Cajun Mutt Press Special Feature 03/12/22

Searching for Jack Kerouac, on the Occasion of Jack’s 100th Birthday

visited
San Francisco
flew to Chicago
on to Oakland California
rental Mustang GT
fast weaving thru heavy traffic
over Bay Bridge

wandered North Beach San Francisco
suitcase weighed down with heavy words

On the Road

where is Jack Kerouac

in Canada Lowell New York City North Carolina
Denver San Francisco Mexico City St. Petersburg
bones white light white heat bones
Jack Kerouac’s bones in
Lowell, Massachusetts
where the road begins and ends

and I’m searching
for Jack Kerouac
out west as west as west can be west
and still be in the olding USA
there’s the Pacific Ocean
out past the Golden Gate
Asian immigrants on boats
pleading waiting to get in
open spirit
the dream
of freedom of joy

“It’s okay to be happy”
His Holiness
The Dalai Lama
looks deep into my eyes my soul
and says “It’s okay to be happy”
what release I felt
years and years layer upon layer of
mountainous guilt fell away fell away
“It’s okay to be happy”
especially out far out west
on the left coast

Jack Kerouac
The Dalai Lama
Thomas Merton
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Jan Kerouac

determined to start a new life
out west far out west
San Francisco Oakland Berkeley Mill Valley Sausalito
non-stop performances visits travels

Berkeley Berkeley Berkeley
1968 still 1969 in Berkeley
pow wow with Einstein of the sacred herb
peace pipe opens magic realms
then cross campus to Moe’s bookstore
where I’m told that Chris Felver will be signing
his new BEAT book
Chris Felver
the best photographer on the planet
I wrote his phone number down
in the flying Mustang GT
crossing Bay Bridge synchronicity good signs abound

BEAT BEAT BEAT

“the most beautiful book ever produced
and published on The Beat Generation”

“In 2001, Ron Whitehead and
I made a pilgrimage to Thomas Merton’s
grave to meet Father Patrick Hart. He
had with him two poems
that Jack Kerouac had contributed to Merton’s journal,
Monks Pond, summer 1968…”

and on the next page Jack Kerouac
Thomas Merton
the poems the journals the grave
Brother Pat and me at Merton’s grave
where I also stood with Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1993

and I’m searching
for Jack Kerouac
Moe’s bookstore Berkeley
and yes in walks Chris Felver
and a Felver entourage including nubile neo-Beats
three young women walking their own Beat road
a joyous reunion
at Moe’s bookstore
in Berkeley, California

determined to start a new life
new beginning
days and nights visiting Felver
bridges cross bays endless miles of blue water
turquoise sky islands boats birds fish prisons
San Quentin Alcatraz trust fund yuppies
homeless
the middle class is dead
Reagan Bush Clinton Bush Jr killed the middle class

democracy is dying
even on the left coast

if we fail
to reach our democratic potential
freedom and equality for all
if we fail and we’re failing miserably failing
democracy will move west
continually west

go west young woman young man

the time of the grandmothers
the time of the nurturing healing feminine energy has come
patriarchy has sewn destruction
we must all
female and male become healers peace love and
understanding are not dirty weak words
peace love and understanding are essential to our survival

rather than viruses let us be healer gardeners
dwelling harmoniously with Mother Earth
and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
“the one who’ll shake the ones unshaken
the fearless one the one without bullshit”
and the Sunday morning church bells chime cross the distance
I cast off the anxiety of authority of influence
and make myself new
breathing in salty sea breezes
my lungs and heart are healed

writing the heart

I have escaped my mental sanctum
where for too long I contemplated
longing loss grief my complicated navel
I have finally pulled my head outta my ass
I am born again
my new church is my body
in which my soul dwells now

wherever I am I am in church

my soul my spirit my heart sing
songs of praise I give thanks
for each and every moment event person being
I give thanks for the pain suffering joy happiness
all and everything have brought
me to this moment
this fleeting moment

and before this line is written it
will be gone gone gone into the past
even right now lasts less than a moment

life flies by

no sense holding on to what is gone
last breath will arrive soon enough

I am free

searching for Jack Kerouac
Jan’s lost father
their bones
white bones buried
coast to coast
ghost to ghost
I see them now holding hands
far seeing
staring at me from the other side
Jack and Jan Kerouac
staring at me writing this poem
I hear Jack say

