I Want to Keep you Hidden, Jack Kerouac by Jack Caseros

I want to keep you hidden, Jack Kerouac,
From all the bubblegum tween mindless twittering masses
Who will dissect your quotes and personalize them
On their Facebook pages, and make them seem easy to understand, and accessible,
Even though they’ve never bothered to get past page fifty
In On the Road and have never heard of Tristessa—

I want to keep you safe from them,
So you don’t become Che Guevara,
A t-shirt vanguard for every hormonal teenager
Upset with social conventions but unsure how to express it—

You should remain the obscure drunkard at the far end of the bar
In Lowell, quiet under your wool hat, normal in your plaid shirt,
A voice only worthy for the few who care to listen
And who gamble their sanity, and their sexuality, and certainty—

Those who find solace in nothing scripted, but in the random
Enraptured flashes of pure golden light,
The clarity of a pass-out dreamland,
Where Infinity is not an abstraction but an interactive object,
Like space & time & cats—

Those who had the sudden inexplicable urge to wander
Without knowing where they go or why they left,
But go, because Baudelaire wrote so—

Yes, we are few, but we are thick,
We know your words like you put your lips to ours—
So fuck those fakers—
They regurgitate every popular phrase,
Every movie with a bikini-clad movie star
Is worthy of their winks, and those that nostalgically whistle to past masters
Are raised to status of untouchable, unspeakable honour,
And Golden Globes, and tuxedos, and Oscars—

Because that is everything you never wanted, Jack Kerouac,
You had no desire for acknowledgement,
At least not today’s version of it—
You wanted to share the diamond vision of eternity with your brethren—
Fuck those designer suits and avant garde dresses—
You were simple in your dress and speech and lifestyle,
And this is why you are worshipped today—

Because you, Jack Kerouac, an outsider amongst clever men,
Sang songs from hallucinated angels,
And drew unity out of multiplicity, you
Climbed mountains, smoked pot, broke hearts,
Hit the road and let the road hit you—
And captured it like the bon voyageur you were,
You shared it with the world,
You held back nothing except punctuation—

That is why, Jack Kerouac, I must keep you hidden
In the folds of my soul.


Jack Caseros is a Canadian writer and ecologist. His prose has recently been featured insteelbananas, Linguistic Erosion, and Eunoia Review. His first novel, Onwards & Outwards, was released in early 2012 to zero acclaim. You can read more about Jack at www.jackcaseros.webs.com.