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Ode to Jack

September 30th, 2019 · 11 Comments · Kerouac and The Beats



Jack fights back

from off the Beaten track

still alive

at 100

as if any of us ever wondered

if THAT would happen 

after his track star sprint  —

through the pages of history,

seeing around corners like Neal at the wheel,

knockin over grammar cops

and blowin past the door stops

to hidden darkened jazz joints

puffin on a Mezz joint

never missing THE point

of dancing with the mad ones

and singing with the sad ones

and drinking with the bad ones

and skipping past the madhouse

and steering clear the jailhouse

heading for his mom’s house

to write another epic

soaring while he’s manic

catchin’ all the magic

of mysteries dark & vast,

he channeled spirits till the last

he hitched the roads, had a blast

he wrote it down really fast.

Now it’s 50 since he passed

let’s hoist his flag up our mast

salute the work he amassed

“Have you ever seen a canon so vast?”

So let us all

take a moment to thank

the Pollard for the books

the Young Prometheans for the camaraderie 

the Columbia cabal for “The New Vision”

Neal Cassady for The Letter

Bill Cannastra for the paper

Joan Haverty for the apartment

Malcolm Cowley for the championing

Gilbert Millstein for the reviewing

David Amram for the playing

Allen Ginsberg for the . . . everything

Lowell for the Celebrating

You for the being

We for the seeing

The glowing light of the golden eternity!


Thank you Jack for all you shone.



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Here’s when I closed the show with it at the Kerouac at 100 centennial show in Lowell in 2022 —


And here’s when it was part of the 3-piece set at the Amramless Jam in 2023 . . .


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


For more Adventures in Jack check The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.

Or there’s the connective How The Beats Begat The Pranksters.

Or to complete the Beat Trilogy there’s On The Road with Cassadys.

Or here’s where you can read the tale of Jack’s 100th birthday celebrations in Lowell in 2022.

Or for some background on the late great Bill Cannastra check out this piece.

Or for more on LCK (Lowell Celebrates Kerouac) here’s a happy riff on it.



by Brian Hassett  —   —

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


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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dale "Gubba" Topham // Sep 30, 2019 at 11:28 AM

    Thanks Brian
    now I feel like
    “…everything’s been returned
    which was ‘ode’
    On the back of the fish truck
    that loads
    While my conscience explodes…”

    Wish I was gonna be there to
    hear it live.
    You’ll just have to imagine
    Gubba out there
    yelling “Hey Brother!”
    or “Go Go Go!”

  • 2 Brian // Sep 30, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    Gubba — Thanks! When I was writing it, I wanted to write something that would make you (and Philip) go “Whoa!!” from the audience. 😀
    I was hearing / seeing you in front of me. This should really be dedicated to you two — the best audience members a guy could hope for. 😉

  • 3 Phil Thomas // Sep 30, 2019 at 1:09 PM

    That’s awesome, Brian. Can’t wait to hear it live.

    I’m grateful you appreciate our enthusiasm and love for you and LCK.

  • 4 Cynthia Johnston // Sep 30, 2019 at 2:32 PM

    Wowee! Pow! Fizz! Whoop! Weep! Wop Bop Kazart! yes Yes.YES!!! And, of course, Selah!

  • 5 Phil Linz // Sep 30, 2019 at 3:42 PM

    Freakin’ wonderful! Works as a poem & prob even more so as song. Looking forward to LCK, less than two weeks away. Will see you & the rest of the Beat tribe there!

  • 6 Brian Humniski // Sep 30, 2019 at 6:38 PM

    Looking forward to the live interpretation in Lowell!

  • 7 Marthalee Aykroyd // Sep 30, 2019 at 8:11 PM

    “…never missing THE point
    of dancing with the mad ones
    and singing with the sad ones
    and drinking with the bad ones
    and skipping past the madhouse…”

    Freakin brilliant … the whole thing but love this bit.

  • 8 Sharon Scott // Oct 1, 2019 at 11:42 AM

    Wow! Could you or somebody maybe rap this or similar?

  • 9 Brian // Oct 1, 2019 at 1:45 PM

    Yep — it’s sort of a rap piece. 🙂 I’ll be performing it live next weekend — twice, with two different musical ensembles. All shows will be filmed for future release, but they might also be live-streamed on Facebook — 6 – 7PM Saturday, and around 2PM Sunday (Eastern). 🙂

  • 10 Lilliane Fiola // Oct 4, 2019 at 2:14 PM

    Wish I could be there in Lowell to hear this live!

  • 11 Brian Humniski // Oct 5, 2019 at 12:52 AM

    The Worthen calls.

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