for Jack Kerouac (1922-69)
Jack the America of your dreams is gone
Gone the brownstone tenements of the night
Gone the empty coffee houses of lonely evenings and silence
Gone the boxcars and hoboes and prayers to St Teresa
Gone the warmth of a blazing fire on a winter night.
Jack the America you loved has become
the America of senseless noise
the America of arrogant impositions
the America of threat and aggression
the America of brutality
the America of broken hearts and broken promises.
An insect feeding on the world
suckling greedily demanding more
deaf to the voice of reason and temperance.
Jack come back
bring back with you the America even outsiders loved
the America of open highways
the America of boundless forests
the America of sunsets by the river-pier
an America generous of spirit.
The planet needs this America.
Jack bring back your magic
and banish our nightmares.
Bring back your gentleness
and teach America how to be free.
Jim McDonald's Other Poems
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