ron whitehead | robert m. zoschke | reflections upon the 50th anniversary of jack kerouac’s ON THE ROAD

4 02 2008

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NOTES from the UNDERGROUND…No. 132 | February 5, 2008

Special

KEROUAC
Anniversary Edition, No. 6
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of
—–ON THE ROAD—–
THE KEROUAC KONNECTION, 2007

RON WHITEHEAD, ROBERT M. ZOSCHKE —-“THE” BOOK, the Voices, the Movement, the Never-Ending HeartBEAT

Reflections upon the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD. Edited by Ron Whitehead and Robert M. Zoschke. Published in Heaven Books. Louisville, Kentucky, 2007 175 pp, Illustrated, $25 The book is available here…

My contention: The Beat never stopped with the death of Kerouac. Jack left the American road a little early, hit the dead-end waiting for us all, but left the roadmap in book after book, poem after poem, word after word humming down the centerline of every highway leading us on.

You can’t NOT get lost. LOST is the way.

What Kerouac may have never seen in the distance is just how long the road was, just how far many continue to follow it all over America, all over the world.

This one fine book by Ron Whitehead, Leader of the SOUTHERN BEAT BRANCH (Kentucky) world-class performer-poet of substance, sass, sagacity and co-editor, Robert M. Zoschke, wise/true-talkin’ poet with hard and fast lines on Chicago streets and Northern climes, is testament to Time’s tick-tock Beat, Kerouac’s to be-continued connections…essays. photos, artwork, stories and poems. 46 contributors, each with his/her own roadmap to the journey within. With the Ghost of Jack holding a candle to the dark…to get here from there, THIS way…

For openers, venerable Ferlinghetti (High Priest to a life writ to move, follow your own directions) is on the front cover—a picture-poem to Neal & Jack; the back cover, by veteran chronicler of the Beat, Christopher Felver. filmmaker and photographer.

Inside, cover to cover…Anne Waldman, t. kilgore splake, Jerry Kamstra, Carolyn Cassidy, Michael Madsen, Davis Amram, Gerald Nicosia, Frank Messina…to name but a few of the Beat persuasion, who know the words, the way, and the music…

Here’s a little taste of the book, starting with Ron Whitehead, who captures the essence of the Beat goes on…and ending with an excerpt from Rob Zoschke’s piece…how we got to where we are…Norbert Blei

podcastlogo.jpgNorb Blei discusses Reflections upon the 50th anniversary…Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with the book’s editors Ron Whitehead and Rob Zoschke. Just click on the image to the left to listen to it, or just here…

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On First Reading Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD Down and Out in Kentucky Part VII For Madmen Only by Ron Whitehead

We’d just finished our second fifth of Southern Comfort
and the mescaline was kickin in
Jimi Hendrix crosses borders threatening to ascend towards heaven
with lightning and thunder he plays
Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” stereo loud as it will go
here in the only underground bookstore in Kentucky
For Madmen Only
shelves and bins stocked with books and records from
City Lights and bookpeople San Francisco
Atlantis and Alligator New Orleans
teas and herbs candles and incense from mountain communes
turquoise blue Spiritual Sky
and next door in
The Store
our head shop
paraphernalia water beds posters GROW YOUR OWN
blankets and clothes from India Native American jewelry
and we’re serving the new consciousness
inspired by the one and only King of The Dharma Bums
Jack Kerouac
and yes there’s Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Gary Snyder Richard Brautigan Ken Kesey Alien Ginsberg William Carlos Williams William Blake Hermann Hesse Knut Hamsun Dostoevski Nietzsche Bukowski Thomas Merton The Dalai Lama Gandhi Burroughs LeRoi Jones Diane di Prima
Hunter S. Thompson
and more more more
with Robert Johnson Hound Dog Taylor Howlin’ Wolf Jimi Hendrix Patti Smith
and always Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan
on the stereo
but we’re Down and Out in Kentucky
failin like no others dare fail
and we’re always on the outside outsiders outlaws
bein told you don’t fit you ain’t shit what the fuck you doin here
and so On The Road
is where we live travelin travelin travelin
in search of IT
headed out of Kentucky cross the usa coast to coast
down to Mexico determined to
keep on keeping on truckin til the wheels fall off and bum
just passin thru searchin searchin yes after all these years
still searchin for IT and yet somewhere somehow one day one moment
at the heights of Machu Picchu we went further in traveled deeper
on the inner road we entered the third kingdom the fourth dimension
where lies the synthesis of apparently irreconcilable differences
and in the heart of The Big Bang Epiphany we discovered
that the power and the glory of IT is bound in the grace
of forgiveness of Beating Karma through love compassion
of persevering through desperate circumstances so now
we GO GO GO we Never Give Up recognizing Now that
The Road that Jack Kerouac’s Road that our Road
always leads On.

