On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
304 pages / $17.00 buy from Amazon
1. First thing I read by Kerouac was On the Road.
2. After that I read Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Mexico City Blues and a lot of other Beat shit (the most obscure of which was this poet Bob Kaufman who didn’t write his poems but walked up to ppl in cars at stop lights and spouted them then and there. After JFK died he went into a 10 year silence. When it ended the first words he spoke were: “To all those ships that never sailed” and then some more. I got that quote transcribed on my iPod. The iPod broke last summer.)
3. Big Sur is my favorite. The last few lines – that turn, that blink – I want it to be true and I think it is.
4. I first read On the Road my junior year in high school. It was just what I needed. I was bored. I called it depression at the time, but really I was just bored. I wanted to get my kicks.
5. When I got to college and read more “literature,” I grew wary of my early infatuation with the Beats. It seemed juvenile. I was eager to reread so I could dismiss it.
6. Then I reread it my junior year in college and I still liked it.
7. Dean is a crazy motherfucker.
8. I want to “sweat” like Dean. Of all the words I got from Kerouac (“blow,” “ball that jack,” “kicks”) I think sweat is my favorite. Dean gets going a hundred miles an hour just sitting there talking, scheming, licking his lips.
9. I’m not sweating. When I do sweat I don’t sweat for the reason Dean sweats. I sweat because its hot out or I’m nervous.
10. On the Road is very much of its moment: cars, San Francisco, the attempt to lay naked the psyche.
September 2nd, 2014 / 1:15 pm
by Jack Kerouac
Penguin Ink, 2011
224 pages / $12.84 buy from Amazon
1. The movie, based on Jack Kerouac’s book, based on Big Sur, 36.1075 °N, 121.6258 °W.
2. Voiceover beginning to end, front to back.
3. I think of all the times I’ve been to Frisco, ages 5, 6, 7, 9, 9, 9, 11, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 28. I think of City Lights, North Beach, Sea Otters, Strip Clubs, Merry-Go-Rounds, Mirrored Ceilings, Fake IDs, Suspension Bridges, Soccer, Coffee and Bread.
4. Boredom. On my fifth birthday there were too many children and too many presents. In the backyard my father starred in Oscar the Grouch’s Cooking Show. He juggled raw eggs and ate tuna fish/jellybean/sauerkraut sandwiches. There were words the whole time but nobody talked.
5. Iodine blast. Iodine: A novel by Haven Kimmel from a song by Leonard Cohen from iodine, I, atomic number 53. From my mother’s skin before I was my mother’s.
6. Big Sur: A descent into madness, a portrait of hell, a catalogue of imperfections.
7. When I read the intimate details of our lives out loud it hurts less.
8. Things included but not mentioned in this essay: words, cigarettes, stars, beer, wine, whiskey, sand, waves, women, rhymes, slow motion, flames, bottles, trees, water, haze.
9. City Lights is my second favorite bookstore in America. Anthony Edwards as Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Anthony Edwards as Dr. Mark Greene in ER, the longest running primetime medical drama until it wasn’t. Dr. Mark Greene eating a Chicago Hot Dog over the Chicago River on a break from Chicago’s Cook County General Hospital. When I eat a Chicago Hot Dog over the Chicago River I think of Sandra Bullock, not Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I never liked ketchup.
February 6th, 2014 / 4:45 pm