Explore your inner Kerouac, Jack
By Anthony Buccino
Allen (Ginsberg) recited a poem about that mentioned the Gorny & Gorny Mortuary, and the train line going through Belleville, my home town. He played something like an accordion or a squeeze box, and before you knew it, we were chanting along along with Louis Ginsberg his dad and the spirit of Kerouac...
“Release your inner Kerouac. This summer, the road is calling. Don't put it into voicemail.”
Can you imagine what Jack would say about being part of a state’s tourism advertising campaign?
After all these years, 55 years ago there was Town And The City, then in ‘57 On The Road, and before you knew it he was gone. And forty years later you’re reading a blog about him. Don’t that beat all?
A long time ago, Allen Ginsberg & his dad, Louis, did a joint reading at Rutgers in Newark.
Allen recited a poem about that mentioned the Gorny & Gorny Mortuary, and the train line going through Belleville, my home town. He played something like an accordion or a squeeze box, and before you knew it, we were chanting along.
I don’t think I ever heard a poem before that mentioned my home town - at least not one written by world-famous poet, nor a poem that mentioned things I had seen on my own.
Allen told a story about being mugged for his wallet. So they got his wallet and left him his worthless briefcase filled with $20,000 of manuscripts.
Louis was known for his newspaper filler called O-Pun Mind that used verse and puns. They ran in the Star Ledger on the editorial or op-ed page.
Anyway, to make a long story short, at the reception afterward, I asked Allen for advice. He said, “Keep breathing.”
Wow. I bet even (my future music critic partner) John Narucki was impressed, but I never thought to ask him.
Then Allen said he wanted to spend some time with his father who, back in the 1970s, was already an old man.
Maybe I should have asked Allen about Kerouac and those old days?
The Independent Press of Bloomfield ran the story I wrote about the reading: Anthony Hears The Ginsbergs. I guess you can find it in the library. I have a copy in my attic, with my copy of Kaddish, and my copies of The Town & The City, On The Road, Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels, and Pip.
Up in the boxes and the dust are a lot of paperbacks I bought way back in the day at the Paperback Book Store on Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield Center, Bloomfield, N.J.
Who knows, I might even find the rejection letter I got from City Lights Books when they said they didn’t want my poetry. I bet that would look good in a frame, or on my web site.
Some day, maybe it’ll turn up in a tourism ad for some state that rhymes with New Jersey?
How does this catch-phrase grab you:
Turn yourself loose, take a ride with Uncle Tonoose
Or this one:
Hop on the caboose with Uncle Tonoose!
Turn Out The City Lights
Turn Loose Your Inner Tonoose!
Remembering John Narucki & Tom Melchionne
In January 1978 – on John’s radio show at Upsala, with Tom, I knew then that Tom wrote better poems. Mine, from his, were very different. And I don’t use that word ‘very’ lightly here.
John said I was a Romantic. I didn’t know what to make of that.
Tom had it right – off to count sheep on the Falkland Islands, after that thing with the Submarine crew. He was doing just fine, too, until the war came along. He sold his story to the TV crew so he could pay his way home.
He ended up in Japan, teaching English, I think, with a Japanese wife. Then he died. And where are his poems now? The one about the lumberjack I especially enjoyed.
When John had us on the radio, he made a tape of our appearance. I had him make me a new cassette ten or fifteen years ago when the first one crumbled. I was planning to ask for yet a third copy, after all these years, just a few years ago, when I heard that John, too, had died.
Maybe we’re better off that the audio is lost. I feel bad that Tom’s poems are gone. Maybe John & Tom are together somewhere reliving their days in Mexico City or some other beat adventure about which I never heard the rest of the details.
Hold on a second. Someone’s bashing at the door, something about my poetic license, whatever that is. Must be the word police!
“Turn in your pens, pencils, cameras and keyboards, and walk away, slowly, and forever.”
Every thirty years or so, I publish some poetry – maybe we’ll meet again.
And he sat back never again to write another line.
Like this is chopped liver?
Narucki photo by Dan Chusid.
Your Inner Kerouac first published on Uncle Tonoose in 2005
Remembering John & Tom first published somewhere in 2006, and on Facebook on Jan. 6, 2010, and again as Where Are You Calling From? on Jan. 6, 2019
© 2005 Anthony Buccino
Essays, photography, military history, more
New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.
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