Visit Ron Whitehead’s extraordinary world at: www.tappingmyownphone.com

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All That Time, I Was Waiting On The Man (excerpt) by Robert M. Zoschke

…Kerouac’s narrative voice so dramatically immerses On the Road with uniquely underlying and overriding tenderness of heart, the life-source of harmonious human being goodness. My first dose of On the Road was a trifecta score of self-awareness, affirmation, and discovery. On the Road made the bells and whistles go off like nothing else.. .it is tenderness of heart that rejuvenates human compassion and love.. .it is tenderness of heart that leads a human being to a gut-check or a look-in-the-mirror during one’s darkest hours. You either have it or you don’t, sure-as-shit-plain-and-simple. And if you’re a writer, you’re either on the road or you aint. The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll. They couldn’t name it Jazz, Kerouac and Amram took care of that, in their own different way, and different is good. Different is the hope and the dream and the long shot chance of having the babe hear an outsider’s Pull My Daisy offer and wind up sticking around. Rock and Roll is just hollering You Aint Nothin’ But A Hound Dog and an even-money-shot at wondering why in the hell she would ever want to stick around afterwards with someone who hollered shit like that at her.

After first reading then re-reading On the Road.. .holding that tattered library copy in my hands.,,1 knew that at some point the peculiar path of my life that I was going to make damn sure to emerge would eventually lead here.. .to a shack of writer’s solitude in the savage and treacherous woods of northeastern Wisconsin.. .a place where all the miles on the road and the back alleys and broken glass and broken dreams and blessed salvation of living on the edge finally came to a steady halt at the typewriter.. .a place where the way-too-long detour shit of hustling and winning corporate awards and being deceived by an ex-wife and deceiving myself.. .finally unraveled.. .in earnest-honest-pure-holy-finger-dancing-on-the-keyboard.. .a place where cashing out my 401 K so I could pay hospital bills and divorce lawyers and skate away clean to get to the blank pages and all the words to come finally made smooth sense.. .a place I always knew awaited me.. .a place that finally became NOW instead of SOMEDAY.. .a place that is all too often empty and hollow and sexless and loveless and lonely-worse-than-Mr.-Funk-and-his-crony-Mr.-Wagnall-ever-imagined.. .a place that is all too often beat but never beaten.. .a place that is never unholy and always honest.. .a place that the Great Fortune Teller at the Typewriter in the Sky showed me was in the cards, like a hustling blackjack dealer to a hustling card shark when they both know the pit boss is momentarily distracted by God’s ample cleavage on the natural blonde at the table.. .a place that has become and always was the only place left.. .the only place worth anything at all in the end.. .the only place where the currency is my beating heart and the commerce is my blood on the pages everyone else sees as words.. .the value of which I inherently knew and felt and bonded with.. .a long time ago now.. .on that day-into-night-into-day when I first read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

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emily rose | the poem flying off the page

6 11 2007

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Poetry Dispatch No.201 | November 6, 2007

Special KEROUAC Anniversary Edition, No.5 In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of

ON THE ROAD

THE KEROUAC KONNECTION, 2007

EMILY ROSE | The Poem Flying Off the Page

In my once, annual contact with new and established writers (one week every June) at The Clearing, here in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, I have been beyond fortunate in witnessing writers, all ages, but young in particular, find their voice, nurture it, question it, put it down on paper, and for some, like Emily, really give it voice (performance personified). Let it rip, fly high, dramatically, poetically off the page, bouncing off walls, banging on windows, breaking free.

