On the Road: The Original Scroll (Short Review)

A deeply riveting ride in American confusion. A story of immoral mad travelers speeding through the road, hungry and alone and briefly together, feeling the burn of youth before an inevitable fall. Hopping on trains with hobos and staggering in rat alleys and sleeping in tents, hopped up and drunk and high and perpetually exhausted, rambling about nonsense and truth, unable to fully figure out the real meaning behind a rush of places.

Time abuses all people with bad habits, habits of taboo fucking and needles, alcohol and guns, lovers and high-speed trips, habits of warm touches and leaving and then settling to die in forgotten towns. Time crushes all people. But in those years of our intense seeking, when we’re young and bold and pass through our fleeting relationships, we feel fully alive. We feel free, unaware of any fixed future, in romantic illusions of immortality. Only later we sit and brood our regrets, not for what we found or lost, but for how far we didn’t go.

*****

From Kerouac on The Steve Allen Show in 1959, an erasure poem made of people’s comments:

A review of their reviews:

quiet-rolling
through
a shy prophet

in moments
on the road
where on the edges of
beat melancholy, he
looks for the father
he never had

discomfort
in all his gestures,
he suffers the sympathetic
perception,

Kerouac in lilting
waste, hopelessly
drunk, “folded
inwards toward
the Lord”

on the road,
in America
when the sun
goes down,
on the death
beat of a
beautiful man,
he thinks of
Neal Cassady,
he thinks of
Dean Moriarty…

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