Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jack Kerouac's Golden Eternity Realized

Well, I had a W. S. Merwin poem all ready to go this morning, but there is a typo and I don't have the book at hand, so I'll have to check it out when the book is in hand.

So, it's time to punt.

Ed Baker commented on a recent post when I talked a bit about Jack Kerouac's Tristessa, urging folks on to his The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (You know that I'm listening, eh, Ed?). I've been wending my way headily through: here is section 29 of a book made up of tiny meditations, koans and prose poems (as the back cover touts, rightly):

Are you tightwad and are you mean, those are
the true sins, and sin is only a conception of ours,
due to long habit. Are you generous and are
you kind, those are the true virtues, and they're
only conceptions. The golden eternity rests beyond
sin and virtue, is attached to neither, is attached
to nothing, is unattached, because the golden
eternity is Alone. The mold has rills but it is one
mold. The field has curves but it is one field.
All things are different forms of the same thing.
I call it the golden eternity — what do you
call it, brother? For the blessing and merit
of virtue, and the punishment and bad fate
of sin, are alike just so many words.
Jack Kerouac

For those who feel that this is a little too much philosophy and not enough poetry (you are out there, you know), the good news is I found my copy of the Book of Haikus I was searching for (see Tristessa link, above) on the recent anniversary of Jack's birthday. So there — or, rather, here:

Ah the birds
-at dawn,
my mother and father

You paid yr homage
-to the moon,
And she sank

Bach through an open
-dawn window—
the birds are silent

All three poems on two facing pages of the book opened at random: that's poetry, friends. Perhaps I should misplace Merwin (and Jack, come to think of it) a little more often.


I had the calendar marked for the 19th as the birthday of jazz master Ornette Coleman. In double checking before posting, I see his birthday was actually March 9th, not the 19th, so it seems the serendipitous mistake is the theme of the day. As a college professor of mine used to say (I believe he said it at least three times): once for the intelligent and aware, twice for the intelligent and unaware, and three times for the unintelligent and unaware. Well, I don't have to be hit over the head more than three times to go with the flow - today the mistake is the truth, so let's celebrate Coleman's birthday today. Enjoy.


PS Ruminated and typed to the delicate, forthright word-picking of Jolie Holland. Ain't it all beautiful, eh, Ed?


Ed Baker said...


Beauty IZ merely
skin deep
as Ornate Coal-man onct said:

"give me some skin."


after my wall-to-wall
book shelves w 10,000 "priceless" books there
for more than 30 years

have them piled on the floror ready to re{shelve them on relocated shelving in a seperate room


on the what was the top edge
there is 30 years worth of dust AND 15 generations of dust-mites..


what is best way to de-dust those edges? an
hepa vac? a damp rag?


what color should I paint the primed shelves?

you know....

all we can now do is visit his books or visit his

SOME TRIP, huh? ....
This: Age of HUH?

oh, one other "pointless point" (I think Charles Olson said it to Ed Sanders (Saunders):

"the private is public
the public is where we


Charles Gramlich said...

I have to agree completely with the words on Kindness. It's so important in a world where suffering common.

Brian said...

Those three haikus are wonderful together.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Jayney Mac! This blog is as prolific as it is brilliant.Turn my back for five minutes and I'm left behind.Still not diggin those Haiku, I jus don't get them,any of them in the whole world.A personal blip no doubt on the poetry radar.Anyways might forget Tristessa , but must get The Scripture-another one I've never come across before.Mucho gracias Amigo.

Greg Schwartz said...

Kerouac's haiku, even when they don't make sense, just "feel" right.