Not all poetry was meant for life and death upon the printed page. The Beats knew this in their very humming bones. (Where’s the stage, man? The platform? The soapbox? I got things to say, to shout! Gotta let it out! You gotta listen!)

You can’t go back to Kerouac and Company and not hear Jack jazzin’ it, Ginsberg howling, Corso cavorting, Snyder contemplatively-echoing from far off Western/Eastern mountain tops, or Ferlinghetti freewheeling it in a slow dance all his own.

And lest we forget ‘the women-a-the-Beat’ who also took the stage front and center, there was among them in the ‘70’s (is still) the ‘enchanter’ Anne Waldman (FAST SPEAKING WOMAN, and Other Chants, City Lights, 1975, Pocket Poet Series #33).

Fast forward, 2007—the Kerouac Konnection, 50 years later, out there, everywhere…‘the Beat of/On The Road yet, still…

So, here’s the Konnection…Emily Rose.

Hear it now…in HER own words—and just imagine her shtick upon the stage. Norbert Blei

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Bad Libido by Emily Rose

Take my libido, please
“Cause honestly
It’s more trouble that it’s
worth.

It’s standing in the corner
Pointing to the biggest
Asshole in the room
Saying,
“Go home with that guy
‘Cause he’s got an ego
Big enough to compensate
for your lack of confidence.”

And he’s ‘sexy’ with his
Lack of interest
Leave you with the check
Lying naked in your bed
Sort of attitude that,
for some reason,
Is somehow
Totally irresistible.

‘Cause I don’t
Have bad judgment,
But my libido does.
So take it,
Honestly,
‘Cause I don’t want it.
After three drinks it
Drowns itself in
Desperate attraction.

And you’re looking
Pretty good right now
‘Cause you’re artistic
And unemployed
And there’s nothing
More attractive
To my drunken libido
Than a man with no purpose
“Cause his purpose
Rest somewhere between
My libido
And the morning after.

Take it.
Honestly,
‘Cause it’s cheap
And indiscriminate
And pissing me off.

Hey,
How you doing,
You totally unattractive
Regret waiting to happen?

“Cause I’m a lonely woman
With a Queen size bed.
That’s right,
Queen size,
With a velvet comforter,
And my libido’s making
Hint hint bedroom eyes at you
While I’m trying to
Resist her insistence that
You’re a diamond in the rough,
When you’re really just another
Snake in the grass.

So,
Take my libido, please
“Cause it does me
No good.

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Bliss by Emily Rose

I met you when I was nine,
Perhaps I was too young.
You had always intrigued me,
Even before our introduction.

Our affair began in my basement—
Hidden from my mom.
It only took a moment
To be addicted to your taste.

You weren’t yet deep inside me,
It was a prelude to our life.
For at that moment I knew
That I’d be with you always.

I was not your first lover.
Many have known you through the years,
But if they knew the danger,
They would have walked away.

My beautiful addiction.
My adored poison.
I try so hard to hate you,
But my body is obsessed.

The simple beauty of the act.
The scent that saturates…
My skin
My clothes
My hair
My mind

Our occasional affairs
Became habit,
And too soon
Turned to routine.

I free you from your confines,
Place you betwixt my lips,
Gently suck the fire through you,
And you give me what I need.

The—deep—in—hale
That brings me close to death.
You fill my lungs with warmth,
You clear my head of cares.

Oh my beautiful addiction!
My sweet, sweet poison!
They told me I should give you up.
They told me to walk away.

