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The Trick of Self
Ron West's Queer Chicken Dinner pages 105-6


Chapter two opens with Cassady welcoming his lover Kerouac who is unable to grasp how it is Robinson would see him as the devil incarnate set out to destroy her life. In Kerouac’s absence, Cassady has been stalking Henderson, a self-admitted ‘Peeping Tom’ he is painting her a prostitute by claiming (in Kerouac’s rendition of the ‘facts’) she is sleeping with every sailor in town, there is no consciousness of any double standard even if this were to be true. That Kerouac has it in for Henderson is quite obvious and we know he has a propensity to smear the characters he does not like.

Cassady claims he smoked bad weed and went out of his mind, tracked down Henderson with a gun and told her one of them had to die. He hits her so hard he breaks his thumb and wrist but claims she was not hurt. Henderson marries a guy who tells Cassady he’ll kill him if he ever comes near her and now Robinson, while shouting “Liar!” at Cassady throws Kerouac and Cassady out of the house and their new episode of partying can begin.

And finally Kerouac has the unmitigated gall to express an almost fatherly sentiment towards Cassady, a concern actually quite accurately approximating a pedophile ‘mentor of promising but disadvantaged young men.’


Don’t you think..? One said.

No, I feel..

Said another.



Is missing Having been loved-

All success’ measures

Sole accomplishment

Nurtured image,

Not feeling.

Where is the child?

No love reflects


Cold desire to be acknowledged-

This trick Of self in glass is:

The thief Of self at last.

To be loved

For what you are

NOT Could be

The most important thing, so


Hate that

Which refuses

To be like you?

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