January 22, 2019

Jack Kerouac's House

This happened quite a few years ago...I just sat in my car in front of an old house once lived in by Jack Kerouac and thought…

how stupid is this?...here I was, I had run out of money and out of ideas as well...there just wasn’t any more water in the well and the water I had conjured up previously wasn’t selling...so when my writing energy is on E, I go to the library to read—I know my stuff is better than most of what I read...at least that’s what I tell myself and probably most other struggling writers tell themselves too...I always felt I had a lot of potential as a writer, but potential is just a word that means you haven’t done anything yet...I couldn’t find anything good or that I hadn’t read before or was interested in reading again...I searched the shelves and found a biography on Jack Kerouac...I had read some of his work and found some of it interesting and some critics kept telling me I should like it, but I didn’t know much about the man himself...where had I been—he was only thee most famous beat writer of all time duh...I started reading about him and damn if he didn’t live that far away from me during one part of his life and mine...it was in a subdivision that I had passed numerous times on my way to my latest unrewarding and underpaying job; some anonymous old subdivision that had seen better days...now if you grew up or live in New York City, or San Francisco, or some other place like that, it probably isn’t a big deal to find out someone famous lived near you...but when you grew up in Obscuretown and are living now in St. Obscuretown, it is...then I got this crazy idea and thought it might be interesting to drive by his old house...so one day on my way to work, I took a side trip over to check it out, not really knowing what I would find—this was as close as I was ever going to get to one of the beat writers; passing by a place where he lived some fifty years ago or so...I drove into the subdivision and I felt like a deranged stalker pursuing some ancient ghost, but later on I learned I wasn’t the first cat who had the same curiosity...it took me a couple of minutes but I found the street and began driving down it...I kept wondering why a guy like that would ever buy a house in a bland subdivision like that one, but then I remembered what I read in his biography and maybe it did make sense after all...ah, there it was!—I slowed down and eventually stopped and all I saw was a typical old Florida concrete block house not unlike the thousands that I had seen before...I took a good look at it...no bells went off, no sudden rush of inspiration...just an old non-descript gray house...there certainly wasn’t anything special about it—so I sat in my car in front of an old house once lived in by Jack Kerouac and thought…a million jigsaw piece thoughts and I imagined him in the living room or one of the bedrooms working on a manuscript while the pine trees in the yard swayed and swished...I drove away...after I left the subdivision and started on my way to work, I began wondering if the people who lived in that house even knew that the most famous beat writer had ever lived there...I would guess someone along the way must have told them...later on, I read where a guy who lived there did and appreciated the fact, so that’s cool...personally speaking, I think it would be a trip to live in a house where a famous person once lived in...I don’t know why...Kerouac himself probably would have mocked my idea and the whole idiotic notion of driving by somebody’s house in an attempt to channel anything that someone else would want to see in print, or just to look at a house like one would look at an artifact in some museum...yet, it was fun to imagine Kerouac stomping around there...coming up with ideas for a book or just watching television and getting wasted in the living room...I almost half expected him to come out of the house wearing his blue plaid shirt and invite me in for some whiskey.