So, I tuned my back.
I told you no—
But you knew that I’d return.

Now, I hold you between my fingers,
Press you to my lips,
And as the smoke returns—
I remember,
that loving you
Is
Bliss.

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Where the Poets Run Free by Emily Rose

The overturned bottle
Lying head first
In the ice bucket
Sings of my condition
In the jazz smoked confines
Where I sit,
Intoxicated by the words
Stroking my ears
For the last few hours.

My head spinning
Swimming with images
In phrases.

She’s knocking
on my insides,
Hungry for permission
To come out and play.

She’s
The demon
The poet
The ID

She wants
To know
She wants
To feel
She wants
To speak
She wants
It all.

My eyes shut tight
Against what is,
My mind dances
In the feeling of it.

Don’t want to return to
The thunderous silence
Of train rides and
Paychecks
Coffee stains and
Phone bills.

Want to stay here with
Jazz kisses and
Prose parades
Electric skin and
Open ears.

Where the poets
Run free.

crp016_t.jpgfrom: CIGARETTE LOVE SONGS AND NICOTINE KISSES, by Emily Rose, Cross+Roads Press, #22, 2004. $10. Limited edition, 300 copies. Only a few archival/signed copies remain for libraries and collectors. Price: to be negotiated

P.S. If you’re lucky, if you’re in the Chicago area, catch her act/poems/person sometime at Performance Poetry venue or another in the city “of the big shoulders.”





charlie rossiter | 4 poems

2 11 2007

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Poetry Dispatch No. 198 | October 24, 2007

 

Special KEROUAC Anniversary Edition, No. 4 In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ON THE ROAD

THE KEROUAC KONNECTION, 2007

Charlie Rossiter

Lost and Gone
Following the Beat wherever the road leads…
where it’s been…is now before you…just up ahead…
another roadside distraction…
Drivin’ (Jack’s) instructions, beating on-an’-off neon-blue against the windshield:
Scribble secret notebooks and wild type-written pages for the joy of it,
pausing in momentary movement to scribble another note to nowhere:
intro-inquisitiveness and invention…
in search, still, of the metaphoric Being and Being Beyond Jack’s Way
deep into the heart of America…
In
ter
i
or
enter
writers with nothing to show for a life on the line but words, words, words.

To dissect this particular map-a-the-road for the moment one more time, (Blei’songoingriff here-in-the-making on the Beatific Journey, Part__?__(numero nada) which indeed goes on and on, destination as-they-used to-say: “FURTHER” because that’s where it’s always bound for: Kerouac Konnections, Post Beat poems so far to speak, confirm the original source…

In the Rossiter case of continuance (below) the music of the journey re-visited…ah-and-all that jazz—the beat, the improv, the mind-collaged sounds crash-flowing, drifting in blue-smoked air, caught between the sonorous silence of plucked strings, pounded with sticks on skin, beat into floors, sparking off brass, tripping along ivory, un-trapped in the throat, wrapped around the woman, the lover wrapped around you—the dark road taken inner, deeper, to follow the fragmented self to the center, wholeness of being everywhere, nowhere but home in the bone, born in the black…a pause in the road’s way (Sweet Home Chicago)…that

and this too, the coming-and-going of age…a lament, a mournful song, for the way things were in that time lost and gone…our time lost and gone as well but for this—the words to continue…

to continue that search for that road, whatever the distance, to take us away from ourselves…

…in no time at all. Norbert Blei

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READING BLACK SNAKE SOLOS LISTENING TO HAYDN by Charlie Rossiter

digging them both
as if Quincy Troupe
and Franz Josef
spoke the same language
the way Charlie Patton
and Mozart speak
the same language
and ShakespeareMingusandHowlingWolf
speak the same language
no question
the back door man is universal
as a Bach cantata
and Robert Johnson knows something
Picasso knows
about what’s lurking
beneath the surface
which tells you
when you dig
your way
to the bottom
you’re in deep

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SWEET HOME CHICAGO by Charlie Rossiter

AC Reed at the mike shouts
“I’m the man that’s full of shit”
and the cigarillo bass man
thumps a riff, the crowd roars,
and two guitars start screaming
AC honks his sax and moans
a hundred smoky voices
climb the walls of
She’s So Fine
the waitress yells “this ain’t
they way they do it in LA”
and the band cranks up another notch
and brings it home
to sweet home
Chicago.

