how you know when you’re finished…

[Interviewer]   “How do you know when you’re finished with a painting?”

[Jackson Pollock]   “How do you know when you’re finished making love?”

Five winters, five winters in New York is plenty, I’d even say it’s four too many…

—Chad Stokes Urmston of State Radio, “Omar Bay,” off of Year of the Crow (2007)

I’ve been waiting to use these lyrics for the past four winters, but here it is, my fifth (and potentially final?) winter in New York…  Perhaps it’s been four too many, perhaps there will be more, it’s difficult to say what the future holds.

I got out of the house and walked along and didn’t know which way to go, my mind kept turning into the several directions that I was thinking of going but my body kept walking straight along Columbus altho I felt the sensation of each of the directions I mentally and and emotionally turned into, amazed at all the possible directions you can take with different motives that come in, like it can make you a different person—I’ve often thought of this since childhood, of suppose instead of going up Columbus as I usually did I’d turn into Filbert would something happen that at the time is insignificant enough but would be like enough to influence my whole life in the end?—What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?

Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans (1958)

(the first time I saw her, at Larry O’Hara’s, in the corner, I remember, I’d put my face close to hers to talk about books, she’d turned her face to me close, it was an ocean of melting things and drowning, I could have swimmed in it, I was afraid of all that richness and looked away.)

Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans (1958)

…but as we talked this a great electrical current of real understanding passed between us and I could feel the other levels the infinite number of them of every intonation in his speech and mine and the world of meaning in every word—I’d never realized before how much is happening all the time, and people know it—in their eyes they show it, they refuse to show it by any other—I stayed a very long time.

Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans (1958)