Kerouac Poster

Originally uploaded by dreamingyakker.

Here is what I deemed the best of Kerouac. His writing lends itself well to this form.

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The High Sierra of California is a really incredible book I must say – incredible in both a visual sense and a literary sense. Puts a quiver in your heart as bedtime reading. It’s inspiring me to get to the Sierras this summer and/or next year. It includes writings by Muir and Snyder, as well as beautiful woodblock prints by an artist whose name alludes me at the moment. Definitely worth a read.

Poet Norbert Blei has reminded me, via the excellent "Poetry Dispatch", that today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Kerouac's daughter Jan, who passed away in New Mexico in 1996 (three weeks before my own mother, oddly).

Jan wasn't acknowledged by Kerouac in his lifetime,despite a paternity test proving fatherhood–though I've always felt there was a tacit admission of parenthood in his granting of permission, during their second and only meeting, for Jan to use the Kerouac name in her books– and she continued to be denied the keys to the kingdom by the Estate after his death, even in the face of a legal challenge supported by Jack's only serious biographer Gerald Nicosia. One glimpse of father and daughter, when separate photographs are set side by side, makes obvious the absurdity of Jack's claim that there was no familial connection. Why the courts, will or no will (I believe a contested will was the main tool used to exclude Jan after Jack's death) didn't stop there and give her the recognition–and the financial support–she deserved is a madness even Jonathan Swift couldn't have done justice.

 But there it is. Unsavoury things happen in families, and downright vile things happen when money's involved. Let us remember Jan as a writer and poet of talent, and finally allow her into the hallowed halls of Beat study and scholarship, where she should have been all along– beginning on this day when she passed from the world ten years ago, aged only 44. There is a gross injustice here that needs to be put right, and we are the ones who can do it.

the fog thunders – we put
silver light on face – we
took the heroes in – a billion
years ain’t nothing

Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind
You’re a genius all the time
Writer-director of Earthly movies sponsored

I want to be considered a jazz poet
blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam
session on Sunday. It take 242 choruses;
my ideas vary and sometimes roll from
chorus to chorus or from halfway through
a chorus to halfway into the next.

music is noise, poetry dirt

fifty pesos
3 cheers forever
It’s beautiful to be comfortable
Nirvana here I am

I demand that the human race cease multiplying its kind and bow out. I advise it.

I curse and rant nowadays because I don’t want to have to work to make a living and do childish work for other men (any lout can move a board from hither to yonder) but I’d rather sleep all day and stay up all night scrubbling these visions of the world which is only an ethereal flower of the world, the coal, the chute, the fire and ashes all, imaginary blossoms.

Artist or no artist, I can’t pass up a piece of fried chicken when I see it, compassion or no compassion for the fowl.

The central entire essence of which is dazzling radiant blissful ecstasy unending, the unbelievable truth that cracks open my head like an oyster.

I’d rather but thin than famous – but I’m fat
paste that in yr. Broadway show

Readers may want to have a look at POLARITY, an e-magazine devoted to "New American Bohemian Literature", so it says, but with strong backward-looking Beat credentials too. Considerable figures from the Beat/ post-Beat world like Levi Asher and S.A.Griffin are part of the operation, and Carolyn Cassady, no less, is listed as an adviser (along with Neeli Cherkovski). For all that this "New Bohemian" (albeit a British one with Angry Young/ Old Man overtones), finds POLARITY a curiously lifeless affair. Perhaps I was influenced negatively by the rubbish links section they have, which directs you to all the stifling, ugly, over-commercial Beat Establishment websites. For real counter-cultural vim and vigour, you're better off reading ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE, the ULA's main website, or–best–Norb Blei's DOOR COUNTY TIMES. But don't let me influence you. Go to http://www.poembeat.com and make your own mind up.

My only possible statement on poetics and poetry is this: Add alluvials to the end of your line when all is exhausted but something has to be said for some specified irrational reason, since reason can never win out, because poetry is NOT a science. The rhythm of how you decide to "rush" yr statement determines the rhythm of the poem, whether it is a poem in verse-separated lines, or an endless one-line poem called prose (with its paragraphs).

So let there be no equivocation about statement, and if you think this is not hard to do, try it. You'll find that your lines are heavier than your intentions. And your confessions lighter than Heaven..

Otherwise, who wants to read?

~letter to Don Allen, fall 1959  (Heaven & Other Poems, City Lights Books 1977)

i daydream d.a.levy

is in the room next door

looking out over a city balcony

in summer smoking quietly

musing on the fine curve

of a woman’s legs

sliding among taxicabs

and hot dog sellers

trees shimmering in air

[editors note: who wrote this?]

by Gary Snyder, whose birthday was the 9th. 76!

I went into the Maverick Bar 
In Farmington, New Mexico. 
And drank double shots of bourbon 
		backed with beer. 
My long hair was tucked up under a cap 
I'd left the earring in the car. 

Two cowboys did horseplay 
		by the pool tables, 
A waitress asked us 
		where are you from? 
a country-and-western band began to play 
"We don't smoke Marijuana in Muskokie" 
And with the next song, 
		a couple began to dance. 

They held each other like in High School dances 
		in the fifties; 
I recalled when I worked in the woods 
		and the bars of Madras, Oregon.
That short-haired joy and roughness –
		America – your stupidity. 
I could almost love you again. 

We left--onto the freeway shoulders--
		under the tough old stars-- 
In the shadow of bluffs 
		I came back to myself, 
To the real work, to 
		"What is to be done."

by Gary Snyder

One of my favorites.

— 300,000,000— 

First a sea: soft sands, muds, and marls 
	— loading, compressing, heating, crumpling, 
	crushing, recrystallizing, infiltrating, 
several times lifted and submerged, 
intruding molten granite magma 
	deep-cooled and speckling, 
		gold quartz fills the cracks— 

— 80,000,000— 

sea-bed strata raised and folded, 
	granite far below. 
warm quiet centuries of rains 
	(make dark red tropic soils) 
	wear down two miles of surface, 
lay bare the veins and tumble heavy gold 
	in streambeds 
		slate and schist rock-riffles catch it – 
volcanic ash floats down and dams the streams, 
	piles up the gold and gravel— 

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