Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sitting at the Dairy Inn across from the Flamingo Sports Bar—with a picture of Jack Kerouac, black and white, blown up, to the left of the door. Tallulah is eating ice cream, a mountain of strawberry ice cream, her spoon digging delicate little bites of pink from a styrofoam cup, and I’m staring out across the street, beyond the handyman here on his break, across Martin Luther King Jr Avenue to the little green shack of a bar where Jack Kerouac drank (my brother-in-law tells me) whiskies and a wash—cheap and plentiful. Maybe he’s an unquiet spirit, hanging out at this busy crossroads with a message, for I can’t take my eyes from the photograph, the pale face with its wondering eyes. And I can’t stop seeing him bent over the toilet, blood streaming from his mouth, lifting his head to call out to his wife—“Stella—I can’t stop bleeding.” Maybe he came here sometimes, on his way to or from the Flamingo Bar, maybe he sat on a white picnic bench just like this one, looking out across the street. Hey—I hope you can rest in peace, Jack. I have received you.

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