Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Off The Road With On The Road


From The Pen Of Frank Jackman



We will always have fugitive memories (second-hand fugitive memories having been just a little too young to have been word-blasted at the time) emerging out the fog-horn Frisco town night in the late 1940s ready to take refugees, car-borne refugees out of Route One, Route 66, Route 20, hell, even up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, hell, maybe especially up and down that highway, coming in from the cold war red scare Denver/Chi Town/Jersey Shore/Village/Lowell/Hullsville American dreaded night. Later once the horde gathered in North Beach sweeps listening to some homoerotic scatological son of Abraham howling forth the new dispensation, the new beat, the new blessed, we would add that factor as well. And of course we unto the umpteenth generation of those who seek their own open roads will always have Jack Kerouac’s novel, On The Road. The Sal-Dean stream dream out in some desperate smoke-hazed night novel that sent one, maybe the next two generations, on the road, on the road to some mystical discovery thing, some search for language to explain our short existence, to make sense of things in the modern world that has no time for reflection on the big cosmic questions.

We will always have Kerouac’s finely wrought be-bop word plays jumping off the page out in the desolate 1950s a-chicken-in-every- pot-and-two-cars-if-not-three-cars-in-every-garage, in every suburban ranch house sub-division garage. Speaking out in the fellaheen world about lost adventures, about lost time, about lost remembrances but mostly about the desolate life for the dusty bedraggled fellahin without words. Cool be-bop words reflecting the total mass anxieties of a long-gone daddy world.


We too will always have Sal (a.k.a Jeanbon Kerouac) and Dean, Dean Moriarty (a.k.a. Neal Cassady), the father we did not know, could not know, while we were vicariously sitting on those Jersey shores, sweating out in those Ames cornfields, hell, even sitting on the seawall down in those old Hullsville beach fronts looking for the great blue-pink great American West night.

We will always have Charlie, Sonny, Slim, Big Red, the Duke, blowing out, trying to reach and sometimes making it, that high white note, after hours, after the paying customers, the carriage trade, went home to bed and they blew to heaven, or tried to, with the boys, with the guys who knew when that note floated out of some funky cellar bar door winding its way down to the harbor, down to the turgid bay seeking passage to the Japan seas. With more blows at that dark hour before the dawn to get the hemp squared, to be right with that tangled mass of brethren who constituted the beat-down, beat around world.

We will always have Sal, Carlos, Bull, Dean and an ever changing assortment of , well, women, women, mainly, at their beck and call, riding, car-riding, riding hard over the hill and dale of this continent searching, well, just searching okay. We will always have the lost father and son (odd since they could have been brothers), Sal and Dean, playing off of each other’s strengths (and weaknesses) as they try to make sense of their world, or if not sense then to keep high, keep moving, and keep listening. And we will always have a great American novel to pass on to the next wanderlust generation, if there is another wanderlust generation.           

We will always have that novel, praise be.              





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