“The World really does not matter, but God has made it so,
and so it matters in God, and He Hath Aims for it,
which we cannot know without the understanding of obedience. There is nothing to do but give praise.
This is my ethic of ‘art’…”

and searching for Jack Kerouac
I realize that I don’t know anything nobody knows anything
but I embrace this beautiful
terrible mystery this mysterium tremendum called life
and I declare that henceforth and forevermore
I will do nothing but surrender my will to God
and sing songs of praise of thanks of joy of happiness
even if I die in a gutter
with a bullet in my head
I’ll die singing songs of praise

and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
Moe’s bookstore Berkeley Bird and Beckett Books San Francisco
Cafe Trieste Mill Valley Oakland Public Library
Cafe Greco North Beach San Francisco
non-stop performances visits travels
I bid farewell to ye oh holy
far out left coast

and searching for Jack Kerouac
on the plane I read

“…the only people that interest me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,
desirous of everything at the same time, the
ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing…but
burn, burn, burn like roman candles”

and on the plane by the window
peering through the clouds
I see Jack’s smiling face
and he whispers from the distance

“One night in America when the sun had gone down
beginning at four of the winter afternoon in New York
by shedding a beautiful burnished gold in the air
that made dirty old buildings look like the walls
of the temple of the world…then outflying its own
shades as it raced three thousand 200 miles over raw
bulging land to the West Coast before sloping down
the Pacific, leaving the great rearguard
shroud of night to creep upon our earth,
to darken rivers, to cup the peaks
and fold the final shore in…”

I’m searching yes after all these years
still searching for myself
folding the final shore in
still searching for the
ever elusive Jack that’s right
I said Jack Jack Kerouac
I”m searching
for Jack Kerouac

©2022 Ron Whitehead, U.S. National Beat Poet Laureate All rights reserved.

Ron Whitehead

“Ron Whitehead is a real visionary. Ron Whitehead, out there in Kentucky, is sowing the dragon’s teeth of a new heroics. Ron Whitehead is Bodhisattva in Kentucky.”
—Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“I have long admired Ron Whitehead. He is crazy as nine loons, and his poetry is a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics.”
—Hunter S. Thompson

“Ron Whitehead is one of the most exciting poets in America. Poet and literary activist, he is one of the great poets of his generation.”
—Douglas Brinkley

“Ron Whitehead is a prophet. He is one of the world’s greatest poet prophets. What an inspiring honor to hear him read here at Granada Nicaragua’s International Poetry Festival!”
—Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“Ron Whitehead, His Holiness The Dalai Lama thanks you and offers his blessing and permission for you to create a poster of his message to you which you have written in the form of a poem. I would like to express my personal appreciation to you. Your poem of His Holiness’s message is extremely powerful and moving. I am confident that it will inspire many.”
—Tenzin Geyche Tethong, Secretary to His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Poet, writer, editor, publisher, professor, scholar, activist Ron Whitehead is the author of 24 books and 34 albums. In 1994 he wrote the poem “Never Give Up” with His Holiness The Dalai Lama. In 1996 he produced the Official Hunter S. Thompson Tribute featuring Hunter, his mother Virginia, his son Juan, Johnny Depp, Warren Zevon, Douglas Brinkley, David Amram, Roxanne Pulitzer, and many more. Ron has produced thousands of events and festivals in Europe and the USA. He has presented thousands of readings, talks, and performances around the world. He has edited and published hundreds of titles. The recipient of many awards, his work has been translated into 20 languages. In 2018 Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer presented Ron with a Lifetime Achievement for Work in The Arts Award. In 2019 Ron was named Kentucky’s Beat Poet Laureate and was also the first U.S. citizen to be named UNESCO’s Tartu City of Literature Writer-in-Residence.. He is co-founder and Chief of Poetics for Gonzofest Louisville. Outlaw Poet: The Legend of Ron Whitehead documentary will be released by Storm Generation Films/Dark Star TV in 2022.

Jan Kerouac at Jack’s grave.
Searching for Jack Kerouac: You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley

Searching for Jack Kerouac: You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley
On the Occasion of Jack’s 100th Birthday

Ron Whitehead vocals, Lacy Jean violin & vocals, Katrina Harper vocals.
Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Bill Hardesty at Logan Street Music Studio.
Produced by Ron Whitehead, Bill Hardesty, Matt Thomasson.
Photography & Film production by Yunier Ramirez.
“You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley,” Appalachian folk song, African American spiritual, lonesome lost brokedown blues.

