On the road

Yes, that’s right. It’s another story with references to Kerouac’s novel. [Yawn]

When i was 19 (that would have to be in 1971) i lived for a while in a small apartment on east sixth street on the lower east side of Manhattan. A fire in the empty building next door resulted in the death of two of the three dogs belonging to the young man and woman squatting there at the time.

And during the time i lived there, i had the opportunity to attend a poetry reading at St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery, a few blocks away. Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, and one or two others were there to read from their works. But mostly they giggled and poked at each other. They looked like they were having a lot of fun. I think a lot of the young, dark-haired hipsters sitting in the pews intent on being enlightened were disappointed.

It was a couple of years after that that i found myself hitchhiking across Nebraska with my dog Buck. I was headed to Wyoming where i hoped to find work.

Near Grand Island i got a ride from a guy driving a big Pontiac. One of those real big ones, a hard top. And all the windows were rolled down. It was like riding in a convertible.

It wasn’t long after Buck and i got in and got on our way that the driver lit up a joint. He lit up using the cigarette lighter from the dash. And we traveled west towards Wyoming talking and listening to the radio.

We hadn’t quite reached the Interstate 80 split when the Pontiac quit running.

We rolled to a stop on the side of the road. And we just sat there. For what seemed like a long time, nothing was said.

And then the guy tells me that the trunk is full of weed and that he thought i probably should get out and get as far away from the car as possible. Before i could say anything he was out the door and leaning into the back seat gathering his stuff. He said he was going back the way he came and headed across the road, thumbing for an eastbound ride.


I got out, grabbed a hold of Buck’s leash, and together we trotted down the highway. Then we walked. And then we ran. And then, out of breath, we walked again.

We never seemed to get far enough away from that car.