ron whitehead | searching for jack kerouac

Searching for Jack Kerouac

visited San Francisco
flew to Chicago
hooked up with Rob Zoschke
flew on to Oakland, California
Hertz rental Mustang GT
Rob at the wheel Neal Cassady
fast weaving thru heavy traffic
over Bay Bridge

wandered North Beach San Francisco
suitcase weighed down with heavy words

reflections upon the 50th anniversary
of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

54 contributors europe usa
front cover Lawrence Ferlinghetti
back cover Christopher Felver
Gerald Nicosia t. kilgore splake Olafur Gunnarsson
Carolyn Cassady Paul K Yuko Otomo
Ed McClanahan Steve Dalachinsky Amanda Buck
Theo Dorgan Richard Deakin Michael Dean Odin Pollock
Mike Watt Jan Pankow Rinaldo Rasa
Didi de Paris Steve Cannon Anne Waldman
Sharon Doubiago Norbert Blei John Rocco
Charlie Newman Michael Madsen Robert M. Zoschke
Dave Church Ron Whitehead Herschel Silverman
Jeremy Hogan Daniel Barth Attila Gyenis
Bruce Hodder Early Thomas Karen Eloise Teskie
Susan O’Leary Sarah Elizabeth Andy Cook
Charles Rossiter John Ventimiglia Angelica Engel
Dean McClain Frank Messina Jerry Kamstra
Casey Cyr David Amram Guy Mendes
Visions of Johanna Jessica Ballenger Greta Whitehead
Xavier Noel Christian Hansen Beth Charles Yubie Navasat

where is Jack Kerouac
in Canada Lowell New York City North Carolina
Denver San Francisco Mexico City St. Petersburg
bones white light white heat bones
Jack Kerouac’s bones in Lowell, Massachusetts
where the road begins and ends

and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
with Rob Zoschke
out west as west as west can be west
and still be in the olding usa
there’s the Pacific Ocean
out past the Golden Gate
asian immigrants on boats
pleading waiting to get in
open spirit the dream
of freedom of joy
“it’s okay to be happy”
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
looks deep into my eyes my soul
and says “it’s okay to be happy”
what release I felt
years and years layer upon layer
of mountainous guilt fell away fell away
“it’s okay to be happy”
especially out far out west
on the left coast
determined to start a new life
divorced in august four months
grief subsides anger evaporates
out west far out west
San Francisco Oakland Berkeley Mill Valley Sausalito
non-stop performances visits travels
Berkeley Berkeley Berkeley
1968 still 1969 in Berkeley
visit Rob’s friend Todd Schriger
Einstein of the sacred herb
we pow wow with Todd and Captain Jack
peace pipe opens magic realms
we cross campus to Moe’s bookstore
where we’re told Chris Felver will be signing
his new BEAT book
Chris Felver
the best photographer on the planet
I wrote his phone number down in the flying Mustang GT
crossing Bay Bridge synchronicity good signs abound


“the most beautiful book ever produced
and published on The Beat Generation”

“In 2001, Ron Whitehead and I made a pilgrimage to Thomas Merton’s
grave to meet Father Patrick Hart. He had with him two poems
that Jack Kerouac had contributed to Merton’s journal, Monks Pond,
summer 1968…”

and on the next page Jack Kerouac Thomas Merton
the poems the journals the grave
Brother Pat and me at Merton’s grave
where I also stood with Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1993

and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
Moe’s bookstore Berkeley
and yes in walks Chris Felver and Joyce Johnson
and Susan and a Felver entourage including nubile neo-Beats
three young women walking their own Beat road
a joyous reunion
at Moe’s bookstore in Berkeley, California

determined to start a new life
new beginning days and nights visiting Felver
bridges cross bays endless miles of blue water
turquoise sky islands boats birds fish prisons
San Quentin Alcatraz trust fund yuppies
the middle class is dead
Reagan Bush Clinton Bush Jr killed the middle class

democracy is dying
even on the left coast

if we fail to reach our democratic potential
freedom and equality for all
if we fail
and we’re failing miserably failing
freedomed democracy will move west
continually west

go west young woman young man

the time of the grandmothers
the time of the nurturing healing feminine energy has come
patriarchy has sewn destruction
we must all female and male become
peace love and understanding are not dirty weak words
peace love and understanding are essential to our survival
rather than viruses let us be healer gardeners
dwelling harmoniously with Mother Earth

