Richard Brautigan

Here you will find the Long Poem Part 8 of Trout Fishing in America of poet Richard Brautigan

Part 8 of Trout Fishing in America



Dear Trout Fishing in America:

 I met your friend Fritz in Washington Square. He told me

to tell you that his case went to a jury and that he was acquit-

ted by the jury.

 He said that it was important for me to say that his case

went to a jury and that he was acquitted by the jury,

said it again.

 He looked in good shape. He was sitting in the sun. There's

an old San Francisco saying that goes: "It's better to rest in

Washington Square than in the California Adult Authority. "

How are things in New York?


 "An Ardent Admirer"

Dear Ardent Admirer:

 It's good to hear that Fritz isn't in jail. He was very wor-

ried about it. The last time I was in San Francisco, he told

me he thought the odds were 10-1 in favor of him going away.

I told him to get a good lawyer. It appears that he followed

my advice and also was very lucky. That's always a good


 You asked about New York and New York is very hot.

 I'm visiting some friends, a young burglar and his wife.

He's unemployed and his wife is working as a cocktail wait-

ress. He's been looking for work but I fear the worst.

 It was so hot last night that I slept with a wet sheet wrapped

around myself, trying to keep cool. I felt like a mental patient.

 I woke up in the middle of the night and the room was filled

with steam rising off the sheet, and there was jungle stuff,

abandoned equipment and tropical flowers, on the floor and

on the furniture.

 I took the sheet into the bathroom and plopped it into the

tub and turned the cold water on it. Their dog came in and

started barking at me.

 The dog barked so loud that the bathroom was soon filled

with dead people. One of them wanted to use my wet sheet

for a shroud. I said no, and we got into a big argument over

it and woke up the Puerto Ricans in the next apartment, and

they began pounding on the walls.

 The dead people all left in a huff. "We know when we're

not wanted, " one of them said.

 "You're damn tootin'," I said.

 I've had enough.

 I' m going to get out of New York. Tomorrow I'm leaving for

Alaska. I'm going to find an ice-cold creek near the Arctic

where that strange beautiful moss grows and spend a week

with the grayling. My address will be, Trout Fishing in Ameri-

ca, c/o General Delivery, Fairbanks, Alaska.

 Your friend,

 Trout Fishing in America


We left Little Redfish for Lake Josephus, traveling along the

good names--from Stanley to Capehorn to Seafoam to the

Rapid River, up Float Creek, past the Greyhound Mine and

then to Lake Josephus, and a few days after that up the trail

to Hell-diver Lake with the baby on my shoulders and a good

limit of trout waiting in Hell-diver.

 Knowing the trout would wait there like airplane tickets

for us to come, we stopped at Mushroom Springs and had a

drink of cold shadowy water and some photographs taken of

the baby and me sitting together on a log.

 I hope someday we'll have enough money to get those pic-

tures developed. Sometimes I get curious about them, won-

dering if they will turn out all right. They are in suspension

now like seeds in a package. I'll be older when they are de-

veloped and easier to please. Look there's the baby ! Look

there's Mushroom Springs ! Look there's me !

 I caught the limit of trout within an hour of reaching Hell-

diver, and my woman, in all the excitement of good fishing,

let the baby fall asleep directly in the sun and when the baby

woke up, she puked and I carried her back down the trail.

 My woman trailed silently behind, carrying the rods and

the fish. The baby puked a couple more times, thimblefuls

of gentle lavender vomit, but still it got on my clothes, and

her face was hot and flushed.

 We stopped at Mushroom Springs. I gave her a small

drink of water, not too much, and rinsed the vomit taste out

of her mouth. Then I wiped the puke off my clothes and for

some strange reason suddenly it was a perfect time, there

at Mushroom Springs, to wonder whatever happened to the

Zoot suit.

 Along with World War II and the Andrews Sisters, the

Zoot suit had been very popular in the early 40s. I guess

they were all just passing fads.

 A sick baby on the trail down from Hell-diver, July 1961,

is probably a more import