Book//mark - A cos­monaut of inner space / Cain’s Book | Alexander Trocchi (1960)

"The great mechanical monolith imposed by mass mind."

“The steel of logic has daily to be strengthened to contain the volcanic element within.”

Alexander Trocchi, Cain’s Book, 1960 

Alexander Trocchi, Cain’s Book, NY Grove Press, 1960                         A. Trocchi’s personal, hand-painted copy of Cain’s Book

“My scow is tied up in Flushing, NY, alongside the landing stage of the Mac Asphalt and Construction Corporation. It is now just after five in the afternoon. Today at this time it is still afternoon, and the sun, striking the cinderblocks of the main building of the works has turned them pink. The motor cranes and the decks of the other scows tied up round about are deserted.

Half an hour ago I gave myself a fix.”

"Like a piece of sensitive photographic paper, waiting passively to feel the shock of impression. And then I was quivering like a leaf, more precisely like a mute hunk of appetitional plasm, a kind of sponge in which the business of being excited was going on, run through by a series of external stimuli: the lane, the man, the pale light, the lash of silver — at the ecstatic edge of something to be seen."

Alexander Trocchi

“Sometimes, at low moments, I felt my thoughts were the ravings of a man out of his mind to have been placed in history at all, having to act, having to consider; a victim of the fixed insquint. Sometimes I thought: What a long distance history has taken me out of my way! And then I said: Let it go, let it go, let them all go!”

“I’m all the time aware it’s reality and not literature I’m engaged in... At times I am living at the tips of my senses. I am near flesh, blood, hair.”

"I experienced a sly female lust to be impregnated by, beyond words and in a mystical way to confound myself with, not the man necessarily, though that was part of the possibility, but the secrecy of his gesture."

Alexander Trocchi and his wife Lyn Hicks, who has dedicated the Book of Cain

“We cannot afford to leave the potential power of drugs in the hands of a few governmental “experts,” whatever they call themselves. Critical knowledge we must vigilantly keep in the public domain. A cursory glance at history should caution us thus. I would recommend on grounds of public safety that heroin (and all other known drugs) be placed with lucid literature pertaining to its use and abuse on the counters of all chemists (to think that a man should be allowed a gun and not a drug!) and sold openly to anyone twenty-one. This is the only safe method of controlling the use of drugs. At the moment we are encouraging ignorance, legislating to keep crime in existence, and preparing the way for one of the most heinous usurpations of power of all times … all over the world…”

“All great art and today all great artlessness mustappear extreme to the mass of men as we know them today. It springs from the anguish of great souls. From the souls of men not formed but deformed in factories whose inspiration is pelf. The critics who call upon the lost and beat generations to come home, who use the dead to club the living, write prettily about anguish because to them it is an historical phenomenon and not a pain in the arse. But it is pain in the arse and we wonder at the impertinence of governments which by my own experience and that of my father and his father before him have consistently done everything in their power to make individuals treat the world situation lightly, that they should frown on the violence of my imagination—which is a sensitive responsive instrument—and set their damn police on me who has not stirred from this room for 15 years except to cop shit.”

Alexander Trocchi, Cain’s Book, 1960

Alexander Trocchi, Public Junkie, Priez Pour Nous

Who is purer
more simple than you?
Priests play poker with the burghers,
police in underwear
leave crime at the office,
our poets work bankers’ hours
retire to wives and fame-reports.
The spike flashes in your blood
permanent as a silver lighthouse.

I’m apt to loaf
in a coma of newspapers,
avoid the second-hand bodies
which cry  to be catalogued.
I dream I’m
a divine right Prime Minister,
I abandon plans for bloodshed in Canada,
I accept an O.B.E.

Under hard lights
with doctor’s instruments
you are at work
in the bathrooms of the City,
changing the Law.

I tend to get distracted
by hydrogen bombs,
by Uncle’s disapproval
of my treachery
to the men’s clothing industry.
I find myself
believing public clocks,
taking advice
from the Dachau generation.

The spike hunts
constant as a compass.
You smile like a Navajo
discovering American oil
on his official slum wilderness,
a surprise every half hour.

I’m afraid I sometimes forget
my lady’s pretty little blonde package
is an amateur time-bomb
set to fizzle in my middl-age.
I forget the Ice Cap, the pea-minds,
the heaps of expensive teeth.

You don a false nose
line up twice for the Demerol dole;
you set yourself on the steps of the White House
you try to shoot the big arms
of the Lincoln Memorial;
you spy on scientists,
stumble on a cure for scabies;
you drop pamphlets from a stolen jet:
“The Truth about Junk”;
you pirate a national tv commercial
shove your face against
the window of the living-room
insist that healthy skin is grey.

A little bood in the sink
Red cog-wheels
shaken from your arm
punctured inflamed
like a road map showing cities
over 10,000 pop.

Your arms tell me
you have been reaching into the coke machine
for strawberries,
you have been humping the thorny crucifix
you have been piloting Mickey Mouse balloons
through the briar patch,
you have been digging for grins in the tooth-pile.

Bonnie Queen Alex Eludes Montreal Hounds
Famous Local Love Scribe Implicated

You purity drives me to work.
I must get back to lust and microscopes,
experiments in embalming,
resume the census of my address book.

You leave behind you a fanatic
to answer R.C.M.P. questions.

Leonard Cohen, 1964 


“I have needed drugs, to abolish within myself the painful reflection of the schizophrenia of my times, 
to quench the impulse to get at once onto my feet and go out into the world and live out some convenient, 
traditional identity of cunning and contriving… The astronauts who were my heroes moved on trajectories 
of inner space… I wanted to escape out of the prison of my mind’s language; to ‘make it new.‘”

Note found among A. Trocchi’s papers after his death

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