and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
“the one who’ll shake the ones unshaken
the fearless one
the one without bullshit”

and the sunday morning church bells chime cross the distance

I cast off the anxiety of authority of divorce of influence
and make myself new
breathing in salty sea breezes
my lungs and heart are healed
writing the heart
I have escaped my mental sanctum
where for too long I contemplated
divorce longing loss grief my complicated navel
I have finally pulled my head outta my ass
I am born again
my new church is my body
in which my soul dwells
now wherever I am I am in church
my soul my spirit my heart sing
sing songs of praise I give thanks
for each and every moment event person being
I give thanks for the pain suffering joy happiness
all and everything have brought me to this moment
this fleeting moment
and before this line is written it will be
gone gone gone into the past
even right now lasts less than a moment
fleeting fleeting life flies by fleeting
no since klinging to what is gone

I let go all klinging all holding all grasping all striving

I kling no more

I let go all and everything I let go

release release release

I can breathe again breathe at last
last breath will arrive soon enough

I am free

searching for Jack Kerouac
Jan’s lost father
their bones white bones buried
coast to coast
ghost to ghost
I see them now holding hands far seeing
staring at me from the other side
spirit realms Jack and Jan Kerouac
staring at me writing this poem
searching for them and I hear Jack say

“The World really does not matter, but God has made it so,
and so it matters in God, and He Hath Aims for it,
which we cannot know without the understanding
of obedience. There is nothing to do but give praise.
This is my ethic of ‘art’…”

and searching for Jack Kerouac
I realize that I don’t know anything nobody knows anything
but I embrace this beautiful terrible mystery
this mysterium tremendum called life
and I declare that henceforth and forevermore
I will do nothing but surrender my will to God
and sing songs of praise of thanks of joy of happiness
even if I die in a gutter with a bullet in my head
I’ll die singing songs of praise

and with Rob Zoschke and Chris Felver and Dan Barth
and Gerald Nicosia and Steve Dalachinsky and Todd Shriger
and my sister Robin Tichenor and Annie McClanahan
I’m searching for Jack Kerouac

Moe’s bookstore Berkeley Bird and Beckett Books San Francisco
Cafe Trieste Mill Valley Oakland Public Library
Cafe Greco North Beach San Francisco

non-stop performances visits travels

I bid farewell to ye oh holy far out left coast

and searching for Jack Kerouac
on the plane I read

“…the only people that interest me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,
desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that
never yawn or say a commonplace thing…but
burn, burn, burn like roman candles”

and on the plane by the window
peering through the clouds
I see his face Jack’s smiling face
and he whispers from the distance
he whispers

“One night in America when the sun had gone down –
beginning at four of the winter afternoon in New York
by shedding a beautiful burnished gold in the air
that made dirty old buildings look like the walls of
the temple of the world…then outflying its own
shades as it raced three thousand 200 miles over raw
bulging land to the West Coast before sloping down
the Pacific, leaving the great rearguard
shroud of night to creep upon our earth,
to darken rivers, to cup the peaks
and fold the final shore in…”

and now searching for Jack Kerouac
sitting at the window of Rob Zoschke’s writer’s cabin
deep deep in an evergreen forest
far northern Sister Bay, Wisconsin peninsula
Lake Michigan out the back side of the cabin
Green Bay out the front
ice on the water deep snow on the ground
snow falling snow falling
drinking red wine on a cold winter’s day
I’m searching yes after all these years
still searching for myself I’m folding the final shore in
still searching for the ever elusive Jack that’s right
I said Jack Jack Kerouac
I”m searching searching searching for Jack Jack Jack Kerouac

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…

To order a copy of Ron Whitehead’s 21st book/31st cd/dvd The Storm Generation Manifesto and on parting, the wilderness poems, published by Gill Scott Holland’s Holland Brown Books, send $25 (covers shipping), with your name and mailing address, to Ron Whitehead, 919 Cherokee Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40204. cell 502 396 5141. email website plus Nick Storm’s facebook site Outlaw Poet Ron Whitehead bout 2-hour bio documentary dvd Nick is producing on Ron’s life and work.

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