Meeting of the Dharma Bums at Piper’s Bar

Jack came back at Piper’s Bar

He was doing snuff with Chuck

And laughing at me

“I’m always here, man.

I’m the other half of your heartbeat.

I need you to keep me alive.”

I cursed and I swore

That I thought that I didn’t need Jack no more

But he came down from Oregon

To put me back upon my rails

“You know how old I was when I died?” He asked

Placing a hand upon my shoulder

I nodded, “Two years older than I am now.”

 

Jack smiled that beatific smile and told me

That I was the Golden Eternity

I reminded him that he was only pulling Snyder’s leg

And that the Scripture was a conceit

Jack looked at Chuck and asked him if HE was the Golden Eternity

Chuck smiled through a ‘stache that is whiter

Than the winter snow in Lowell

Knowing that he was the Golden Eternity

I didn’t know then what I knew now

And that WE are all the Golden Eternity

Existing in nothing

Because we are beyond it all

 

Jack straddles two worlds

It would be unfair to say that he walks among

The living and the dead

Because they are just precepts

That the weak and infirm cling to

Like marigolds and candied skulls on the Dia de los Muertos

 

No matter how often I remind Jack

That he isn’t here

He dismisses me

And points vaguely

At something out there

What was out there in the Mexican night

Was of no worry to me

I pointed to my chest

And told Jack, “It’s in here.”

Chuck looked at us both and pointed to his head

Before downing a teqtonic

 

I snapped off 47 pics of Jack and his aura

His voice too fragile to be read

“Yeah, okay.” I conceded

As I put his words down on paper for him

He grinned that Kerouac grin

And slapped me on the back

 

Jack came back at Piper’s Bar

He was doing snuff with Chuck

And laughing at me

“I’m always here, man.

I’m the other half of your heartbeat.

I need you to keep me alive.”

I cursed and I swore

That I thought that I didn’t need Jack no more

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Author: Mark Butkus

Mark Butkus wrote about the environment for more than 20 years. In Mexico, he exercises the left side of his brain. As one of the founders of the Bar None Group he has edited two anthologies of English writing from the Costalegre region of Mexico. Caught between two worlds he now calls Chicago home. "Meeting of the Dharma Bums at Piper's Bar" first appeared in Bar None: An Anthology of English Writing from the Costalegre.

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