At Jack Kerouac's House, Writing Poetry

At Jack Kerouac's House, Writing Poetry

I remember staying up too late the night before, watching an episode of a detective show on my laptop, and then a second, and

I wanted to watch a third but

I told myself No, it's almost two a.m. You'll be too tired in the morning.

I remember I accidentally woke up before seven. Six shots of espresso moved like sludge through my veins.

I remember Jack's house was on the Christmas tour a few years ago. I asked the host to show me where Jack sat when he worked. The floor slants down in that room. His mother slept in a cramped bedroom just off, and he slept on a cot near his work, I think. I remember I sort of felt sorry for Jack. I could feel him hemmed in that room, his success hemming him in. That day was hot and sticky even though it was December, and I wanted to absorb Jack but too many people coming in and out and the walls closing in, the blinds were closed, and I didn't know how Jack could work like that.

I remember the first poem the writer-in-residence had us write was an "I remember" poem.

When I remembered my bossy sister and my grandma's ten brothers and sisters throwing money at us, the other writers at the workshop laughed and that made me feel good. I remember other people wrote about sad things and that made me cry, which made me feel good, too.

I remember the big white dog with brown eyes who looked into mine and made me miss my own dog, even for those few hours.

And I remember driving home, climbing the stairs, closing my door, and secretly rereading my first poem just so I could hear the laughter again.


Charles Gramlich said...

I remember my first time visiting Cross Plains, Texas and seeing the tiny cramped room where Robert E. Howard wrote. I shouldn't ever complain after that, though sometimes I still do.