display | more...

An epic poem by Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues consists of 242 choruses of spontaneous poetry. Kerouac's own explanation:

I want to be considered a jazz poet
blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam
session on Sunday. I take 242 choruses;
my ideas vary and sometimes roll from
chorus to chorus or from halfway through
a chorus to halfway into the next.

Kerouac's poetry covers many of the Beat themes that can be found in his prose: Buddhism, Zen, Karma, existence, nothingness, drugs, memory, travel, nature, life, and death. I reccomend that you read these poems out loud- sometimes the sound of the words adds so much to the meaning. I usually whisper or mouth the words under my breath while tapping my foot at a machine-gun pace.


Just a little sample:

59th Chorus

Then I always manage to get
	my weekly check on Monday,
Pay my rent, get my laundry
	out, always have enough
Junk to last a coupla days

Have to buy a couple needles
	tomorrow, feels like
Shovin a nail in me

	Just like shovin a nail in me
Goddamn - (Cough) -

For the first time in my life
I pinched the skin
And pushed the needle in
And the skin pinched together
And the needle stuck right out
And I shot in and out,
Goofed half my whole shot
On the floor -
	Took another one -
	Nothin a junkey likes better
	Than sittin quietly with a new shot
	And knows tomorrow's plenty more


132nd Chorus

Innumeral infinite songs.
Great suffering of the atomic
	in verse
Which may or may not be
	controlled
   By a consciousness
   Of which you & the
ripples of the waves
   are a part.
	That's Buddhism.
	That's Universal Mind

	Pan Cosmodicy

	Einstein believed
	In the God of Spinoza

(- Two Jews
 - Two Frenchmen)


133rd Chorus

"Einstein probably put a lot
of people in the bughouse by
saying that

All those pseudo intellectuals
went home & read Spinoza
then they dig in
to the subtleties
of Pantheism -
   After 10 years of research
   they wrap it up
   & sit down on a bench
   & decide to forget
   all about it

Because Pantheism's
Too Much for Em.

   They wind up trying to
find out Plato, Aristotle,
   they end up in a
   vicious Morphine circle"

Jan 23 2003 — The above two choruses (132 and 133) have been on my homenode for about a year, they will now reside here. I was compelled to transcribe them because I wondered if the "pseudo intellectuals" comment had anything to do with our own P_I's distinctive moniker—I had noticed that he is fan of Ginsberg, which means that he has most certainly read some Kerouac.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.