Mexico City: June . One page Typed Letter Signed "Jack" in pencil. On 8.5 x 11" onionskin paper and accompanied by the transmittal envelope with William S. Burroughs' home address as the return. Original fold lines and some toning, but nice condition overall. Neither the recipient, Rose Enoch Rotberg, or the letter to her appear in Jack Kerouac: The Selected Letters. But Kerouac's return address and the content places the piece during his first trip to visit Burroughs in 1952, during which time he composed his "spontaneous prose" work Doctor Sax.
In a densely packed, humorous, and euphemistic letter to "Dear Rosey," Kerouac performs a long-distance flirtation with a woman he knew from New York. Responding to one of her letters, Kerouac here apologizes "I am very glad to have that warm letter from you, so I sits down and I gets busy and I writes you a letter, see...I never knew what to say, why I didn't write before, like I said I would...I really don't know what to say even though I am a 'writer.'"
At this time, Kerouac was in Mexico City visiting fellow Beat writer William S. Burroughs, who had fled drug charges in New Orleans. Kerouac himself had been writing prolifically; his first published novel, The Town and the City, had been released only two years before, and he was working on what would ultimately become his classic On the Road. In writing to Rose, his stream of consciousness flirtations also reflect the work he was producing in Mexico City -- notably his "spontaneous prose" work Doctor Sax, which he references here. "Here's hoping I can see you soon. I'll be in New York tomorrow night...look for me behind the bushes. But if I ever do get to NY just look for me to knock on your door in Ozone Park, beware...I'll have a slouch hat and a cape, you won't recognize my new green face, I am now going under the name of Doctor Sax...no M.D...." Per the date on the transmittal envelope, Kerouac would have been writing Doctor Sax during this same month. And his letter shares its rhythms, picking up a topic and dropping off into a new one the moment a word or thought leads him in a new direction. As he later described the writing of this piece to Allen Ginsberg, "Doctor Sax was written high on tea [marijuana] without pausing to think, sometimes Bill [Burroughs] would come in the room, so the chapter ended there" (Essentials of Spontaneous Prose).
So it is to Rose, as Kerouac impersonates the tone of a film noir gangster, cheekily slips between sexual innuendo and prim date suggestions, and reflects on the fun they would have if she were in Mexico. As he does so, touches of On the Road wanderlust also emerge. "As for me, at 11 o clock every night I go off and walk 5 miles around the great Night City of Mexico...eat delicious tortillas and tacos and everything, the works, so delicious, I only wish you were here with me tonight I really do...we'd have more fun than anybody...I hope we can have some fun together in New York or anyplace someday...Don't know what would be better, tacos or you!!" In all, a quintessentially Kerouac letter, written at an important time and place in his authorial life. (Item #2950)