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     By Michelle Bayman

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Jack Kerouac was looking over my shoulder when I penned this down.
He poured my glass of milk knowing I didn’t wish to ruin the moment in my poem.
He is there with breakfast at the table when
I wake up and there to turn off the light when I go to bed.
He sits in the passenger seat of my car, picking songs
and casually pointing out which way it is to the highway.
As I lounge in my armchair writing, reading, revising,
I ask him to pass the thesaurus where it sits next to
his typewriter on the floor as he streams his thoughts
to paper.
He is the one that laughs with me
at the ridiculousness of those lacking great
consciousness of life.
His honesty and blurt it out mouth
can always make me laugh, I guess
that’s why Allen called him the
He is the one who will relentlessly stress
with me about being good at this craft.
We take it
one day at a time and pick each other up when
we get tossed from the wagon, and wonder
who the hell has a wagon these days anyway?
Jack takes my hand gently, after enfolding my body
in his coat, and leads me outside to see the expansive night
where he disappears in a wink of the stars and falling
And now when I look
in the mirror the
Heart is smiling back.
What thoughts I have of you tonight
Jack. What thoughts of you I have,
wandering these lonely streets of a
bustling college town, past newly
abandoned bars, a squeeze of hands
reassures our sober strength.
Thoughts of you while crowded
on blankets beneath lights, some
winking while others cry streaks across
the broken sky, murmurs
and giggling I roll to face you,
ask you if the stirring of grass
is the same here in our beloved
east coast as it is in the undulating
hills of pure openness in the mid-west.
Because this earth, this empty sky
is all in the mind of American kids
having sad times together, submitting
rather than talking straight about preciousness
of moments leaning for life in that most foreign country
where loss must be accepted forever because great
things are not accomplished by those without that great
consciousness of life . . .
and as always, there you are
because I have thoughts of you while scribbling
flowing sketches of soul, my soul.
My soul which is filled with thoughts of you
through mortality, through those miles and through
that pesky nuisance time buzzing around us, a morose
hand stops twirling my hair to swat it away
because here late at night in lingering
thoughts of you, cuddled with my lover
something’s in my eye is what I lie to him
when thoughts of you cross my mind
in the middle of October.
The ground has a shadow where
winds wail brushed leaves aside.
The sun rose ferocious in misery
bruising the clouds, burning down
azure sky.
Haley, traveler of galaxies, ran away
weeping tears that were destroyed
by the breaths of the unknowing
ignorant ones in the atmosphere.
The universe mourned the loss
of the Heart in a spectacular
show of love and beauty
that he would have known
and captured in a simple haiku.
I didn’t even visit his grave.

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