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The Memory 

Editor’s note:

The magic of the journey transcending the arrival, the adventure of the process more than the goal, inspired Kerouac and drives such fellow travelers as Seamas Navarro, a poet who lives the Beat tradition in verse as well as transit. The freedom and uncertainty of the nomadic life, in which everywhere and nowhere is home, liberates his writing. He’s roamed the country for 37 months, giving recitals in 17 states, and will return to SLO for readings in late fall. Here, he contributes a poem in honor of Jack.

—Ed Connolly


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She stands in the morning’s golden glow,

Soft light filters through the picture window.

Polkadotting the kitchen table

piled high with mail

surrounding a house plant

in the middle.

Half awake she sips her tea and smiles.

Then tries to unravel for me

the enigma she visited

while in slumber’s restful keep.

Jumbles the train of thought

and leaves it unfinished

with a mysterious shrug—

a little smile.

Graceful even in gracelessness.

She is beautiful.

More than beautiful

with a fairytale princess 

like those make-believe books 
and post cards

you find at the hippie-dippy shops.

Long straight hair the hue

of dirty blonde silkiness.

Her features, you fill in
 the rest;

for lovely is an individual taste

and those words 
aren’t mine to 

And I love her.

Not in a sexual way

though I could 
go there maybe

but, why ruin it?

This warm and

tense feeling inside

inspires me to write.

Though I ain’t been writing 
much these days.

and draw my tribal art,

though I ain’t been doing much of 
that either.

And cook and clean

and fix her tea

(she likes it with honey)

as if I’m some

love-struck imbecile and,

I admit it, I am though,

more in a friendship way

than anything so,

I enjoy doing things for her.

This is rare for me.

To be happy in a woman’s presence

just because

she is she:

I’m from Southern California

and if you know what that implies

you know I’m saying a lot

for someone who grew up among

the physique-worshipping plastiques.

She has a two-year-old son

I’ve dubbed 
little King David.

That’s not his real name,

I just

call him that

Because he’s 
got this

wildly cool

little prince air about him.

I read them the Bible

and the Times

and say grace

to God the Almighty Father in Heaven

at dinner time

and recite poems.

Two years old

and he never interrupts—

So intent is he on my voice

when I poem

and so is she.

And I am truly,

and deeply,

and humbly,

humbly honored.

One day we all went to the beach for a picnic.

On the way I asked her “Wanna see some voodoo?”

She smiled and cocked her head the way I dig

and said “Yeah!”

I put on Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”

and then I saw in the rear view mirror

as she turned around to check periodically—

as his eyes grew wide in dreamy hynotize

and then “BONK!”

out like a light—

off to the land of innocent fantasies

and OH, we had a great day

at the beach too.

She filled one of the rare good spaces

in life I’ve had.

And hot sorrow melts cold from the back of my 

to the soul-center chest of me.

She’s not my friend any more

and it’s my fault—

a damned drugger and alcoholic

with a lot of baggage stamped, “Unworthy 
and no good.”

In the oily bushes next to the railroad tracks,

I count my change

working on the next ‘bender-run’ forgetfulness.

I write these words to commemorate

one of the rare good spaces in life I’ve had,

she deserves it.

And I?

I deserve to be exiled here:

for stealing from her to feed my addiction to


and for hurting her with undeserved, drunk, sharp words.

A gifted poet wasted to a tramp,

under the oily bushes sitting in the mud,

in a field next to the railroad tracks,

on the wrong side—of nowhere. …


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