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It’s a Road Thing

This is really crazy
Three thirty in the morning
And not even a hard on.

I should at least
Be worrying about tomorrow’s interview
But my head is filled with mythical journeys
And memories of shared moments with giants.

Ginsberg gentle in a black trilby
The students had given him in Milan
Leaning forward in a hill country guest house
To try on Nancy’s matching scarf.
Pure wool and long it hung over his grey overcoat
All the way the floor.

The next morning Bob served him breakfast
While Allen resplendent in his underwear
Signed old L.P.s and an ancient copy of ‘Howl’.

Later we all had photos taken in the garden
On the camera Ross lost at Kereville a few weeks later.

When Ginsberg died he made the front page of ‘The Times’
And Bob took to the road writing me long letters
In Pop Hicks Route 66 Diner which he never posted.
They sit in his notebooks and he won’t let me read them.
Says they have to come by mail
But I long to glimpse into the shape of his madness
See how much I recognize
As he retraced his steps across America
In search of lost communes and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

I have been through his visions of decay
And need to know how much difference vastness makes.

Literature has this trick
Of making moments as long as legend itself
While the rest of wonder
Why our lives don’t measure up to what we have read.
We even know the lies
And how Orwell ran back to his mother between chapters
Of ‘Down and Out in London and Paris’
And how Kerouac never cut the apron strings
But documented the images he had of his angelic friends
In a series of novels
That took a whole generations across the globe
With nothing but their rucksacks
And some crazy sharing of consciousness
That I have never seen repeated.
There was a power in those dog eared paper backs
We all carried in our souls that does not diminish
And even now
With decades and families and a thousand journeys
Under my belt
They still reach out disturbing my nights
With their dreamtime cries of endless movement

And Bob and me and those cowboy poets
I have shared fires and whiskey with
Take turns at an endless vigil
With a willingness we never question.