Archives for posts with tag: Beat writers

by Alexis Rhone Fancher

I am ice
I am water
I am frost
cut by glass
I am a
whistle thru my teeth
I lose my hat
My eyes are locked
my bones are soup
I am stone
I am mad
I stare out. broken.

“shadowed” is based on “I Am a Shadow” by Diane di Prima.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer/photographer Alexis Rhone Fancher is a member of Jack Grapes’ L.A. Poets & Writers Collective. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in RATTLE, BoySlut, The Mas Tequila Review, The Juice Bar, Cultural Weekly, High Coupe, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, Tell Your True Tale, The Good Men Project, Bare Hands, 100-Word Stories, The Poetry Super Highway, Le Zaporogue, numerous anthologies, and blogs. Her photographs have been published worldwide, including on the covers of Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. In 2013, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. Visit her at


the black waters of lethe
by George McKim

in my dream
Garcia Lorca

i saw you
walk on the black waters
of lethe

“black waters of lethe” is based on “A Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  George McKim has an MFA in Painting. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Dear Sirs, Shampoo, Diagram, elimae, Ditch, Cricket Online Review, Blaze Vox, The Found Poetry Review Pulitzer Remix Project, and others.

by Allen Ginsberg

I didn’t know the names
of the flowers — now
my garden is gone. 

by Allen Ginsberg

On the porch
in my shorts
auto lights in the rain. 

by Allen Ginsberg

I quit shaving
but the eyes that glanced at me
remained in the mirror.


April 28, 2013 marked the 90th birthday of Carolyn Cassady— the accomplished and gifted woman associated with Beat writers Neal Cassady (one-time husband), Jack Kerouac (friend and lover), and Allen Ginsberg (friend and confidante). She wrote about these iconic figures and much more in her 1990 memoir OFF THE ROAD (available at

Carolyn showed artistic gifts from her early years — at age 12, joining a theater troupe in Nashville, where she won awards for her set designs. She received a scholarship to Bennington College (Vermont) — studying with choreographer Martha Graham, philosopher Erich Fromm, and poet Theodore Roethke — and earned a B.A. in drama in 1944. After graduation, she served as an occupational therapist for the U.S. Army, then moved to Denver in 1946 to study for her master’s degree at the University of Denver while working as a teaching assistant at the Denver Art Museum.


Fate intervened in 1947, when she met future husband Neal Cassady and his friends Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. While dating Cassady, Carolyn learned he was still married to his first wife, so she moved to California to pursue work as a costume designer in the movie business. Before starting the job, it became clear she was expecting a little Cassady — and decided to reconcile with Neal. They had three children together — and, in all, spent 16  tumultuous off-again-on-again years with each other, divorcing in 1963.

In 1983, Carolyn moved to England and continued to work as an artist and writer, until her passing on September 20, 2013

Photo: Carolyn Cassady in the early 1950s with Jack Kerouac and her daughter Cathleen


Harcourt Brace published Jack Kerouac‘s first novel, The Town and The City, (written under the name John Kerouac) in 1950, when the author was just 28. After the book proved a commercial failure, Harcourt refused to publish Kerouac’s second novel — rejecting On the Road in 1951. Now considered a modern classic, On the Road didn’t find a publisher for six years, until Viking Press issued the book in 1957.

 Photo: Tom Palumbo


“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” JACK KEROUAC, On the Road

Photo: Sunset MagazineALL RIGHTS RESERVED
May 27, 2012 marked the 75th anniversary of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Renowned the world over as a masterpiece of art and engineering, the Golden Gate ushers 120,000 cars to their destinations each day.

In a 1987 newspaper column, journalist Herb Caen described the Golden Gate this way: “The mystical structure, with its perfect amalgam of delicacy and power, exerts an uncanny effect. Its efficiency cannot conceal the artistry. There is heart there, and soul. It is an object to be contemplated for hours.” 

“…mint, mint, everything smelling of mint, and one fine old tree that I loved to sit under on those cool perfect starry California October nights unmatched anywhere in the world.” JACK KEROUAC, The Dharma Bums

Photo: “Lake Almanor, Northern California” by Bernie DeChant, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


“In the middle of the night, I got up because I couldn’t sleep…and examined the L.A. night. What brutal, hot, siren-whining nights they are! Right across the street there was trouble. An old rickety rundown rooming house was the scene of some kind of tragedy. The cruiser was pulled up below and the cops were questioning an old man with gray hair. Sobbings came from within. I could hear everything, together with the hum of my hotel neon. I never felt sadder in my life. L.A. is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; New York gets god-awful cold in the winter but there’s a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. L.A. is a jungle.”

From Chapter 13, On the Road by JACK KEROUAC (originally published in 1957)

Photo: Skid Row, Los Angeles, 1955. (From the Los Angeles ExaminerNegatives Collection, 1950-1961. Digitally reproduced by the University of Southern California Digital Archive. More information here.)