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Al Hinkle Hero of The Humble

January 31st, 2019 · 9 Comments · Kerouac and The Beats, Poetry, Weird Things About Me

Al Hinkle — Hero of The Humble


Gracious Giant,

Gentle Giant.

A Literary Giant’s

Character for Eternity —

Still alive in every copy of On The Road in every country In The World,

The lovable affable portable — Big Ed Dunkel,

The Everyman in the car, man.

Not a Cassady — Not a Kerouac,

But a YOU,

And a me.

Everyone who wasn’t a hero could be in that car

In the person of Al,

Blocking the wind, running for smokes,

Driving through nights, playing with folks,

And planting the flag!

In the Southern Pacific Railroad Earth

That beckoned the charmers, the dreamers, conductors

Of generations of players in the symphonies of cultures

That filled the halls and spiked the balls and wooed the dolls

With an easy laugh and a generous hand.

Al was a man who had a plan:

To hit the road and not be told

What to do — cuz he already knew

It’s up to YOU

To catch your magnificent friends on the flying trapeze.

Al always practiced this, taught this, caught this, shared this.

A hero of the humble.

An explorer of the quiet.

A romantic of the road.

A swashbuckler of the rails!

A watchman with cocktails!

A map-man with muggles!

A Helen-man with snuggles!

A mighty man who juggles

90 years of adventures into one magic trick of LIFE!

We should all be so lucky!

As all those who knew him were.



Here’s an improvised video riff to Al full of stories and photos . . .


Or here’s The Beat Museum’s founder Jerry Cimino performing Hero of The Humble at the “non-memorial memorial wake” in San Jose on Sunday January 27th . . .


Or here’s a similar video tribute to the late great Carolyn Cassady . . .


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Here’s a story about The Beat Museum’s big Beat Shindig where Al makes a couple of appearances back in 2015.

Here’s my tribute to his and my close friend Carolyn Cassady when she passed.

Here’s some riffs on my book that Al loved — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.


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by Brian Hassett  —   —

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dawn Hinkle // Jan 31, 2019 at 6:25 PM

    This is a beautiful poem. We’re so touched you wrote it.

  • 2 Horst Spandler // Jan 31, 2019 at 8:35 PM

    Just great – thank you!

  • 3 Tate Swindell // Jan 31, 2019 at 10:08 PM

    Your poem was a nice touch for the memorial event! 

  • 4 Peter Sloane // Jan 31, 2019 at 11:05 PM

    I got to watch your YouTube tribute in its entirety this evening. Wondrous & Fantabulous! An exceptional tribute to Al Hinkle!
    Brian, you are so important in your dedication of keeping the Beats alive and relevant in this day & time. Actually, in the eternal moment of now! And the extraordinary way to show the weaving together of the Beat’s to the music that evolved! 
    Deep gratitude and respect dear brother!
    BTW, I first saw the Grateful Dead at the Academy of Music, 14th St, Greenwich Village in the spring of 1972. Pig Pen was still alive. I’ll never forget walking up to the theater from the subway and seeing um-teen Harley Davidsons lined up at the curb with every wheel tilted at the exact angle, sparkling in the marquee lights. Hells Angels were there in mass! That night was a life changing dose for this street kid from The Bronx! ✨⚡️✨
    Just finished reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack! A great and wonderful, informative and important documentation of that phenomenal event! You brought me there.
    Thank you.

  • 5 Lorie Ann Cunningham // Feb 1, 2019 at 10:52 AM

    The whole “non-memorial memorial wake” evening was very memorable. Al will be missed and people spoke from their hearts. Stories were told, emotions were expressed, it was a perfect send off for a man in the shadow of the Beats. But in actuality he was right there in the middle of everything right from the start! Maybe even before! Wonder what Al & the Beats are doing on that astro plane in another dimension, the possibilities are endless.

  • 6 Nancy Jones Cook // Feb 1, 2019 at 8:37 PM

    I liked the video of your poem.

  • 7 Susan Nystrom // Feb 2, 2019 at 9:17 PM

    Loved the part about how we could all be the 3rd guy in the car thru Al. Thanks.

  • 8 Ken Bole // Feb 3, 2019 at 4:33 PM

    Great poem, Brian! A fitting tribute.

  • 9 Scott Collins // Feb 4, 2019 at 7:04 AM

    I quite enjoyed this poem for Al Hinkle (and read by Jerry Cimino). Your point about Al being the everyman to sub for you or me or anyone “in the car, man” was a good one. Keep up the good work and the spreading of the holy word . . . .

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