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San Juan de la Cruz


. . .  “who studied . . . St. John of the Cross . . . ” [i]



His aloneness in a dungeon

Imprisoned in cruel Spanish cell

Con-tem-pla-tive and silent hell

Meditative knees he fell

Light and dark thus intertwined

Lead to poetry sublime

Ecstasy and agony

Suffered his cross

In crucified reality

Found the light

In deepest darkest night

The obscure night of the soul

Forever in eternity be told

Mystic poet, mystic saint

Love never stained or taint

Patron saint of mystics

San Juan de la Cruz

Sacrifice and detachment

Sanctity and holiness

Embraced Christo Rey




who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Crosswho studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross

[i] Ginsberg, Allen. “Howl.”

Saint Francis

“I love St. Francis of Assisi as well as anybody in the world.” Desolation Angels

Once a sybarite youth and reveler
Dreams and visions and change of heart
Lepers and beggars fevered new start
Francis set to restore his Father’s house
He threw and flung church gold away
Bernardone beat and locked he stayed
Francis turned from father’s ways
And stood there humble, pure, and bare
He wed himself to poverty and fast as fare
To gain heaven nay palace but by hut everlasting
He preached and lived non-violence and reconciliation
Mysticism, holy vows, chasten, tonsured, unshaven
A poor and meek monk and brother
Lover of creatures, creation, and creator
Sought spiritual experiences and lofty visions
Contemplation and stigmata and the Christ in crucifixion
Compassion and forgiveness
Francis was a man of action
And taught by his deeds and sanctification


“ . . . companionship . . . definition of literature . . .” i
Jack Kerouac

In memory of Patrick and Paul
Let me reach for another book
And another and another
Let me climb that ladder
That soars up high
As I reach for another and another book
Not any old book
But books that speak to my soul
And tell me
I have traveled this road before you
And as Thoreau said
“If it is not a tragical life we live,
then I know not what to call it”
And let us pore over the words of the immortal bard
Who wrote all those great big horrible tragedies
The great tragedian
As we become our suffering
And turn to our faithful companion,
And the books are old
And they crumble and fade
And turn to ashes
And dust
And we too return from whence we came
And finally find peace in the glory of the beatific vision

i McNally, Dennis. Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America. (New York: Random House.
1979), p. 319.


Black tresses
Dirty dresses
You mess-a
Mucha lucha,
Muchacha, señorita
Junk is a drag
“It is a way of life.” i
Just ask BOOL
No gains, all loss
(Not everyone as smart as old Harvard Lee, anthropologist)
Junk is called junk because it is junk
“They all looked like junk.” ii
Hope is gone, Esperanza
Replaced with junk
Junk is a drag
Junkies are a drag
Goodbye peachy coffee complexion
Black satin hair
Madonna ways
Adios, Tristessa
“ . . . I don’t like what it does to people.” iii

i Burroughs, William S. Junky: The definitive text of “Junk.” (New York: Penguin Books. 2003), p. xxxix.
ii Burroughs, William S. Junky: The definitive text of “Junk.” (New York: Penguin Books. 2003), p. 25.
iii Burroughs, William S. Junky: The definitive text of “Junk.” (New York: Penguin Books. 2003), p. 59.

Of the Beautiful Alene Lee

It was Paradise Alley so long ago
In the alphabet downtown east
Lived a subterranean in clouds of strong dark tea
By the name of Alene Lee
San Fran or New York City
Names, places changed but ‘tis the same
Heavenly Lane and hipster games
Pillow talk and pushcart walks
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
He was young and drunk and jazzed
She younger and cool and sweet
High cheekbones and velvet slacks
She was brown and blue and black
Nineteen fifties USA
What would mother, sister say?
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
He was sad
She was sad
Angels, seraphs, poets mad
Poor back courts and gray sheet pads
Love was doomed
In urban gloom
Modern, new, small, and thin
A writer writes of soft rose light
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
Of the beautiful Alene Lee

