Daily Archives: January 18, 2010

Out for the count

Heres a poem I wrote, voiced for Neal Cassady on his last night. I hope it will form part of a larger work, my second libretto for Composer and Jazz Saxophonist Kevin Flanagan. First a little background:

On February 3, 1968, Cassady spent a night of hard drinking in the
Mexican town of San Miguel De Allende. In a state of extreme
inebriation, he wandered along a deserted railroad track with the
intention of walking the fifteen miles to the next town. It was a cold
and rainy night, and Cassady eventually passed out wearing only a
T-shirt and jeans. He was found beside the tracks the next morning in a
coma from the mixture of the inclement weather, alcohol and drugs. He
was taken to the nearest hospital, where he passed away the following
day. Typical of Cassady, even in death, a legend persists – that he had
been counting railroad ties, and his last words were “Sixty-four
thousand nine hundred and twenty eight.” His death came four days before
his 43rd birthday and one year before Jack Kerouac’s.

Out For The Count

Tongue-tied as I count the rail-road ties,
The crucifying cross-beams of my dream,
You roll me on your scroll and count me in
With angel-headed hipsters, cowboy junkies
A panoply freewheelin’ thru’ your head,
Count me with the ghosts, the countless shadows,
The hardly-living and the grateful dead
Call me and count me, call me cowboy Neal
Call me the Dean my friend and count me in
Make me another poetry projection
And run my life out on your empty screen
Co-opt me as the the driver of your dreams
Your drunken angel on the magic bus
Count me in before you count me out
Love me before you see me crucified
Before the rain man gives me my two cures
Tongue-tied, as I count the rail-road ties.

Kevin and I also collaborate on a neo-beat project called the riprap collective, check it out here


Filed under Poems