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ELEGY by Charlie Rossiter

kerouac’s gone
and Cassidy too
and the road dreams
and the beatness
and bird
and ‘trane
and the life call
that drove them
half-crazed across a continent
in search of
what it was
all about
ant they were
all about
what it did
or did not mean
whatever happened to sonny barger
the original hell’s angels
and the drapes and teddy boys
who hung around
shoobopping to the drifters
and bo diddley
and later to the skinny supremes
whatever happened to payola
elvis wolfman jack
levis that shrink to fit
artifacts of a simpler
time and place
where are they now?
still around still around
as the Platters sang
they would be museum pieces
in their original form
but elvis is dead
and the wolfman too
and levis have made it
in the suburbs
where they wrap around
the sprawling asses
of middle-aged housewives
who wouldn’t wear them then
for fear of losing their chances
at the dream lawyer
who’s now boring them to death
and driving them
to these pale reminders
of an age
that’s lost
and gone

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OF ALL THE CHEAP MOTELS I BEST REMEMBER by Charlie Rossiter

the sign by the shower said
let it run 5 minutes for hot.
the sign by the door said
don’t use our towels
to check your oil. the glasses
were dirty, the ceiling bulb
was bare, night wind came in
at the door, the bed sagged
the sheets were thin, the walls
were cold and the room smelled
slightly of mildew.
the tv was twenty years old.
but ah my friend
so were we
so were we

strichstrich.jpgfrom EVENING STONES, 1999, Ye Olde Font Shoppe, a few copies still available from the author, $7.50 inc. postage. Contact the author: charlie.rossiter at poetrypoetry dot org
Other works by Charlie Rossiter and poet, Al DeGenova (both of the Beat persuasion), can be found in BACK BEAT published by Cross+Roads Press (2001). Originally priced at $10. Only archived copies (first edition) remain. Price, negotiable.





norbert blei | be it beat

9 10 2007

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Special KEROUAC

Anniversary Edition, #1 In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ON THE ROAD

THE KEROUAC KONNECTION, 2007

By Norbert Blei

I guess I’ll lead this off, if you don’t mind, start the first leg of the journey, and keep this Kerouac junket rolling via “Notes from the Underground” and “Poetry Dispatch” from now till year’s end, whenever THE spirit moves, whenever I see another curve in the road, alternate route, hitchhiker, mountain view, desert stretch, crossroad, caution sign, distance marker, roadside attraction…sense that old heartbeat to keep going.

Well, so it’s come to this indeed…fifty freakin’ years and still rolling. Who would of thought the Beat, the Beatific, that Bountiful Kerouacian road tearing heavenly havoc straight thru the American psyche, would be baptized, confirmed, hallowed in the name of the father, O Jack, still preaching—‘Hey! Get off your ass, man. Go!’

“Everywhere in America I’ve been in crossroads saloons drinking with whole families…The sun began to get red. Nothing had been accomplished. What was there to accomplish?…Mañana man, we make it; have another beer, man, dah you go, dah you go!”

No need here to repeat all the accolades printed and broadcast thus far on the 50th by publications and media outlets that didn’t give the book’s birth (this someday-to-become literary extravaganza called KEROUAC) the old snowball’s chance in Dante’s last circle of hell, when this throbbing manuscript (rolled/ unrolled/stacked) on the table finally saw print, hit the light of day in an oh so silent generating 50’s Americana of oh-thank-you, mum’s-the-word, oh-no-not-me. Nor did anyone foresee the Beat to come, an old beat, one the mass of lives lived in daily desperation were disinclined to hear yet learn to live with, beat Time to.

