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Posts Tagged ‘the Beats’

After dropping off Violet at a friend’s house today, an hour-and-a-half east of here, I stopped, impromptu, in Lowell. After much scratching of my head (lack of signage, fanfare, proper recognition), I was able to locate the Jack Kerouac memorial park. I don’t capitalize those last 2 words because I can’t really be sure that was the name. It’s a pretty sad thing when one of your most famous and influential residents is not given his proper due. Or maybe it is as fitting as it can be, like a sutra.

Lowell? You’ll just have to see it for yourself. In spite of early impressions, I do hope to go back on a non-Sunday, when not every sign in every store window is turned around to say CLOSED. I would like to walk along the canals and to visit the textile museums and to see, if possible, Kerouac’s house and grave.

What I did see were a lot of overweight Americans sitting on park benches, smoking, staring, most looking generally uncouth and threatening, downtrodden, down-in-the-mouth, unaware of Kerouac, of poetry, of anything but subsistence and it didn’t look like they were having a very good go at it.

Not having planned very well, and being sans fancy hand-held device, I was unable to take photos.

I only ever read 3 Kerouac books, way back in my 20s. On the Road and Dharma Bums, yes, that was it, and finally, after my dad was dead, Dr. Sax and that one rocked my face off. That was the finest book of the three. I fell in love with it. Was it the timing, because I was filled with grief and alcohol? What would I think now? I may never know, may never read it again.

Anyway, I tried to take a photo of a couple of the inscriptions on the marble tablets in the sculpture memorial, but I have a rinky-dinky old cell phone and even if I could make out the images, I have no way of getting them onto my computer. You can look up google images for the park, but not much will be viewable there, either. It’s a sad state of affairs, I tell you, as if every person who ever visited also forgot her camera.

It’s not the most elegant passage, but it’s a pretty damn elegant passage. Merci, ‘ti Jean, merci!

from The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac

22

Stare deep into the world before you as if it were the void: innumerable holy ghosts, buddhies, and savior gods there hide, smiling. All the atoms emitting light inside wavehood, there is no personal separation of any of it. A hummingbird can come into a house and a hawk will not: so rest and be assured. While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.

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