Fracas is a Bar

Fracas is a bar
I live not far
Oh, the place is full of history
Involving many a cop and car
A big melee comes to memory
About the night
Of the smashing fist fight
In the parking lot
And not a little but a lot
From near and yon two hundred folks
Online zine screamed and spoke
The place shut down
With nary a frown
But soon reopened
Sharply spoken
About hush-hush dollars
And boy, folks hollered
Things calmed down
In the town
But now new plans sprouted and touted
About kicking things up
While I in my cups
On sleepless nights
Rudely waken
To shaking rafters
On tired morning afters
Weakened and ashen
Flying open the shutters
Bad words in my mutters
Till one summer eve neon light bulb appears
If you can’t BEAT’em, join ‘em, my sodden young dears
Be there on ladies night or open mic
Sign the petition to reeve up the bikes
Next year when lease is expired and died
To quieter shores will I swim on the tide
Safe behind rich landscaped lawns
Leave downtown and its cool little town thorns
To hell raisin’ Hanks and wild young pranks
Call on Bruce, baby, for two river rent
Maybe, baby, mine is all spent

Big Bill Bio

My brow furrows
As I check out big, big book on Burroughs
This bio is certainly thorough
Old wild American Bill Lee Burroughs

Miles and miles
Pages and pages
It will take ages and ages

Bill a mad gray hombre of interest
Put life to the testiest test
An individual
Who jumped through no hoops
But walked a strange path of his own

In an age of political tyranny
Enslavement to government
Regulations, restrictions, interference, taxes, and axes
Admiration for a man
Who sought personal freedom

The hour is late
The night is stark
Won’t be long
Before your freedom is farked

Pay back expensive student loans
(without jobs)
And note the tax on your lattes
Coffee Party members of the world
It’s time to brew

Big Brother and Big Sister
Are linkedin to you
And expect you to play as the team players do

Gangsters in the Cadillac

Big beautiful black
47 Cadillac limo to Chicago i
Dreamboat in the fast American night
Ball the jack all the whitewall way
Zooming steady 110
Car thief 500
Speedometer breaks
Coyote Nowhere
Angel of Terror
Fender cracked . . . bender
Rods gone
“I can’t stand it any more, I can’t look.”
Down on the floor of racing horrors
Fears of crash
Hid in backseat
Muddy heap
Broken boat
Time to get out — fast

i Kerouac, Jack. On the Road: The Original Scroll. (New York: Viking 2007),. p. 322-340.

Shack on the Beach

Sold the house
To escape isolated hell of suburbs i
Old sour Manhattan ii
Beckons no more
Cupcake Manhattan
No soul
Now what?
Interior decorated retirement Florida? iii
All I want is a shack on the beach
And a sweet juicy peach
To be a sort of sea beatnik iv
Nay, “I am not a beatnik. I am a Catholic.” v

i Johnson, Joyce. The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac. (New York: Penguin Books, 2012).
ii Kerouac, Jack. Desolation Angels. (New York: Riverhead Books, 1995). p. 293.
iii Ibid., p. 341.
iv Kerouac, Jack. Big Sur. (New York: Penguin Books, 2011). p. 31.

Anita Sings in Black Hat and White Feathers

“They went into Anita O’Day’s club and there unpacked and played till nine o’clock in the morning.” i

Singer’s singer nightingale
Belle’s voice clearly sailed
Scat scatting dress flounces
Jazzy gal bouncy bounces
Uptown rhythm Off the Beat
Ahead of the beat
Behind the beat
Tapping feet
Hip club cool heat
Down Beat noted
Belle totted
Gene drummed
Roy thumbed
Horn taboo
Improv cool
Newport Jazz breezy money
July day sweet as honey, honey, honey (suckle rose)
Anita O’Day’s summer sizzle
Soft rain could not fizzle
Sweeeeeeeeeeeet Georg-ia Brown (I don’t lie . . . much)
Let me off uptown
White feathers hat black
Easy chic just like that
Glass slippers wrist gloves
Skylark blues lotsa love
High times fly moon
Hard times sad spoon
Tea-e-e-e . . . e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e . . . e-e-e-e . . . e-e-e . . . e

i Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. (New York: Viking Press, 1957).
Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer. A film by Robbie Cavolina & Ian McCrudden. 2008.’day_a.html Jazz Profiles from NPR Anita O’Day.