We’re talking history here, literary & otherwise…when & then and now or never:

Be It Beat

Be

beat

be it Beat.

Be as the beginning,

rhythm in time…

being, being there, beating.

beating time back.

Heart beating in the universe.

heya heya heya.a yo.ho yaha hahe.ya.an, Native American Navaho chant

(Kerouacian OLD ANGEL MIDNIGHT tongue).

“All good things are wild and free,” Thoreau’s ear to the earth. “Give me for my friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones.”

“The purpose of life seems to be

to acquaint man with himself,” preaches Emerson.

“Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.”

Heart beat,

beat beat beat

beating the storylines of a country and its people,

individually, in unison, in time.

It’s all the same generation,

the beat within.

“I celebrate myself and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loaf and invite my soul,” wails Whitman.

“Breathe the air but leave plenty after me.”

After he, after we, after thee,

on the upbeat…Vachel Lindsay’s drum:

“Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.

Beware beware, walk with care,

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.”

Upbeat, downbeat, beatbeat, beatbeatBeat

“Drum on your drums, batter on your banjoes,

sob on the long cool winding saxophones.

Go to it, O jazzmen,” Sandburg croons in the Chicago streets.

“I will be the word of the people…I will say everything.”

(O jazzmen, O beatmen,

O bebop Bird, ah um Mingus, O blue Miles men,

beating in the waiting wings)

It’s like it’s all always coming together, man…

Enter: THE Beat, in their own time,

The word and world according to Then & Now.

The Beat all around as we breathe.

News Flash from the Cosmos: JACK’S BACK!

Subtext: HE NEVER LEFT THE ROOM.

Check today’s poetry scene, performance & slam,

check the little mags & small presses,

the roads taken, the streets, the bookstores,

the angry pockets of America the Beautiful—bruised, broken, beat.

Jack’s back and crackin’, memorializing the moment.

“Where we going, man?”

“I don’t know.”

“…time to move on”….

Move on, man, but hear the Howl among us still:

Kerouac, Ginsberg, Waldman, Corso, Kandel, Kaufman, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs, Snyder, DiPrima, Cassady, Jones, Welch…

The heart of the Beat beats on…

The shadow of Patchen, past:

“I believe that to deliver myself

Is to deliver you.”

The prayer of Kandel, historic-present:

“LET IT GO!

“IT NEVER STOPS MOVING”

Be your own breath beating Buddha, any Way.

All together now:

The Beat in the beginning is now and ever shall be,

Ah, man!

Norbert Blei

Intro poem/riff from BACK BEAT by Albert DeGenova and Charles Rossiter, Cross+Roads Press , $10 , only a few copies remain





allen ginsberg | howl

8 10 2007

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Allen Ginsberg — as photographed by William S. Burroughs — on the rooftop of his Lower East Side apartment, between Avenues B and C, in the Fall of 1953.

Poetry Dispatch No. 196 | October 7, 2007

Special KEROUAC

Anniversary Edition, #3 In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ON THE ROAD

THE KEROUAC KONNECTION, 2007

On this day, October 7th, in 1955, poet Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” for the first time at a poetry reading at Six Gallery in San Francisco. He had never given a public reading before, but he wanted to read the poem out loud before people read it in a book, so he organized a reading with five other poets at a converted auto-repair shop in downtown San Francisco called the Six Gallery. Ginsberg was the second-to-last reader. He was a little nervous, but after a few lines of the poem, he began to chant the words like a preacher, and the audience began to cheer at the end of every line. Kenneth Rexroth, the emcee of the event, was in tears by the end of the poem, and he later told Ginsberg, “This poem will make you famous from bridge to bridge.” Rexroth was right. Lawrence Ferlinghetti published HOWL and OTHER POEMS in 1956, and an obscenity trial made it a huge best-seller. [Source: The Writer’s Almanac]





mark weber | 3 poems

6 10 2007

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Poetry Dispatch No. 195 | October 6, 2007

