Monday, March 12, 2012

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

 — Mark Butkus

(Meeting of the Dharma Bums at Piper's Bar by Mark Butkus first appeared in Bar None: An Anthology of English Writing from the Costalegre. Happy Birthday Jack Kerouac!)