How are you, my dear? And how is my beloved Colm and sweet fiend Aeron? Give them my love please. And how are the old ones? I’ll write to them, too. I love you, I can see you, now this minute, your face and body, your beautiful hair, I can hear your lovely, un- understandable voice. I love you, and I love our children, and I love our house…
Here, each night I have to take things to sleep: I am staying right in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by skyscrapers infinitely taller and stranger than one has ever known from the pictures: I’m staying in a room, a hotel room for the promised flat did not come off, on the 30th floor: and the noise all day and night: without some drug, I couldn’t sleep at all. The hugest, heaviest lorries, police cars, fire-brigades, ambulances, all with their banshee sirens wailing and screaming, seem never to stop, and I have no idea what on earth I am doing here in the very loud, mad middle of the last mad Empire on earth: – except to think of you, and love you, and to work for us.
I have done two readings this week, to the Poetry Centre of New York: each time there was an audience of about a thousand. I felt a very lonely, foreign midget orating up there, in a huge hall, before all those faces; the readings went well.
I’ve been to a few parties, lots of American poets, writers, critics, hangers on, some very pleasant, all furiously polite and hospitable. But apart from on one occasion, I’ve stuck nearly all the time to American beer, which, though thin, I like a lot and is ice cold.
I’ve been, too, to lots of famous places: up to the top of the Empire State Building, the tallest there is, which terrified me so much, I had to come down at once;
And now it must look to you, my Cat, as though I am enjoying myself here. I’m not. It’s a nightmare, night and day; there never was such a place: I would never get used to the speed, the noise, the utter indifference of the crowds, the frightening politeness of the intellectuals, and, most of all, these huge phallic towers, up and up and up, hundreds of floors, into the impossible sky.