San Francisco1964

North Beach Hotel across from Jazz Workshop.

Nights spent outside its red doors.

 impoverished jazz lovers grooving

on Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.

Stroll up Broadway on Saturday night

sucking on tall Bud   past Finnochio’s

past topless Carol Doda shimmy

shaking at the Condor, past

Mike’s Pool Hall full of people

Planning the coming Revolution.

On to Columbia Avenue to hang out

at Ferlinghetti’s City Lights,

America’s first paperback bookstore.

Large bulletin board is command center

for North Beach bohemians.

Shigeyoshi Murao, known as Shig,

looming like an ancient Zen master

behind cash register where he rings up purchases

and dispenses information in tea cups of wisdom.

Vision of Jack Kerouac at 29 Russell Street

typing Benzedrine-driven On The Road 

that will send a generation of kids

across the country looking for

 the lost soul of America.

Kerouac driven to know what is at the

end of the road outside the comfort zone

of striving for identity in crazy world of illusion.

Jack on the road to final rest stop

in St. Pete Florida bleeding out

in stuffed chair in front of TV tube

dead at 47,

             $91 in bank account.

Chinatown Grant Avenue pushcart vendors

banks restaurants souvenir shops

clanking

clashing

yellow red splash

of color

Telephone booths like little pagodas.

Fog horn dark shroud over October’s

empty streets

spirit drenched in endless mist

laughter found in weight of absurdity:

Rimbaud  Spengler  Nietzche Dostoevski

companions in lonely room

shared with St. Teresa of Avila

  —February, 2007

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