blue like a sorrow

blue like a sorrow
 to J. ‘Beat’ Kerouac
february 2013

JK2

this time
come again
the starlings
sparrows even
snatching up the
cicadas cicadas
easily now
banging them
to death on the
warm court
cicadas sputtering
out in final summer
exhausted on walls
on trees resting
into the shadows
on bark
the greens are
turning from their
deepest shine to
paleness of
yellow, of
weak tea there
along the edge
the sun hitting
an iron note in
the fierce stamp
of its light on
all things below
it an iron note
dark as the
underside
of tidal rocks
never turned
over
the sky a
blue a ‘sorrowing
blue’* a pilgrim
with boots and
railroad red
earth’n‘grease
bandana said of
it in a lonely dive
with cute hot
plate and wire
grill** wrote of
it, who woke one
drunken evening and
found his own
sorrowing out of
television fashion,
a blue
like a sorrow
our heart could
not even hold
nor speak of
though we be
ancient
ruined
cities of it
bloods dried
to clay
of it
bones left
to the winds
of it crawling
things ripe with
the flesh of it
such a clear
far sorrow

this time
come again
may it
near over
and over
over all
rivers of
distance
the delta
heavy spread
out on the
heart
with time

*I believed this description, which I’ve carried for many years came from a one of the travel, sea and railroad sketches by Jack Kerouac published under the title Lonesome Traveller’, the ‘pilgrim’ here being Jack himself. On rereading the two sketches I thought most likely to be the source of these words I found the closest I came was the sketch ‘The Railroad Earth’ which has the following passages:
‘I swim out of it in afternoons of sun hot meditation in my jeans with head on handkerchief on brakeman’s lantern or (if not working) on book, I look up at blue sky of perfect lostpurity and feel the warp of wood of old America beneath me’……
‘BUT IT WAS THAT BEAUTIFUL CUT OF CLOUDS I could always see above the little S.P. alley, puffs floating by from Oakland or the Gate of Marin to the north or San Jose south, the clarity of Cal to break your heart’
**In the same essay Jack writes lovingly of making breakfast in his room and using a wire grill of his own making:
‘…ah me how but it was a hell and now I had the whole thing to myself, and make my raisin toast by sitting it on a little wire I’d especially bent to place over the hotplate, the toast crackled up, there’

Copyright © 2013 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved

The music is from track 3, ‘Ruby, My Dear’, from the 1957 compilation album ‘Monk’s Music’ by Thelonius Monk with the Thelonius Monk Septet.

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