October’s Bones

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s “death-day” departure for roads unknown.
When I was a young man,
a budding scribe
eager to blossom white fire,
and scabbed lotuses,
you meant the world to me.
You exposed me to velocity bop
and piggyback rhythms,
to applepie windowsill jazz
and summerlight porchswings,
to mesmeric wreaths of pipesmoke
and the windswept skulls
of railroad Octobers
in brown, turning earth.
You souleased
in such a relatable way,
the freight of boyhood
infused your eyes
with saloony verve,
your fingers jitterbugged
across enormous swaths of whiteness
and void,
you bootlegged
just to keep yourself
in the running with
Hemingway’s bulls
and Joyce’s Dublin,
whitewhale hunting
came second nature to you,
some people do impossible
like half-made angels
leveled by mortal booms.
Their very gimpness
the purest translation
of Heaven’s perishable blooms.
was the religion
of sweet, sad farewells,
the capered goofs
of littleboys spitballing
I love yous
to girls in pinafore dresses
at Sunday movie matinees,
or profane leerstruckness
at the silver crucifixes
between ripening mounds
of sweatbeaded cleavage,
was the racket of vaudeville,
commingled with a fanatic’s
fairground zeal,
the Zen weatherman
who once proclaimed:
The taste
of rain—
why kneel?
it wasn’t long
that highly-sought-after
in a mink stole
and whitehot spray
of jewels
came along
and cornered you good,
and the Shakespeare of Lowell
quickly became
Little Boy Blue,
nowhere to turn,
as the flesheaters
closed in,
and all you could do
was blow wild, careening
solos through your trusty horn,
and pour
rivers of whiskey
over your soul’s
Recognition didn’t kill you,
alcoholism did,
but let’s just say
mixed with booze
in the redlight district
and pinkened sensitivity
of wounded souls
and humors itself
through the gallows.
When names
balloon too big,
when the print is lettered
through the Hypemachine,
it is easy
to lose sight
of what it is we’re reading,
Fame’s overlay
the distorting veneer
so you are no longer reading
what you see or feel
but rather what you’ve heard
from a hivemind,
secondhand rumors dispel
direct engagement with mystery,
what others know
and say
becomes the order of the day,
and that long day’s journey
into night
is, by definition
and default, history
(its winners wearing blinders
while leading the blind)
but before the siege,
and after the deluge,
Jack Kerouac, Ti Jean, Sal Paradise, John Duluouz,
and all the other names that became you,
there were the words, the holy writ,
the godblasted scrolls of one man’s
selfspeak upon the earth,
that rabid seeking
as gilded sibling
to Dylan Thomas’s hilltop cloudcry—
Oh, as I was young once,
and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying,
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Mr. Kerouac,
were one of the wind-twisting
frothing fringed baubles of sea
at the mouth,
as if to prove
you were nature herself
(this the way of angels, the way of children)
and when I look back,
I am immensely grateful
that you took the time
to give the spirit of boyhood,
its vim and keyturned sorcery,
as well as music’s
plasmic alchemy,
its reverential due
in a society
where doped dreams
way too much sleep
to ever claim their meek
as soundly vital
and golden.


jack kerouac II


About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s