January 20, 2019

100,000 Teardrops

Go out for a walk under the pointy stars which aren’t pointy at all probably and they might not even be there anymore cause it takes so long for the light from them to get to earth...I think...I’m trying to remember my science class lessons...but there are all these stars who are spying on me, watching every move I make and and every moment I fake something or other to get by--sometimes it’s an attitude, sometimes an accent--British, German, Russian...just for the hell of it...I gave up caring about trying to please people or act ‘normal’ for them...and sometimes it’s pretending to care or paying attention when I don’t give a damn and I just wanna go to sleep and get away from wherever I am... and maybe they are resting up there in the vastness of the universe and trying to tell me something but I don’t know what...the night is dark and I look at it up close and see a thousand eyes staring back at me--the Earth spinning and the universe keeping everything in balance juggling the planets and the moons and the comets and the asteroids--I lose my balance and my legs are weak with awe and beauty and they give way and I fall into the grass wet with the dew of a hundred thousand teardrops cried by the clouds an hour ago...my shirt soaking through but I don’t care as I lay and look at the heavens or some such thing...the trees wave to me in the soft breeze that breathes on me and whispers in my ear...I lay prone on the grass--prone to being a romantic, prone to being a mystic, prone to be prone--prone to caring too much and caring too little and wanting all good to come to the world...and prone and alone to moan about getting all pessimistic and cold and indifferent to all--a globe full of meanness by mean people...a snowglobe from the dollar store or from the expensive shop at the airport where it’s duty-free and a snowglobe where everything shakes up and is out of control and you just never know where those snowflakes are gonna fall...but for now I’m just laying and praying and staying here the rest of the night...a soft drizzle begins to fall as the rainclouds return but they don’t spoil my evening none---I just lay here, I’m wet already----the rain is cool and the wet cools me off from whatever heated up condition I was in and the drops are like a sauve that makes everything all right...I hear dogs barking a long way off in the magical world of the night, I hear owls hooting in some big tree with big branches and big leaves and I envy all of them for theirs is a world of simplicity///no complications, just do what nature intended them to do and no made up bullshit that humans invented for what they call life...I can hear the melodic jazz from the clubs downtown///the notes just flying into the air and resting on my ears even though I can’t really hear them except in my open mind because I’m a long long way from downtown...a car with little white and red lights passes by the road near me and I wonder if they’ve seen me and might think I’m some drunk passed out, or some victim of some crime--but they keep going and I’m so thankful that they didn’t see me or didn’t care...before I fall asleep in this splendor, I decide I better get up and try to make my way home so I struggle to my feet and stagger to a pine tree that I give a big hug to and I’ve been meaning to do that for a while...I tell it goodnight and my evening revelation concludes.

January 18, 2019

Body Snatchers

Body snatching...that is stealing a body from a grave...such things have not been limited to old horror movies born in the imagination of a writer, or an occasional shocking case or two like Burke and Hare many years ago...and I’m not talking about any form of zombie apocalypse...no, the real thing—indeed, it has taken place many times all over the world...unsavory people who would go into graveyards armed with shovels and did such a thing were often called ‘resurrection men’...because they brought the dead back...not to life, but to something...like dissection...so it was kind of like a resurrection, a correction, a connection...between the dead and the living...sometimes they would use various accessories like tarps and such to help avoid their dirty deeds from being discovered...wooden shovels were sometimes used to make less noise, and there were a variety of methods to get to the corpse...one was to tear the top of the coffin off...wrap a rope around the body, and then drag it up out of the grave...pleasant work...others were more brazen and didn’t care if there ‘work’ was obvious or not...most of the time, these ‘body snatchers’ would then sell the bodies they dug up to doctors and medical schools that were in need of cadavers for study purposes...for some, it turned out to be a lucrative profession...if somewhat distasteful to some...the doctors who bought the bodies certainly weren’t going to say anything...back in the day, the law stated that bodies could be used for dissection if they were of criminals who had committed ‘harsh’ crimes...however, this law did not make enough bodies available for those who wished to study...therefore, a nice little trade started where some people would dig up freshly buried bodies and then sell them to those who wanted them...and had the money to pay...it became such a problem in England and Scotland that people would place stone with iron bars over the graves to keep the snatchers out, called mortsafes...or they would pay someone to guard a freshly used grave...at least until the ground settled and made the task more difficult...snatchers were always on the prowl for newly dug graves that would make their work easier...resurrection men weren’t above hiring people to go to a funeral to scout out if there might be any future problems in retrieving a body...sometimes, weights were substituted for an actual body by enterprising individuals who then sold the body to interested parties...body snatching has also been done to try and cover up crimes or to try to fool police or insurance investigators...in one example, a man wanted by the police dug up a body in a remote cemetery in Mexico and placed it in his car in an attempt to fake his own death...he made sure the car was incinerated by the staged ‘accident’...yet, there was still enough evidence that tipped investigators off that the body was not his...eventually, he was captured by authorities...body snatching is different from grave robbery in the fact that the body is not usually stolen when robbing a grave...only any valuables that might have been buried with it...such as looters plundering the tombs of the Pharaohs in Egypt...interestingly, body snatching was only considered a misdemeanor...some body snatchers were careful not to take any rings or jewelry as that would have made the crime a felony...in more recent times, sometimes when rural cemeteries were ‘moved’ to make way for ‘progress’, it was shocking to some that many coffins were very light to lift...a.k.a. empty.