tagNon-Erotic PoetryYou Don't Know Jack

You Don't Know Jack


You don't know Jack,
     wouldn't if he echoed
          off the mountains
and rolled on bald tires
     down the highway
          to Frisco, to Denver,
to New York City.
     Buses, trains,
         and cars, cars, cars,
beat up, hopped up
          lucky to have four wheels,
sometimes use only two
     at one hundred ten.
         But on the long,
long, endless highway
       all he wanted
               was to burn space
beneath the squealing
       tires in a
                 Neal Cassady dream.
Boy, that man could drive
     and space disappear
with the smell of burning rubber.
     And his words, man,
he would spin off
     into outer space
in a sweaty
     backstreet alley
          dive of a jazz bar,
juking with
     the sax player,
             bumming drinks
or cigarettes
     just for the hell of it.
          But you don't know him,
because he's off
          before you can
     rest your ass on the barstool,
running high on bennies
        or caffeine
             or just high on life:
he had to be
     just to keep up
          with Neal.
He burned bright
          like a fire
     down some dusty dirt road
     from Denver to
     or Chicago
or Monterrey.
          He burned
     without reason,
without fear,
     without smoke.
          He burned
just for the hell of fire
          in invisible nights
     of cars,
bars and women,
     more of the first two,
          but that's Jack.
You don't know Jack,
          neither do I,
     he died too young
but he had to,
     just to keep up
               with Neal.

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