In the end, I think my funeral will resemble that Truffaut film
That one where the playboy dies
And all of his past loves appear to see him off
Then the film retraces his life through their stories
In the end, all the women of my life will be there
Some will be crying in misery
Others won’t be able to hold back the urge to spit on my grave
They will be unsure of exactly why they even came
But something pulled them all together in this precious ballet
My mother will be there too
And she’ll be proud of how many friends I made
While I lived
Sharing a handkerchief with the one’s who I loved the most
As far as friends, I guess she is right
We were all friends at some point before I died.
Iin the end, they will all be surprised to see me go
They will all be surprised about who else is there
Their stories will reflect upon both my positive and negative attributes
But mostly how I left them wanting
Some will have wished to marry me
While others will have wished to watch me die
A thousand times.
And in the end, I don’t think any of them will feel satisfied.
In the end, I don’t think I will have really died
Instead, I think this will have been just a new beginning
All ties freshly cut and new horizons possible
With everything I have learned up until this point
Stuffed into my pockets
I think, in the end, I will be able to finally rebuild my life
The way I should have lived it all along.
Today I am all poetry.
Some days, not so much.
But today everything I do is poetry.
Everything I feel is poetry.
Everything I write is poetry.
Today I am all poetry.
And these are the kinds of days I look forward too.
The morning starts with pleasant dreams
And a humble dance with bedside literature.
When I finally venture out, the warm sun is there to greet me.
Blue skies and playful clouds
Turning from one recognizable shape into the next
The birds chatter and without anything better to do
I hike in a park and climb a mountain
The city rolls away from me
Along with its depression
Instead there is only the earth and me
And today I am all poetry
These are the days I look forward to.
Over the last two weeks I’ve been rereading The Dharma Bums in preparation for my own western adventures. What really struck me, and I remember thinking this as a kid when I first read the book, is that Kerouac has two months of enlightenment while atop a mountain in northwestern Washington, and yet this is the shortest segment of the book (only ten pages long). The pages leading up to it actually feel like Kerouac is rushing to the end. Rushing to have his book finished and sent out to the publisher. But it’s more than that. The description of this enlightenment is mostly about the changes of weather and has a hard time making much sense to anyone because it’s written in an emotional internal non-narrative. It’s as if he has a hard time describing what he got up there, so he just starts describing everything at once: him singing to himself, the 60 sunsets he sees, the feeling of open air, storms passing by, trees shifting, the mice that live in the attic, etc.
I can relate this to my own experiences on top of mountains. After Vermont, I spent 6 months telling people about what I saw and what I felt before I finally was able to write it down. But even then I hit a very big snag. There are no words to truly describe the little death in all its glory. And even if the words can be found the memory moves further and further away from clarity as your current self rejoins society and the every day life away from your natural flow. It is like having two realities. In the one you understand anything and everything and for a moment all of it is still. In the other you are rushed around and really inconsequential things become so frustrating, the only reprieve is sometimes found in drink.
Oh Kerouac, you are my brother still. Together we are Zen Lunatics. Together we make tall tales out of the simple things other people overlook. And when we tell our stories, people look at us and tell us “Yes. Duh. Of course,” and refer us to a more “elevated”, pretentious source. But Kerouac, you and I are humble giants and we enjoy our childlike enthusiasm over dumb things others have explored.
Because this is life, isn’t it?
And life is full of joy!
portrait by M.E Franasiak
photo by Alana Franasiak
This week I drove to Boston in order to catch up with old friends, swim with Thoreau in his pond, and grab this artwork that was painted of me several years ago. The portrait attempts to capture the essence of the artist in his birth stages. Freshly returned from his first trip to Spain the muse is still fresh in his heart and the vision still pure on his mind. He sits inside the Dream Oven (only a few months old), holding a pencil to paper writing the first several chapters of erotica that will become his first novel, in front of a stack of TVs still simple in their construction as he is still practicing how to balance these boxes of electricity. The idea of dream exhibition is still something he is fleshing out, and most people he tells about it think he is out of his mind. They haven’t seen it for themselves yet. He has only just learned how to make a dream catcher and his other dream labors are still very early in their craft. His language is rough around the edges and he has only smoked mugwort seriously once.
But in this image he is on the rise as a living poet. He is about to enter one of the best years of his life full of deep friendships, travels, and even the strongest love relationship. For the first time in his life he feels that he is the creator of his own universe and the people around him truly are the great intellectuals he thought only existed in books.
This is a portrait of the dawn of dream punk. It is the beginning of a surreal life. Everything that follows is the borderline historic ride leading us up to now. And boy, has it been fun!