“You got to walk, that lonesome valley
Well, you got to walk, it for yourself
Ain’t nobody else, can walk it for you
You got to walk, that valley for yourself

My mother had to walk, that lonesome valley
Well, she had to walk, it for herself
There’s nobody else, can walk it for you
Yes, she had to walk, a’that valley for herself

Oh yes, you got to walk, that lonesome valley
Well, you got to walk, it for yourself
There’s nobody else, can walk it for you
You got to walk…”

visited
San Francisco
flew to Chicago
on to Oakland California
rental Mustang GT
fast weaving thru heavy traffic
over Bay Bridge

wandered North Beach San Francisco
weighed down with heavy words

On the Road

where is Jack Kerouac

in Canada Lowell New York City North Carolina
Denver San Francisco Mexico City St. Petersburg
bones white light white heat bones
Jack Kerouac’s bones in
Lowell, Massachusetts
where the road begins and ends

and I’m searching
for Jack Kerouac
out west as west as west can be west
and still be in the olding USA
there’s the Pacific Ocean
out past the Golden Gate
Asian immigrants on boats
pleading waiting to get in
open spirit
the dream
of freedom of joy

“It’s okay to be happy”
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
looks deep into my eyes my soul
and says “It’s okay to be happy”
what release I felt
years and years layer upon layer of
mountainous guilt
for failure after failure
for not being enough for anyone
fell away fell away
“It’s okay to be happy”
especially out far out west
on the left coast

Jack Kerouac
The Dalai Lama
Thomas Merton
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Jan Kerouac

determined to start a new life
out west far out west
San Francisco Oakland Berkeley Mill Valley Sausalito
non-stop performances visits travels

Berkeley Berkeley Berkeley
1968 still 1969 in Berkeley
pow wow with Einstein of the sacred herb
peace pipe opens magic realms
then cross campus to Moe’s bookstore
where I’m told that Chris Felver will be signing
his new BEAT book
Chris Felver
the best photographer on the planet
I wrote his phone number down
in the flying Mustang GT
crossing Bay Bridge synchronicity good signs abound

BEAT BEAT BEAT

“the most beautiful book ever produced
and published on The Beat Generation”


“In 2001, Ron Whitehead and
I made a pilgrimage to Thomas Merton’s
grave to meet Father Patrick Hart. He
had with him two poems
that Jack Kerouac had contributed to Merton’s journal,
Monks Pond, summer 1968…”


and on the next page Jack Kerouac
Thomas Merton
the poems the journals the grave
Brother Pat and me at Merton’s grave
where I also stood with Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1993

and I’m searching
for Jack Kerouac
Moe’s bookstore Berkeley
and yes in walks Chris Felver
and a Felver entourage including nubile neo-Beats
three young women walking their own Beat road
a joyous reunion
at Moe’s bookstore
in Berkeley, California

determined to start a new life
new beginning
days and nights visiting Felver
bridges cross bays endless miles of blue water
turquoise sky islands boats birds fish prisons
San Quentin Alcatraz trust fund yuppies
homeless

the middle class is dead
Reagan Bush Clinton Bush Jr killed the middle class

democracy is dying
even on the left coast

if we fail
to reach our democratic potential
freedom and equality for all
if we fail and we’re failing miserably failing
democracy will move west
continually west

go west young woman young man

the time of the grandmothers
the time of the nurturing healing feminine energy has come
patriarchy has sewn destruction long enough
we must all
female and male become healers
peace love and understanding are not dirty weak words
peace love and understanding are essential to our survival

rather than viruses let us be healer gardeners
dwelling harmoniously with Mother Earth

and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
“the one who’ll shake the ones unshaken
the fearless one the one without bullshit”
and the Sunday morning church bells chime cross the distance
I cast off the anxiety of authority of influence
and make myself new
breathing in salty sea breezes
my lungs and heart are healed

writing the heart

I have escaped my mental sanctum
where for too long I contemplated
longing loss grief my complicated navel
I have finally pulled my head outta my ass
I am born again
my new church is my body
in which my soul dwells now

wherever I am I am in church

my soul my spirit my heart sing
songs of praise I give thanks
for each and every moment event person being
I give thanks for the pain suffering joy happiness
all and everything have brought
me to this moment
this fleeting moment

and before this line is written it
will be gone gone gone into the past
even right now lasts less than a moment

life flies by

no sense holding on to what is gone
last breath will arrive soon enough

I am free

searching for Jack Kerouac
Jan’s lost father
their bones
white bones buried
coast to coast
ghost to ghost
I see them now holding hands
far seeing
staring at me from the other side
Jack and Jan Kerouac
staring at me writing this poem
I hear Jack say

