Two poems by Phil Linz, on the occasion of Jack Kerouac’s 100th birthday

March 15th, 2022

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Photo by Tom Palumbo from New York, NY, USA derivative work: Sir Richardson at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jack Kerouac/photo by Tom Palumbo

Jack Kerouac, c. 1956/He was born on March 12, 1922

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Beat Youth

It’s the darkness, man, the
Darkness
………….that laughs with the evil of the vamp.

It’s the wildness, man, the
Wildness
…………that greets the gray of dawn.

It’s the lifelove, man, the
Lifelove
…………that lives the energy of youth.

It is the celebration of magnificence
It is the power of possibility
It is the smile that is rejected
…………that teaches
…………that continues to smile.

Now alone in the universe
Universe eye grinning brightly
An ash falls on the sand of a holiday beach
Impermanent as youth

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…………………………………….Rockaway Beach, NY; July, 1974

……………………………………(first appeared in The Chapbooks: Collected Poems)

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For Jack’s 100th Birthday

Surfing channels last night, found the last hour of On The Road
A video I own, after being told of its existence by Brian Hassett

Many times I took the road up to Lowell, October, the celebration:
“I was going home in October. Everybody goes home in October.”

Last time I read, backed by Amram, at Sunday’s outdoor open mike
Amram’s amazing, poetry jazz with Jack in ’57, still cooking, 2022

……..And so many of the others are gone
………….living now only in books & descendants
…….…….…….but living, dammit, ‘cause living’s what they taught

And Beats gave way to hippies to the Me-80’s to today’s tech,
……..but Beat ideals remain—sex drugs jazz freedom and
………….the holy ordinary beatitudes of life

“Ti Jean—He Honored Life,” & he died young, bleeding after a bar fight,
……..but lives on still, in novels & poetry &
………….in the spirit of the American road:

…….“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.”
…….…….“Where we going, man?”
…….…….…….“I don’t know but we gotta go.”

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…………………………………….Wilmington, DE; March, 2022

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Phil Linz was born in Brooklyn, NY and has lived in several cities across the United States. He began writing poetry in 1971 and is founder and publisher of Fierce Grace Press, which specializes in chapbooks, believing in the concept of “Publishing Under the Radar.”.His new book, The Chapbooks: Collected Poems, is available on Amazon.

Mr. Linz currently lives in Wilmington, DE; he may be reached at [email protected].

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Watch a 1959 film of Jack Kerouac reading his own work  while Steve Allen accompanies him on piano

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2 comments on “Two poems by Phil Linz, on the occasion of Jack Kerouac’s 100th birthday”

  1. These are really nice poems, Phil. Thanks for remembering Jack’s birthday.
    His novels were masterpieces of jazz prose, and his poems were Zen inspired
    and illuminated. Kerouac is just as relevant today as he was in the 1950’s.
    “On The Road” is being taught in university literature classes.

    I love the lines–

    “It’s the wildness, man, the
    Wildness
    …………that greets the gray of dawn.”

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