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
yellow red splash
Telephone booths like little pagodas.
Fog horn dark shroud over October’s
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