Book Of Sketches by Jack Kerouac

Book Of Sketches

Book Of Sketches was written mostly in 1952 and 1953. I don’t think of this as a book. Keroauc is famous so someone decided to publish these scraps of writing- why not his grocery list? Sketches as Jack called them, recount his travels New York, North Carolina, Lowell, San Francisco, Denver, Kansas, Mexico and Paris. They were very hard to read, and many of them made no sense at all. The structure, slavishly followed the layout of a small note pad- made reading them even harder. I don’t recommend this book- it is for Kerouac completists only.

496 pages

Some Of The Better Sketches

Now I’m cold as the moon . . . no more women for puffy-eyed Jack – Location 477

The morning of me liberation — Oct. 4, 1952 — I go live alone in a 3rd St. room, leaving Neal’s — for the 1st time since 1942 — (in Hartford) — All set to write On the Road, the big one with Michael Levesque – Location 1165

I’m getting my kicks in typical Jack Kerouac way, refilling a tokay 25¢ shot glass from my poorboy pocket bottle in railroad-grime jacket & writing & watching W. S. while Negro & Filipino cats sit in bar watching game without buying or drinking anything at all – Location 1180

Glenarm poolhall — rubber floor full of holes, boards show — ancient lost linoleum under — tables have hanging baskets like balls — Pederson’s — old tin panel ceiling, tan color — cue racks — pissery in corner hid by partition — greentop card tables where Holmes in bleak poolhall time sat dealing blearfaced & grim — “Onlooker’s bench” pale green, high, sand jars — Candy counter, open phone booth panels, juke — parkinglot across street — Denver Bears on summernight radio — click, bounce balls on hard, laughs, “God-damn!” — husky voices — Stomp of feet angling around tables — shuffle of shoes — “Let’s go, let’s go!” — voices of adolescents — crash of break — “Shhhhhit” — impatient knock of cuestick on floor — bop — click of ball in basket — pocket — Blackboard near counter — groups of voices, Street — Hotel DeWitt — flash of liquor store neons — Drake (blue) hotel (red) down right, cold — Bright orange Chinese neons up left of city center — Denver Auto Park, lot, old redbrick Hotel Southard one wall, DeWitt (brownbrick white bordered) other — over head wire bulbs in lot — Above poolhall Acme Hearing Aid Co. whitewashed brick — barber pole — (left) Hotel Glenarm pink neon on redbrick (right) — Mirobar corner — (flashing) — Counter — old bronze gilded cash register — framed licenses near coathanger hooks — dark brown cabinet — cigar counter with Tops, White Owls, Red Dot — El Producto — King Edward — signs in entrance glass sides low Coca Cola, Whistle Oh Lord in heaven above what a holy moment, coming to Neal & Carolyn’s house in the gray fog day of San Jose, nobody in, the 9 room sadhouse, the old Green Clunker filled with California Autumnal leaves like the prophetic old birdhouse wreck of old travels & sorrows — & finding all alone in the house Eternal house little John blond & beautiful as an Angel, taking him up, a spot of Tokay, sit by the radio with him & have there on my lap all that’s left of my life, as if he were my blood son. And he looks just like Carolyn — how sad the ten-balled years, how toppled the pin of myself — what Gray Sorrows of Autumn for this sailing soul — and for Cassadys, nothing but love & attention — bearded doom boy Jack in Old Jose, walked from Easonburg Carolina — with $5 — & came to the Angel child that was not afraid of the Shroudy Stranger. – Location 917

A big piece of myself is stuck is choking me in my throat – Location 1389

Gerard whom we shall bring to the angels with rabbits, lambs, wolves, little girls, little mice, pieces of earth, Ti Jean, Ti Nin, Papa, Mama, the subterranean angels, the angels hidden in the cellar, the gibberers in the cemetery beneath the sidewalk, the gibberers in the moon, all together with the frogs to heaven and we shall all sing — I’ll be soft for praying in the cream at the foot of the throne of God, my head leaning on a warm wing forever and then Mama’ll come find me joining all – Location 2002

Sunday In The Yards
Along the rusty track in throbbing pink twilight that casts a faint veil glow on the iron blackbound soot & coal, 2 tank cars & 4 coal hoppers tied in one unmoving drag, waiting mute under the soft November moon of New York for voyages that will take them to nostalgic plains of snow in the great land west — those same rust bottomed wheels will roll & clack over switchpoint ticks of other rails, drive hard rust mass to new Idalias somewhere & where you’ll see the rose jawed freezing brakeman standing by a North Dakota spur in a blizzard with his gloved hand momentarily at rest on the old hopper handrail, spitting, cursing “When the hell they coming back anyways! I got to put a meal of pork chops inside my belly before this local Godforsaken takes us further away from the last restaurant — ” — he wants to eat, be warm, drink coffee — but stands in great weary America which I see now haunted redpink in the west & a parade of shadowy boys handsapockets walking along the boxcar tops in the vast delicate dusk traceried by trees of the living looking like little jigglets & little Coolie Chinamen howling for the Formosa, their feet topping down the singsong walkways along which I used to run puttin pops up & down — As if this was what a man would want to write who has nothing left to do in his life but keep his joy in secret scribbled note- books — no, I’ll have to try again, start all over, again — Enthusiasm is a design that has to be re-woven in this bare barking heart, I hate my life now not love it, damn Leaves dont respond, sticks lie broken, dead leaves gather dust, the West reddens & narrows cold the moon mawks to purse her still lips — lavender over the lights of supper home, — wind sweet memoried of California, I die, I die when I am not enthused & full of meek ragged joy, please dear God again! The prayer of my mother that I need a father, answered! – Location 2007


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