The Last Day of Dylan Thomas

It was cold outside. Out there on the street. What day could it be? What month? November, perhaps. It’s immensely cold still. I drunk so much that I couldn’t even manage to forget anything. Anything about me. Anything about nobody. I couldn’t.
I left by mid afternoon without Liz. When I arrived she said without nagging that I had exaggerated, I broke my record having had eighteen whiskies in one sitting. I can still vaguely hear the echo of my scream when I was carried to the room. Across someone’s shoulders. The bell boy ringing in my ears. And my prowess pasted onto my breath. The vomiting of a warrior. The White Horse mercenary where I stood all afternoon. It’s on Eight Avenue and there I stand guard. New York. From dawn till dusk. Whenever I’m able. Which is always.
Now I remember. It can only be November. Before me is the Pan American plane ticket. Flight zero seven one. It’s dated October nineteen. So many days went by, but not enough to fly me to December.
Immensely cold outside to be sure, but not enough.
Liz is asleep. My widow. Hiding in her slumber. From me. I woke up at dawn surprised with the air that was getting lost inside my body. An air that comes in and doesn’t go out. That goes out and never comes back in. Surprised by my own breathing. I woke up. I wanted to die that night. Yesterday. But my body held on. Stubbornly. It resists. It fights like a warrior. The inner body against the outer skin and dust. I never give truce. At the White Horse. Here, at the Chelsea Hotel. Anywhere. Any place. I die. I slowly enter that good night. My own age lost on the precipice of dusk. I burn it. Revolting against the withering of light. And nevertheless, all my words, much clever than me, seek for darkness. The sleep where they hide. They are just my camouflage. Awakening rays of hope that suffocate my pores. In a diabetes of greed. Words manipulate me with their cellular life.
Pretty ain’t it?
But pretty are the names of the horses I bet on. Coronation Year, Mountain King, Knight of the League. Where I go on loose. Lost. Don’t you go slowly wandering into that night. Good or evil. It’s poetry. That’s what I’m paid for, enticed with.
I caught a plane. Of Pan American. Crossed the ocean for reading on a stage. Read my poetry. Read the changes of dry sap in the time of the heart. And the glitter that hurts my senses. That shivers in the glacial inside of my being. Of my tomb. And the city in the veins, looking me askance, turning night into day.
New York. Any other.
Swansea!

That brought me to light. That is where I come from.

I read so as to be heard. At a bar, yesterday. I read the dripping glass, the ice cubes. The name of the waiter repeating itself. A girl who sat on my lap. I read her back to front. And they heard me, an immense audience of birds’ nests, throwing up all the drinks I had taken. The glass, the whole of it on the floor. In shards. I didn’t die for sure. I was brought across someone’s shoulders. In someone’s bell, which rang doors open and then rang a bed.

I slept. More. Should have been forever, but not yet.
Left at midday with Liz towards the White Horse. My favorite bet. For a change. For two beers. On the way I went into the Twenty Third Inn. The service pharmacy. I drunk a gulp from a glass filled with alcohol. Pure, so as to heal the wounds. All of them, my bleeding suffer. They start at the soul and end in the shoes that step on me. I heard the rumours, the tumult, inside. Among the Chevrolets, thousands of them, that crisscrossed before me. Clashing. Shooting their scarlet smoke upon my lips. Making the dry sap of my pleura even more blue.
With the ground slipping away I watched two beers reading aloud strophes I didn’t write. Prose I didn’t think of. Movies I didn’t see. The sea, I thought. Reading the sea aloud. Five shillings to the Bank of Seagulls and to Merry is the Word. I lost once again. I shan’t forget them, I wrote down on my check book when I arrived. Five shillings are enough to remove me from this cold. The hand signing the paper will raise this city to the ground. Magical names that will double the globe of this world all in disorder. My sovereign hand that will fall to sleep upon somebody’s sloping shoulder.

On the other side of the sea I don’t get paid. Someone wants to publish a book of mine. Someone wants me to do a radio show. Expenses paid, they say. The war is still a leftover from the profits. What to do with them? Stalin died this year. No one will miss us, me and him, I haven’t a single doubt about it. They found a double helix inside a glass of acid called Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It hadn’t any ice cubes. I asked for it at the White Horse and at all the joints of Eight Avenue but apparently no one orders it. DNA. All that which can’t be drank is of no use to anyone. Liz mumbled quietly that that was a drunk’s word.
Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid, please!
It’s not a word, Liz, it’s my ticket to ride. It doesn’t exist, it’s nothing but a figment of my imagination. Grand. When we got to the Hotel, hours later, senselessly, I threw her with precision that I had tasted that nectar at the Crick & Watson Bar during my first visit to New York. And I felt badly not because it was a lie, but because the air had once more vanished beneath my feet. I passed out. Once more I was upon the back of someone who stretched the bed linen before it swallowed me. Now that I write I feel strange like never before and so they called a doctor. I inhale pain. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. I smoke like a horse. The Shinny Vacuum Cleaner, three dollars on his victory, is all I have. Loosing onwards.

I came to America to make a living. Reading. The war was over all over. I came to read with this raucous asthma voice, with pomp I could muse about the trends of Y or the crossings of X or of Z’s greater whiteness. I could speak about nothing. Although I’m sure it would not be noticed further than the first row. And now lying here I wait nothing. My whole body hurts. Organized in asymmetrical pain. I sleep. Forever.

I saw monsters while sleeping. Hallucinations of a living man. In the blood that flows within me. Deoxyribonucleic lights of varied colours pierce through black and white spirits, turning into a sea of swans that calls for me. With their wings they write my name, the son of a Gaelic goddess. Swans with famished Chevrolets’ faces. Universal plagues that hide the day and the unhealed wounds from me. My uncontrolled hands of November or December. Of the day or of the night. Hugging some coloured morphine, abstract in form, on the panoramic sheets of America. New York.
After thirty nine years, this is all I’ve done.


Dylan Marlais Thomas was born in Swansea, a city on the West coast of Wales, in October 1914. Worked at the South Wales Evening Post before initiating a literary career in London where he stood out as one of the great poets of his generation. Alongside his poetical production he wrote short stories, movie scripts and radio plays. Died on November 9, 1953 in a New York Hospital where he was diagnosed with an acute alcoholic encephalopathy, which irreversibly damaged his brain. The coroner’s report stated pneumonia as the main cause of death. Yet another version says that due to medical negligence he was given a lethal dosage of morphine. His clinical file included also diabetes.
This text is all based in real facts and was first published in Portuguese in the newspaper Hoje Macau.
PHOTO TAKEN AT THE TATE GALLERY, London 2004, AND TUNED BY BLOOM*CREATIVE NETWORK.

1 Comment:

  1. Man from South-London said...
    I've just followed the link from Biographicon.com and managed to come here. This is a great inventive text about Dylan Thomas himself and his last day. Who is this Ring Joid? Has he anything published? Where can I find it?

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