Special KEROUAC Anniversary Edition, #2

In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ON THE ROAD

 

THE KEROUAC KONNECTION, 2007

In the On the Road tradition…the voice, the beat within us still… today’s featured poet: Mark Weber | three poems by Mark Weber from AVENIDA MAñANA, Zerxpress, 725 Van Buren Place SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108…Norbert Blei

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it’s lightning, son
you don’t want it close
it’ll turn you cross-eyed
and evil, thirsty for
what the Lord can’t provide
something down at
the bottom of the well
clarified, but
with hands grabbin at you
no, it’s way too late for
the sign of the cross, brother
you best fire up that Pontiac
and burn rubber

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the older i get the more
i find out how much i
don’t know
i mean, i feel positively dumb sometimes
dumb and dumbfounded
the things you see
and hear
that leave you nonplussed
befuddled
uncertain whether you have any grounds
to venture an opinion at all?
maybe
that’s why i found out on this trip
how much i dig driving at night
just driving
on some lonely backroad of Nevada desert
or north up 395 in California
all of Utah, Arizona
driving way into the night for hours
like alternate reality
suspended time, haunted
hallucinatory
&
calm

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some time ago
I read this essay where this poet
was saying that a poet’s job was
to be at leisure as much as possible
and i thought to myself Where does a person
sign up for a job like that? i can malinger
with the best of them, loaf around counting
clouds, wallowing in sloth & indolence, all
are my specialties, but i’m a house painter
and i got a lot of work to do
i take the winter off every year
to hone my dilatory skills, refraining from
as much activity as possible, vegetating
and i like to take trips like this
alone
because i’d drive anyone else
crazy
because i like to stop
at all the places
that make no sense
and look around
and besides, i’m
so jacked up on Lipton tea that
I’ve got to stop every so often to take a leak
and at night the stars out here
in the middle of nowhere, the deep desert
perfectly assimilate you into
everything all as one
so, i rent this stereo on wheels — 2005 silver
Pontiac Grand Prix — throw my guitar in the
back seat, fill the trunk with water, tea, and
grape fruit, and drive to nowhere in particular

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The Autobiography (So Far) of MARK WEBER

my blood comes from Celts to Ulster-Scots to Okies. Straight Line. loss in some Swiss-German, a dash of Swedish, a smidge of Ashkenazie, a pinch of raccoon, tincture of wildebeest, some 4/4 time, and a couple shots of Jack Daniels, and there I am: pure bred mongrel. Six degrees of endocrinological mayhem. As independent as a hog on ice. Born 1953 thirty miles east of Los Angeles, lived there 32 years. Beneath the mighty San Gabriel Mountain Range. Raised homing pigeons as a kid. Had a glorious childhood in Cucamonga, good parents (Don & Joy), trouble didn’t start till later when the cops wouldn’t quit picking on me. Learned guitar and played with my honkytonk grandfather.

Thanks to radio station kppc in the 6os I discovered a whole world of music. Entangled in the California Penal System for awhile (can you say gaol?) Bail. Wrote a column for international jazz mag coda covering Los Angeles years 1976-1986, kept writing for coda from other locales thereafter. My first published poem was in high school newspaper. My first poetic influence was Ferlinghetti’s pictures of the gone world. Come 1986 the police made it impossible to stay in California & thanks to God and Greyhound I made tracks. Went north for awhile, then east, then back west, then south. Lived in Redding, ca (met Janet nearby at Whiskeytown Lake), then Cleveland (3 tremendous years), then Salt Lake City (2 unbeliev­able years), eventually Albuquerque 1991 where I paint houses and do the jazz show Thursdays on kunm radio. And run Zerx Books & Records. You can see my archive of jazz photos & related papers & recordings via ucla website and on metropolis.








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