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

4 02 2008


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


Anniversary Edition, No. 6
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of

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…




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:


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.




2 responses

6 02 2008
steve dalachinsky

great thanks can you add my name to contributor’s list

steve dalachinsky

16 02 2008
Robert M. Zoschke

Wonderful beautiful treatment of the Kerouac Tribute Anthology, thanks Hatto. And Yes, Dalachinsky a very worthy writer of being noted on contributor list. His poetic essay rant in the Kerouac Book is a classic and it really led bled into the photography of Splake and artwork of Blei taking the book to another dimension…thanks again for the incredible spotlight on the book that was a labor of love for us all.

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