Archives for posts with tag: Jack Kerouac

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SAID AND DONE
by Ana Maria Caballero

I fear my capacity to guide
Mistake toward fulfillment

At times, I blame:

          The flurry of misprint,
          of crisis to unscramble;

          The renewed promise
          of classic self-improvement;

          The flat-water buoyancy
          of fresh peace.

Other times, I blame:

          This devotion
          to words and their construction –

          How they unsay as they say –
          How they commit to purpose as thought –
          How they slay aim through speech –
          How they make me prove and reprove this power –

          This lack.

IMAGE: “Manaña” by Ed Ruscha (2009), from his On the Road Exhibition at The Hammer Museum (2011) featuring words from Jack Kerouac‘s novel of the same name.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ana Maria Caballero has worked in finance, journalism, wine importation, and even for the Colombian government before recently becoming a mom. Now she focuses her efforts on writing poetry and book thoughts, available at thedrugstorenotebook.co. Her work has appeared in Big River Poetry Review, Elephant Journal, East Coast Ink, Really Systems, Aviary Review, CutBank, Ghost House Review, Dagda Publishing, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Boston Poetry Magazine, as well as other publications, and is forthcoming in Pea River Review and Smoking Glue Gun. She also writes a weekly poetry post for Zeteo Journal’s “Zeteo is Reading” section. She lives in Colombia.

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SUNFLOWER SUTRA (Excerpt)
by Allen Ginsberg

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust—
—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions—Harlem . . .

MORE: Read “Sunflower Sutra” by Alllen Ginsberg in its entirety at poetryfoundation.org.

SOURCE: “Sunflower Sutra” appears in Allen Ginsberg‘s Collected Poems, 1947-1980 (HarperCollins, 1984), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Sunshine Railroad” by Emily Stauring. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation of the 1950s. He is best known for his epic poem “Howl” (1955).

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A POEM FOR DADA DAY AT THE PLACE APRIL 1, 1958
by Jack Spicer

I
The bartender
Has eyes the color of ripe apricots
Easy to please as a cash register he
Enjoys art and good jokes.
Squish
Goes the painting
Squirt
Goes the poem
He
We
Laugh.

II
It is not easy to remember that other people died
besides Dylan Thomas and Charlie Parker
Died looking for beauty in the world of the
bartender
This person, that person, this person, that person
died looking for beauty
Even the bartender died

III
Dante blew his nose
And his nose came off in his hand
Rimbaud broke his throat
Trying to cough
Dada is not funny
It is a serious assault
On art
Because art
Can be enjoyed by the bartender.

IV
The bartender is not the United States
Or the intellectual
Or the bartender
He is every bastard that does not cry
When he reads this poem.

SOURCE: Poetry (July/August 2008)

PHOTO: “Blabbermouth Night, an open reading and forum, at The Place” by C.R. Snyder, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Spicer (1925–1965) was a poet often identified with the San Francisco Renaissance — the name given to the emergence of writers and artists in the Bay Area at the end of WWII. In 2009, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer won the American Book Award for poetry.

ABOUT DADA: Dada is a movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire. Its founders struck upon this essentially nonsense word to embody a playful and nihilistic spirit alive among European visual artists and writers during and immediately after World War I. They salvaged a sense of freedom from the cultural and moral instability that followed the war, and embraced both “everything and nothing” in their desire to “sweep, sweep clean,” as Tristan Tzara wrote in his Dadaist Manifesto in 1920. In visual arts, this enterprise took the form of collage and juxtaposition of unrelated objects, as in the work of French artist Marcel Duchamp. T.S. Eliot’s and Ezra Pound’s allusive, often syntactically and imagistically fractured poems of this era reflect a Dadaist influence. Dadaism gave rise to surrealism. (SOURCE: poetryfoundation.org.) To read more about Dadaism, visit wikipedia.org.

ABOUT THE PLACE: Between 1955 and 1959, The Place at 1564 Grant Street was at the center of San Francisco’s Beat culture — a bohemian bar managed by Knute Stiles and Leo Krekorian. In a 1986 interview published in North Beach Magazine, Krekorian, known as the “Grandfather of the Beats,” explained some of what was special about The Place: “When Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road people started hitchhiking to San Francisco from all over the country, even from foreign countries, and their first stop was The Place. They walked in with the luggage and I usually let them park their stuff a few days until they got squared away.” (Read more of this essay by Mark Schwartz & Art Peterson, originally published in The Semaphore #181, Fall 2007 at foundsf.org.)

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one 1
by Thomas R. Thomas

I met
my life
my life
on the road
to Los Angeles

I was
sweetly
intellectual

Then
for the first time
there was
Marylou

I
had arrived

SOURCE: “one 1*” is based on the first page of Chapter 1o in the novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas R. Thomas was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley west of LA. Currently, he lives in Long Beach, California. For his day job, he is a software QA Analyst. He volunteers for Tebot Bach, a community poetry organization, in Huntington Beach. Thomas has been published in Don’t Blame the Ugly Mug: 10 Years of 2 Idiots Peddling Poetry, Creepy Gnome, Carnival, Pipe Dream, Bank Heavy Press, Conceit Magazine, Electric Windmill & Marco Polo, and the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology. In November 2012, Carnival released his eChapbook, Scorpio, and Washing Machine Press released a chapbooklette called Tanka. In October 2013, World Parade Books published a book of his poetry, Five Lines. Visit the author’s website at thomasrthomas.org.

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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“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 Magazine, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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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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AT CHRISTMAS
by Barbara Eknoian

I see innocent fall of snow
from roofs
bedangled icicles
tracks of people
and a great pall of wind
The grief of birch
bent and wintering in woods
Our baseball field is lost
The blizzard oversweeping all
I reach the top of the hill
view the pond at the bottom
ice skaters thronging by
I circle the pond, the houses
the French Canadian paisans
are stomping their feet on porches
Christmas trees on their backs
Dusk’s about to come
I’ve got to hurry,
the first heartbreaking light
comes on red and blue
in a little farm window
across the pond

“At Christmas” is based on Jack Kerouac‘s story “Home at Christmas,” found on page 5 of the Beat Collection edited by Barry Miles, available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian’s work has appeared in Pearl, Chiron Review, Silver Birch Press anthologies, Re)VerbNew Verse News, and Your Daily Poem. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her recent releases include her first novel, Chances Are: A Jersey Girl Comes of Age (available at Amazon.com) and her poetry book, Why I Miss New Jersey (Everhart Press, available at Amazon.com). Her new mantra is Carpe Diem.