“They are hip without being slick, they are intelligent without being corny, they are intellectual as hell and know all about Pound without being pretentious or talking too much about it, they are very quiet, they are very Christlike.” The Subterraneans

The great Basie band. . .
one, two, and you know what to do
Thank Chu Berry much
Sassy classy Vaughn
Gerry Mulligan hobo stew
Stan Kenton rues the roux
This jazz is for you, Mardou
red toenails peek from Cleopatra sandals
other gals pale by this woeful tale
Heavenly Lane fast pushcart Trane
Charlie Parker
Bird as word
. . . it IS the nightingale
and not the lark . . .
measure for measure
Paradise Alley gray sheet feathers
like the lost alleys of Russian sorrow . . . i
Are the stars out tonight or morrow?
Allen Eager Po’ boy blues
Art Blakey’s
cracked weeping shoes
Thelonious the monk and saint of bop ii
Spin the records and the top
“You go out in joy and in sadness you return,” says Thomas à Kempis. iii

i Kerouac, Jack, Big Sur, 1962.
ii Kerouac, Jack, The Subterraneans, 1958.
iii Kerouac, Jack, Big Sur, 1962.

GK Stritch

GK Stritch is a contributor to Beatdom and the author of CBGB Was My High School. The book is available at the St. Mark's Bookshop, New York City, and amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

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