Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jack Speaks My Mind

I have eaten beef stew with silent, shabby men in cheap eateries and fingered the last two pennies in my pocket with anger and irony … I have dined most sumptuously in a spacious Park Avenue home, duck brought forth in silver dishes by a butler … I have seen $.10 movies on Times Square, seated in the first row of the balcony in shirtsleeves, smoking and laughing … under a lashing rain and gale, I have gazed at the angry mid-Atlantic for a moment, pausing in my labours … I have stood on a Liverpool street corner in the middle of a drowsy afternoon and cursed the cobbles because the pubs had closed … I have made love to women in Canada, Washington, D.C., Nova Scotia, England, Greenland, New York City, Maryland and New England … I have lain drunk in the gutter of a street … I climbed a mountain in Greenland and gazed down on the slim ribbon of Ikatek Fjord … I have toiled in the sun on construction jobs from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Alexandria, Virginia … I have attended cocktail parties in New York City penthouses … I have worked in mills … I have worked in garages … I have sold door to door … I have worked as a reporter on a newspaper … I have starved in a cheap urine-smelling room in Hartford, CT … I have dated actresses, models and social workers … I have brawled in streets, in bar entrances and in cafeterias … I have heard great symphonies and been transported … I have walked the streets, a lonely U.S. Navy gob and sought women … I have languished in hospitals and shuffled cards in melancholy abstraction … I have written reams and reams of writings … and through it all, I have always been restless, unhappy and seeking new horizons. What shall I do?

The Romanticist Jack Kerouac, September 1943.

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