Happy Birthday Jack Kerouac!

 

Kerouac quote 2

He was a wide spirit, a dazzling voice that revealed a landscape of metaphor, a believer in humanity, a dreamer, a doer and an explorer of metaphysical consciousness. He was also a recluse, socially awkward, a drug abuser, an alcoholic and a man who became so overwhelmed with his own fame it ultimately destroyed him.

There are two types of people in this world; those that ‘get’ Kerouac, and those that do not. I am in the first category, of course ūüôā

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac (aka Jack) was born on March 12, 1922 in Lowell Massachusetts to French Canadian parents who had emigrated from Quebec.  Little Jack spoke French as a child and reportedly did not learn English until he was six years old. Yet he went on to become one of the most prolific and controversial American  writers of the 20th century.

Kerouac’s childhood was a mix of working class sensibilities and Catholic spirituality. When Jack was just four years old, he lost his older brother Gerard to rheumatic fever. He never quite recovered from the loss and believed Gerard followed him around as a guardian angel. After meeting ¬†Neal Cassady in the late 1940’s, the two developed a close bond and Jack always felt that Neal was possibly the reincarnation of Gerard.

Jack played football and earned a scholarship to Columbia University. It was there he met fellow writers Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs.

Jack-Kerouac (1)

Jack broke his leg playing football, lost his scholarship and dropped out of school but nevertheless he, Ginsberg and Burroughs became known as the founders of Beat Literature. Jack went on to serve in the Merchant Marine and the Navy, later taking a series of odd jobs. All the while he was writing, writing and writing more. Some of his early books were not published until after his death.

Ironically, when people think of the word Beat, they associate it with Beatniks — those cool-cat-hip beret-wearing bongo players who eventually took over the poetry cafe scene. This idea was, however, not what Kerouac & company intended. The true meaning of Beat, Kerouac insisted, was the feeling his generation had after being ‘beat down’ by World War 2. It also referred to beatific, as in the Beatitudes of the Bible. The Beats were a marginalized segment of American society; leftover hobos, shell shocked veterans, ramshackle misfits — the exact types of characters Jack met during his cross country adventures. They shared a longing for the Divine.

His masterpiece novel ‘On The Road’ was published in 1957. ¬†It brought him almost instant fame and success. That success was, in reality, hard earned, as Kerouac had spent most of his life as a poor drifter and outcast bum. Fame and fortune overwhelmed and eventually devastated him.

A restless heart, often accused of misogyny, Kerouac was married three times and had one daughter. His life followed a nomadic pattern that he could never quite resolve.  He made his home in various places around the country, never truly settling down. On The Road is a thinly disguised memoir of his trips between the East and West coasts. He often traveled with best friend Neal Cassady.

The Beat movement represented a certain type of freedom, patriotism and love for the land. Apple pie diners, Colorado cowboys, Frisco jazz clubs, purple mountains, red rock deserts and the tranquility of nature.  Jack began to study Buddhism in his quest for spirituality.  In later years, the peace loving Hippies of Haight Ashbury would pay tribute to  the Beats.

Jack may have had a guardian angel, but his demons never left him.

Jack-Kerouac

After he achieved literary success, his privacy became a thing of the past. He was now a celebrated author, the spotlight forced upon him.  Still socially awkward, Jack took to heavy drinking. He once told his friend and fellow poet Fran Landesman that he would have liked to commit suicide, but because his Catholic faith prevented him from doing so, he had decided to simply drink himself to death.

It worked. Jack Kerouac died on October 21, 1969 at the young age of 47. ¬†The official cause of his death was internal bleeding due to alcohol abuse.¬†Jack had once said he wrote his novels because “we’re all gonna die.” ¬†Luckily for us, his words live on.

Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs wrote this musical tribute ‘Hey Jack Kerouac’:

This short documentary (30 minutes) captures some of the most important parts of Kerouac’s life. Hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

Universal Languages

 

play on

Music needed                                                                                                                                                      no  translation  violin                                                                                                                             bittersweet, saxophone bold, drum heart and the                                                               xylophone shining.

Color needed ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†no translation red passion ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†black mystery, bridal white, ¬†yellow ¬†and the sun’s ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†bread ¬†of life.

chagall

Grief needed                                                                                                                                                    no translation, desolation,                                                                                                                         dull eyes, empty breath forever                                                                                                         broken in its lonely void.

grief-pd-3

 

Love needed                                                                                                                                                        no translation, a wink a smile a                                                                                                             steady gaze, gripped kiss raw flesh, leaving only                                                                           grace and desire.

chagall-3

 

 

 

 

To Criticize

 

pop-culture

We can’t blame them. After all, ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† we pay them to criticize.

Art critics, film critics, literary critics, television critics, political critics, critical analysts

Anyone

will criticize anything                                                                                                                                      even things they know

nothing

about. Confuse with configuration baffle with banter solidify with soliloquy debase with damnation

And so in the end

no one knows                                                                                                                                                how t0 feel                                                                                                                                                      about anything.                                                                                                                                              That is Precisely

the point

be-an-encourager

 

 

 

Crossing Over

 

hallway pd

They spoke of crossing over. The nebulous                                                                                       abyss where flesh                                                                                                                                             meets ellipsis where all                                                                                                                                       is suspended  yet worlds                                                                                                                                   create a spectrum of                                                                                                                                       connected                                                                                                                                                           mind.

Do you miss them?

I do, I said. And I know for I have lost many.

Brought down in candlelight clean white                                                                                             hospital sheets silent drip                                                                                                                               padded sneakers of nurses in the hall.

I care for dusty remnants                                                                                                                                     fresh flowers                                                                                                                                                       moss covered stone.                                                                                                                                           Urns and ashes                                                                                                                                                       dates and places                                                                                                                                                     to remind me

of all

they have left

behind.

                                                                                                                                                                            fantasma-casa-encantada

 

 

Hopeful

 

blue-eye-3

Ring out the old bring in the new                                                                                                                 to leave a year grieved, so                                                                                                                                     bludgeoned by trouble, darkness and hate.

And yet

we keep coming back                                                                                                                                     remain somehow ingrained                                                                                                                                 with hope eternal                                                                                                                                                   see it through,

because THAT                                                                                                                                                              is what                                                                                                                                                                     the best of us do.

new-year-dog

Have a Happy New Year.

 

 

 

Autumn Equinox

 

tree-pd

Equal parts dark and light, equal parts day and night. As the                                                          sun wanes in the North                                                                                                                              so do we.  The long

but

necessary

sleep jumps from the tilt of the sky.

setting-sun-pd

Crops harvest, land                                                                                                                                      rests, hot beat                                                                                                                                                of summer gone. Painted now                                                                                                                 in cool splashes. Citrine

amber, scarlet.  Rich jewels  to                                                                                                           ripen                                                                                                                                                          and brighten

the oncoming night.

autumn-pd

 

Have a Blessed Mabon.

autumn-equinox-blessing-pd

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe…

 

dream-vision pd

somewhere                                                                                                                                                between                                                                                                                                                     Bermuda triangles tangles comets and                                                                                               satellite celluloid  there exists                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            a  black  hole                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and some person  who is                                                                                                                              a near likeness to you                                                                                                                           sits on a shore where time                                                                                                                         moves in different increments

No one is ever late

or early

or even ‘punctual’

 

They need                                                                                                                                                       no elections no protections, no laws  no cause

they never ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† EVER ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† say things like ‘tomorrow’ or

‘maybe’ or ¬†‘someday’

They just are.

Being

Here

Now.

 

dreams pd 3

 

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt  Maybe