Archives for category: Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac reads his poem “San Francisco Scene” from the CD Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation, available at Amazon.com.

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“All human beings are also dream beings.”

JACK KEROUAC

ART: “Dreaming ties all mankind together” by TatiDuarte. Prints available at redbubble.com

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NOT LONG AGO JOY ABOUNDED AT CHRISTMAS (Excerpt)

by Jack Kerouac

…Christmas was observed all-out in my Catholic French-Canadian environment in the 1930s much as it is today in Mexico…When we were old enough it was thrilling to be allowed to stay up late on Christmas Eve and put on best suits and dresses and overshoes and earmuffs and walk with adults through crunching dried snow to the bell-ringing church. Parties of people laughing down the street, bright throbbing stars of New England winter bending over rooftops sometimes causing long rows of icicles to shimmer. As we passed near the church you could hear the opening choruses of Bach being sung by child choirs mingled with the grownup choirs usually led by a tenor who inspired laughter more than anything else. But from the wide-open door of the church poured golden light, and inside the little girls were lined up for their trumpet choruses caroling Handel…

Note: “Not long ago joy abounded at Christmas” was first published in the New York World Telegram on Dec. 5, 1957. Read a longer excerpt at richardhowe.com.

Photo: Jack Kerouac as a boy during the 1930s.

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THE TOWN AND THE CITY (Excerpt)
by Jack Kerouac

George Martin, almost as drunk as a lord, was singing loudest of them all, while the mother sat at the piano playing with a radiant and happy flush on her face. It made Mickey happy, yet also somehow sad to see his mother laughing and playing the piano like that. At Christmas, he always liked to just sit beside her on the couch. She let him have red port wine to drink with the walnuts, and watch the warm soft lights of the tree, red and blue and green, and listen to Scrooge on the radio. He liked to listen to Scrooge every year. He liked to have the house all quiet and Scrooge and Christmas songs on the radio, and everybody opening the Christmas presents after midnight Mass….

They all went in the house. The singing went on around the piano; big Mr. Cariter was doing a crazy dance with his wife’s hat on backwards. It was too much for Mickey who had to sit down in a corner and giggle. For a moment he was worried when the Christmas tree shook a little from side to side, but it had been well secured to the floor—Joe had done the job himself—and he guessed it wouldn’t fall over. He went and threw more tinsel on the branches.

Ruthey was whispering to Mrs. Mulligan: “That’s Mickey’s blue star up there on top of the tree. Every year we’ve got to get up on a chair and put it up or else! You know, or else!”

Mickey heard, but he paid no attention. He just stood before the tree with his hands clasped behind him. Then his mother came running over and threw her arms around him saying: “Oh, my little Mickey! He loves his tree so much!”

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Issued by Harcourt Brace in 1950, The Town and the City was Jack Kerouac‘s first published novel.

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THE TREE
by Jack Kerouac

The tree moving 
in the moonlight
Wise to me

PHOTO: “Autumn tree at night” by Micspics444, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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THE MOON
by Jack Kerouac

Racing westward through
the clouds in the howling
wind, the moon

PHOTO: “Autumn Full Moon” by DJ Villanueva, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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NOVEMBER HAIKU
by Jack Kerouac

Leaves falling everywhere
in the November
Midnight moonshine

PHOTO: “Autumn leaves in the moonlight” by Ray Christie, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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AUTUMN NITE
by Jack Kerouac

Cloudy autumn nite
— cold water drips
in the sink.

ILLUSTRATION:  “Vintage Faucet” by Anahi DeCanio. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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WALKING HAIKU
by Jack Kerouac

Walking down road with Allen —
Walking down the road in Autumn.

“Walking Haiku” appears on page 668 in Jack Kerouac Collected Poems, a 700+-page collection of Kerouac’s poetry published by The Library of America in 2012, available at Amazon.com.

GRAPHIC: “Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg in Autumn” by Silver Birch Press

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WAITING HAIKU
by Jack Kerouac

Waiting for the leaves
to fall —
There goes one!