(Your tongues are fire & your strategems hell itself)


The Floating Bear, issue 9 (found here)

Diane di Prima, Recollections of My Life as a Woman:

We had a confab over coffee, and agreed that it was probably a good idea for me to call the lawyer. When I did I found out to my disgust that one of the many ways the feds were playing dirty was to refuse to set bail on Roi till they had me. Roi was someplace downtown, sitting in a cell till I showed up, which made it clear that I should show up soon. What a drag.

I also found out that what the feds were so excited about was issue number nine of The Floating Bear which contained “Roosevelt After Inauguration” by William Burroughs and a short homosexual play by LeRoi. the play was actually a section from Roi’s prose book, The System of Dante’s Hell, that was still in progress.

Of course, the Bear was not public, not sold on newsstands or even in bookstores, so it never occurred to us that what was in it was anybody’s business. What LeRoi and I had failed to take into account was that at least one of the folks on our mailing list was in prison. Harold Carrington, a Black writer in Rahway, New Jersey, never got his copy of Floating Bear #9. Instead, a warden who routinely read all the mail, turned it in to the postal authorities, and here we were.

And I was getting dressed. I put on stockings, and that same “Chanel” dress that had gotten me through a few other difficult times. I put on make-up, too, this time, and a string of pearls, and my low “heels”. Alan went out with me to help me find a cab, and Freddie stayed with Jeanne and fixed her some breakfast.


LeRoi Jones and Diane di Prima in the Cedar Tavern, University Place, April 5, 1960, Fred W McDarrah (found here)