a continuing anthology

Founded by Andrew Gettler & Linda Lerner

NO. 9 & 10         T H E  M I L L E N N I U M  I S S U E

Edited by Linda Lerner


The Night I Heard Kerouac Died
The night I heard he died
I had to get outside
even though it was a foul night
Ketchikan Alaska 48 inches of rain
that October
I walked small steps
on the smooth wooden sidewalks
like the ancient woman of ancient Cathay trucking on
to face the void in the faces
of clerks who've been brain snatched
by extra terrestrial invaders
ringing up my spuget & wine
without a word

The rain came in waves
I shouted: :"Timber!"
moonless dark never enough money dark
The alcoholic salmon wait the cry of the sea wolf
The sawdust smoke of Ketchikan Spruce stank allright
The alchuringa Jack London left here
ornery & desperate--midst

the misty medieval dungeon squeakings
of the Green Chain-working till 2 AM
Wharf rats they blame on Norway
scurry about the forklifts
and wood skids

I buy the white haired air a drink
Here's to the last turn of the century
Here's to the Thlinket people
Here's to fish skin houses
Here's to sidewalks like wet driftwood
Here's to reading On the Road again

at my 9 PM lunch
Here's to the fast colors & excitement
Here's to your adventures in a world
no longer possible
Here's to you Jack, reading London & Wolf
& a world no longer possible

Here's to a best friend I never met

a friend I touched
a friend to talk to

I like the little lights of the little street
            in the driving wetness legging it home
the jukeboxes minus Lester Young

blowing madness jubilee to
wide eyed jitterbug pilgrims
no pool hall mystics driving vehicles
of Apocalyptic Sex

ramming jamming nights ecstatic
unkept rendezvous & hookey.

The sadness is no longer beautiful on the

wino's face
It could have been your brother's father
I just have to smile and Bird plays
I just have to lid my eyes
and Desolation Angels pass thru
I just have to pull on the bottle
to receive your transmission
the Woody Woodpecker riff of Groovin High
Delivers Me
Unreproaches Me!
takes the weight off! Shouts
Timber! Jack! Jack Kerouac!

(In Alaska, "Timber!" used to mean drinks are on me--still might--of course also a tree falling)
                                    Ketchikan, Alaska, 1969

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