“Hope is a word like a snow drift – This is the Great Knowing, this is the Awakening, this is Voidness – So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry – Prunes, prune, eat your prunes – And you have been forever, and will be forever, and all the worrisome smashings of your foot on innocent cupboard doors it was only the Void pretending to be a man pretending not to know the Void-“

“On foggy days the view from my toilet seat is like a Chinese Zen drawing in ink on silk of gray voids…”

“(O what a world is this, that friendships cancel enmity of the heart, people fighting for something to fight, everywhere) a world of GPU’s and spies and dictators and purges and midnight murders and marijuana revolutions with guns and gangs in the desert…”

“And I know that America is too vast with people too vast to ever be degraded to the low level of a slave nation, and I can go hitch hiking down that road and on into the remaining years of my life knowing that outside of a couple fights in bars started by drunks I’ll have not a hair on my head (and I need a haircut) harmed by Totalitarian cruelty…”

“I wake up and I’m on Desolation Peak and the firs are motionless in the blue morning – Two butterflies comport, with worlds of mountains as their backdrop – My clock ticks the slow day – While I slept and  traveled in dreams all night, the mountains didn’t move at all I doubt they dreamed-“

“We all stand on the sad earth throwing long shadows, breath cut with flesh.”

“…presaging the ghostly day when industrial America shall be abandoned and left to rust in one long Sunday Afternoon of oblivion.”

“…the whole fabulous movie of San Francisco seen from the bus or train on the Bridge coming in, the tug at your heart like New York.”

“They’ve come from Fillmore in cars, with their girls or without, the cool colored cats of Sunday San Fran in incredibly beautiful neat sports attire, to knock your eyes out, shoes, lapels, ties, no-ties, studs – They’ve brought their horns in taxis and in their own cars, pouring down into the Cellar to really give it some class and jazz now, the Negro people who will be the salvation of America…”

“It’s the beat generation, its beat, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, its being beat and down in the world and like oldtime lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat…”

“The little children are waging big dramas with sand – Meanwhile a father gathers up his three different little ones and heads them home – cops are going into the jailhouse across the street.  Sunday in San Francisco.”

“And the same feeling came to me:  Avoid the World, it’s just a lot of dust and drag and means nothing in the end.  But what to do instead?”

“All I had to do was stay home, give it all up, get a little home for me and Ma, meditate, live quiet, read in the sun, drink wine in the moon in old clothes, pet my kitties, sleep good dreams – now look at this petrain I got me in, Oh dammit! (petrain is a 16th century French word meaning mess)”

“In fact it’s exactly like Mexico, the Fellaheen world, that is, the world that’s not making History in the present:  making History, manufacturing it, shooting it up in H bombs and Rockets, reaching for the grand conceptual finale of Highest Achievement (in our times the Faustian “West” of America, Britain and Germany high and low).”

“Lard asses hipsters, ain’t no good for nothing!” says Bull [William Burroughs].

[William Burroughs’s character] “I’m shitting out my educated Middlewest background for once and for all.  It’s a matter of catharsis where I say the most horrible thing I can think of…”

“…all I wanted somehow now was Wheaties by a pine breeze kitchen window in America, that is, I guess a vision of my childhood in America…”

“Yet there’s hardly anything in the world or at least in America more miserable than a transcontinental bus trip with limited means…”

“…mending the very days of your life with almost glad purposeful gravity…”

“If there can’t be love among men let there be love at least between men and God.”


copyright 1960, 1963, 1965 by Jack Kerouac
my thoughts of JK:  https://walkcheerfullyblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/writers-i-like
Photo credit: Tom Palumbo

additional quotes at: