to be able to close your eyes and block the outside world, to be able to walk inside your own mind. It is a gift to be able to see yourself in that surreal world you’ve crafted entirely from scratch, to see yourself wearing a trench-coat and a fedora peering at the beautiful blonde at the end of the room, she smiles. You are in a party, the music is loud, and everyone is happy. Women in dresses, men in suits swaying to the music, to the sound of the sax and the beat of the drums. You see the blonde coming forth towards you,

Oh Marilyn you think.

Not so far away you hear a conversation between two men, they’re talking about kings and queens, about love and freedom and about the beat generation. A generation of madmen and lunatics, the generation of the wild, one of the two men by the name of Jack Kerouac turns to you holding a piece of paper, his eyes gleaming with excitement, the sweat on his brows rolling down his face.

“I am hurt, I am scared, I want to live, I want to die, I don’t know. Where to turn. In the Void. And when. To cut. Out” says he.

The bearded man Jack was talking to earlier -who went by the name of Allen Ginsberg throws up his hands saying “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked-”

You put your hand on his shoulder saying with a sigh “Allen, we are but men, we are but cells, we are but flesh, we are but bones. We are here; we are not here, alive and dead. We are the echo of our pasts, look at me, look into my eyes.”

A young man giggles; you turn and see Bob Dylan.

“All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.” Bob says with a smile, flicking the ash off his smoke. The ash breaks away from the cigarette, falling slowly to the ground, breaking away into small particles.

Someone touches your hand, Marilyn. You turn to her and she whispers something in your ear, something you can’t hear over the sound of the music. She takes you by the arm and you sit at a round table facing the stage with Jack, Bob and the bearded Allen, and Marilyn next to you. An African-American male steps onto the stage, the room goes silent. He says his name and put that golden trumpet to his lips. The music, the sounds, the people, the smell and the smoke give you a warm feeling in your belly.

“Ain’t that Louis something?” Jack howls slapping his ankles “Goddamn he’s something!”

Allen and Bob staring at the man in the blue suit blowing away on stage, Bob with his eyes closed, Allen with a big smile on his bearded face. Marilyn leans over towards you and whispers in your ears again.

“I don’t feel good, I don’t feel so good.” But you look away; you look at the dance floor and see all the people dancing and smiling and kissing, you see Beethoven in a Jimi Hendrix costume, you see T.S. Elliot mingling with Alexander Pope and you smile. You look back at your table and see old Jack at it again holding a bottle of bourbon in his hand, a piece of paper in the other receding poetry on the beat generation, a madman indeed. He gets up and rushes to the dance floor taking old Allen with him, doing the jitterbug, Allen laughing like a little kid on Christmas morning.

You see Marilyn crying, you don’t ask her why, you don’t say anything, you just put your arms around her and hold her there in the moment until she stops, her eyes red with dark lines of eye liner on her cheeks. You tell her she’s beautiful and kiss her forehead then drink to that hot August evening.

Bob lights another cigarette while watching Allen and Jack dancing, he smiles, you smile, Marilyn smiles. You realize that this is all a dream, but you don’t mind. You realize that you are sitting here and there, in the boulevard of broken dreams, in the road to salvation and on the street of creation and inspiration. Everyone at peace, no hate, just love. You feel light headed, you had too much to drink, and your mind is a merry-go-round. The beat gets louder and louder, you feel like you are in the same room with the past, present and future, and you just don’t know what to do. You feel free, you feel free, you feel free. Louis blows his trumpet with lungs of steel, dancing, dancing, dancing. You fall once more into the abyss, deeper and deeper into the void of your mind, your thoughts clustering and your memories gathering.

“He not busy being born is busy dying!” Dylan sings.

With that, you open your eyes; the real world unfolds itself back in front of you. Blessed he who has the courage to explore his imagination. The mind is a funny thing, a very funny thing.


About Ahmed Gretly

Ahmed Nader Gretly. Construction/Site Engineer, fiction writer, poet, psychopath, researcher, a book addict, and a daydreamer from Cairo, Egypt. Currently doing Construction Project Management, MSc, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
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