29 May 2014

I Am With You and I Like Dashes -- An Open Letter to the Late Jack Kerouac

Dear Jack, How ya doin' man? I really need to talk. I've got a case of the blues and it would be really nice if we could have one of those long rambling shambling conversations like you had with people like Snyder (Raphy) and Ginsberg (Carlo) and Carr Claude) and Corso (Rafael) and others. I know you don't know me so well but I'm sure we could chat all night. Right? I'm reading your letters now along with Desolation Angels for the second time. I've read your journals all your novels most of your poetry and a lot of things you didn't write but are written about you. Blue. Spontaneous prose heaven knows we could discuss with no mess or fuss the art of writing or even fighting or football or baseball or not being tall. We could lie about women we never met and about glory on the field we wouldn't yield. I'd ask you questions aplenty about people places and things. Bings and pings and everyone sings and here we are not very far.

Come on Jack. Come on man. Pay me a visit. I know at the most you'd come as a ghost but that'd be cool. I'm no fool. Just a guy trying to write and be outta sight. Beat. Yeah I feel it. The Dharma man completely there. You're putting words together like you did and re-creating places and times and conversations and rhymes. The dialogue so real descriptions we feel. And Neal! Cassady what a trip the guy had a grip. Except when he didn't but hey he was real and original and cool and different. Like wow that's what we dig is the people who never say a common thing like how was your weekend and have a good day and hey hey hey. We are different from the rest but the kicker is we're really the same and we know both these things and how they live together in our minds and its no contradiction. It is us.

But the drink man. We'd talk about that. So much you did. Too much you did. Killed you it did. And you knew it was coming. The death from the liquor. Always quicker. Why man why? There were other ways having a healthier life with much less strife. You aged so fast by being constantly gassed. I was going that way myself but got out and have been clean for decades. Its the way to go. Writing is better when you're not wetter. I could help you with that and you could help me with my tapping out of words.......

I like to use the ellipses. I like the dots...man. I am with you on the comma. No like. I am with you on the dashes. Like. I am with you on spontaneity. Much like. I am with you in Berkeley. I am with you in Lowell. I am with you in New York. I am with you in San Francisco. I am with you in Mexico City. I am with you in Paris. I am with you.

There are times when I feel we've already met and talked. That we've hung out in a Berkeley bungalow with Ginsberg and Snyder and Neal -- always Neal. That you have accepted me and listened and shared. My veins course with the words we've never spoken and with the ones that you've written and the ones that I've read and all the images you have created. The true life world of Desolation Peak. The reality of Ozone Park. The honesty of Lowell ball fields. The answers of the American roads. The winsome weirdness of Columbia University where you were at the same time as my mom. Know her? And of course the beautiful boastful brash Berkeley where I write these words. I was a toddler when you lived here. Ever see mom pushing me in my stroller. Ever think -- hey that little tyke seems all right like he can grow up to do some cool stuff -- truth -- I didn't and I did. I do and I don't. I will and I won't. That's what I wrote.

I'm typing the letters of wonder on my laptop of desire. I am reaching out across the years to a long dead writer and wishing he were here. Come on Jack. I'll buy you a coffee. 

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