Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lucien and Kammerer: To the Early Bird Brain Comes the Worms

No Broke Back Mountain Or Was It?

by Winsip Custer CPW News Service

His mother, Marian Gratz Carr, came from a prominent St. Louis family as had her husband, Russell, and she was an inspiration to her son, Lucien Carr, who would become the glue that held the Beat Generation together.  Among her son's friends were William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and David Kammerer, his English and Physical Education instructor at the Washington University in St. Louis. 

Kammerer stalked Lucien throughout his life and his domination of young Lucien didn't end until Kammerer followed him from Phillips Exeter Academy to Bowdoin College to the University of Chicago.  Lucien claimed and William S Burroughs believed that he never had sex with Kammerer and the lack of gratification may have fueled Kammerer's passion for Lucien.  Dennis McNally, Jack Kerouac's biographer said of the relationship between Lucien and Kammerer..."Kammerer was a Doppelganger whose sexual desires Lucien would not satisfy."  Marion Gratz Carr rescued her son from a tortured life at the University of Chicago and enrolled him in Columbia University in New York, but Kammerer resurfaced in New York and took an apartment a block away from Lucien's friend William S Burroughs. Lucien was reportedly a brilliant student of Lionell Trilling and he also befriended Allen Ginsberg who was living at the Union Theological Seminary dormitory on 122nd St.

Jack Kerouac with
Lucien Carr
On August 13, 1944 in hopes of being in Paris during the Allied liberation of the city, Kerouac and Lucien jumped a tramp steamer for the Trans-Atlantic voyage.  Kicked off the boat the two men went to a New York bar and drank together then separated and walked home.  At the bar Lucien and Jack had bumped into Kammerer who followed Lucien home through Riverside Park where he assaulted Lucien.  Late to the liberation of Paris, he was prepared for his liberation from Kammerer.  He pulled his Boy Scout knife from his St. Louis childhood and killed Kammerer, dumping his body in the Hudson River.  He went to Burroughs' apartment and then to Kerouac's for advice and counsel.  He got a lawyer, turned himself in and waited for the body to be recovered.

Lucien would serve two years for manslaughter and Kerouac would tell a fictional account of the experience in The Town and the City.  Lucien eventually became the night news editor at United Press International, settled down and married Francesca Van Hartz and had three children, Simon, Caleb and Ethan.  Caleb, a celebrated writer, is the author of The Alienist.

The following poem is believed to have been dedicated to Lucien.

Sero Sed Serio
by R. Carr

The early bird may get the worm.
But early to the battle
To the edge of the forward charge and challenge
To the foxhole or the berm,
May make of you a hero, a knight in shinning armor
But may also make of you a zero
A right dead pretty charmer.

So to you I say remember
It's no sin to walk real slow
When the axe blades are a churnin'
And the piles of bodies grow.
To the early bird brain comes the worms
They're coming anyway
But what's this rush towards fertilizer
When you can fight another day?

Sero Sed Serio I say to you boy.
Sero Sed Serio I plead.
Walk slowly toward the canon fodder
Take time before you bleed.
Sero Sed Serio I say to you boy.
Sero Sed Serio I say.
Lancelot, Arthur and Guinevere
May battle to the end,
but there's no reason that you must play
their game that's full of wind.

Sero Sed Serio I say to you boy.
Sero Sed Serio I say.
Walk slowly toward the canon fodder.
To the charge of the Light Brigade.
To blazing flame of the fiery furnance
Arrive at the battle late but in earnest.

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