Jack Kerouac died on this day. 11 a.m. October 21 1969 – Allen received a phone-call from journalist Al Aronowitz that evening. Noting next day in his journal: “..All last nite (as talking on farm w/ (Robert) Creeley day before) in bed brooding re Kerouac’s “After Me, the Deluge” at middle of morning watch I woke realizing he was right, that the meat suffering in the middle of existence was a sensitive pain greater than any political anger or hope, as I also lay in bed dying.
Walking with Gregory (Corso) in bare treed October ash woods—winds blowing brown sere leafs at feet—talking of dead Jack—the sky an old familiar place with fragrant eyebrow clouds passing overhead in Fall Current –
He saw them stand on the moon too.
At dusk I went out to the pasture & saw thru Kerouac’s eyes the sun set on the first dusk after his death..”
See also our post on Kerouac’s funeral in Lowell, Massachusetts – here
“The Poetic Hoo Hah” – Zane Kesey, Ken Kesey’s son, has just put up a three-part piece on You Tube featuring highlights from a wild festival that took place on the campus of the University of Oregon, springtime, in the mid ’70’s – “Mid-day to mid-nite, bring a blanket, a buddy, and a bongo” was the injunction. Featured in this eclectic and wide-ranging jamboree, alongside Kesey himself, and a floating group of pranksters and performers – Allen and Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, and, in addition, Anne Waldman, Bob Kaufman, Jack Micheline, Paul Krassner, Wavy Gravy… The list goes on.
Wiliam Burroughs’ appears at approximately twenty-and-a-half minutes in (first interviewed and instructed in holding a camera, then reading from his contribution to the 1975 Harpers Forum “When Did You Stop Wanting To Be President?”), This continues for another three-and-three-quarter minutes into the second tape (which is also the one that features Allen – Allen & Peter eight-and-a-half minutes in, Peter on banjo “Feeding Them Raspberries To Grow”, thirteen-and-a-half minutes in, Allen on accordion – the mantra AH! (including a moving mantra!))
Gregory Corso is glimpsed reading a brief excerpt from his unpublished poem ” The Day After Humankind” ( “The nagging god that we can never really deny is both a universal desire and a big drag..”) and the sweet and succinct “For Lisa 2” (“I saw an angel today/ without wings/ with a human smile/ and nothing to say”)
The end of the second and the beginning of the third and final tape features the great jazz master and multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935-1977)
For more Kesey on Zane’s You Tube channel (more rare and extraordinary footage)- see here
The Philosophy of Modern Song, Bob Dylan‘s new book is coming out (set for publication November 1st). We’re looking forward to his observations on the Fugs (Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupfberg)’s “CIA Man” – (we’re looking forward to all of them!). The New York Times last Sunday featured a couple of sneak previews – Dylan on “Strangers in the Night” and on Pete Townsend (The Who)‘s classic “My Generation”. More anon.