“The World really does not matter, but God has made it so,
and so it matters in God, and He Hath Aims for it,
which we cannot know without the understanding of obedience.
There is nothing to do but give praise.
This is my ethic of ‘art’…”

and searching for Jack Kerouac
I realize that I don’t know anything nobody knows anything
but I embrace this beautiful
terrible mystery this mysterium tremendum called life
and I declare that henceforth and forevermore
I will do nothing but surrender my will to God
and sing songs of praise of thanks of joy of happiness
even if I die in a gutter
with a bullet in my head
I’ll die singing songs of praise

and I’m searching for Jack Kerouac
Moe’s bookstore Berkeley Bird and Beckett Books City Lights
Cafe Trieste Cafe Greco North Beach San Francisco
Sausalito Mill Valley Oakland
non-stop performances visits travels
I bid farewell to ye oh holy
far out left coast

and searching for Jack Kerouac
on the plane I read

“…the only people that interest me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,
desirous of everything at the same time, the
ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing…but
burn, burn, burn like roman candles”

and on the plane by the window
peering through the clouds
I see Jack’s smiling face
and he whispers from the distance

“One night in America when the sun had gone down
beginning at four of the winter afternoon in New York
by shedding a beautiful burnished gold in the air
that made dirty old buildings look like the walls
of the temple of the world…then outflying its own
shades as it raced three thousand 200 miles over raw
bulging land to the West Coast before sloping down
the Pacific, leaving the great rearguard
shroud of night to creep upon our earth,
to darken rivers, to cup the peaks
and fold the final shore in…”

I’m searching yes after all these years
still searching for myself
folding the final shore in
still searching for the
ever elusive Jack that’s right
I said Jack Jack Kerouac
I”m searching
for Jack Kerouac 

“Oh, Jesus had to walk that lonesome valley
He had to walk, it for His’self
There’s nobody else, could walk it for Him
He had to walk, that valley for His’self

Oh yes, you got to walk, that lonesome valley
Well, you got to walk, it for yourself
There’s nobody else, can walk it for you
You got to walk, that valley for yourself”

©2022 Ron Whitehead, U.S. National Beat Poet Laureate All rights reserved.

Now Available From Cajun Mutt Press

Good morning/afternoon/night! Whatever time it may be in your corner of the world, I wanted to let everyone know The Adventures of Brain Man by Ron Whitehead is now available! I’ll post today’s Featured Writer for y’all in a little while as well, putting it together now.

Write On,
JDCIV
🤟💀

Ron Whitehead takes you on a journey across lands and through mindscapes in The Adventures of Brain Man. Searching for his “Other” brother, The Brain Man, who left home at seventeen for Oxford on an academic scholarship never to be seen again. Only heard about in news reports, magazine articles, and the occasional poem in various publications. After finding a mysterious and scathing letter about a book Brain had written in a secret part of the attic, Ron sets off to find his brother for answers. Ultimately finding himself in the end.

Cover Art: “Allfather” by Ryan Case
Ink, acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

Available Oct. 15th: The Adventures of Brain Man by Ron Whitehead

Holy hell—this book is absolutely gorgeous! I just got the proof copy of The Adventures of Brain Man by Ron Whitehead, and somehow it turned out even better than I expected!!

Cover art by The Art of Ryan Case, premium color interior on heavy white paper, typewriter font, ravens around the titles, skulls above the numbers, it is just incredible. I dig it.

Y’all keep your eyes peeled, the release date is October 15th. This is definitely a book you want to add to your collection. Actually, I can’t wait until it’s published so I can order one for MYSELF!!

Write On,
J.D.C.IV
🤟💀

Coming Soon From Cajun Mutt Press

The Adventures of Brain Man by Ron Whitehead
Available on October 15th, 2021

Keep your eyes peeled. This is an amazing book, cover to cover. The front cover is INSANE, and the interior just gets better. Including skulls and ravens and typewriter font, oh my! Trust me, you’re gonna want one.

Front cover art: “Allfather” by Ryan Case.
Ink, acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

Now Available From Cajun Mutt Press: Oracles of a Strange Fire

Oracles from a Strange Fire: Poems by Merritt Waldon & Ron Whitehead

Cover Photo by Jinn Bug

In this collection, you’ll find two versions of each poem, created by two poets sharing one voice in their own distinct way. A collaboration that experiments with editing and style by Merritt Waldon & Ron Whitehead.

“Oracles from a Strange Fire: poems by Merritt Waldon and Ron Whitehead was born out of an exchange between Ron Whitehead and me. Upon receiving a gift package of books and CDs from Ron, and in the spirit of free sharing between poets, I sent Ron a handful of poems. He told me he liked them, and that he had been editing them. His words were more than welcome as I have been scarcely published, and never edited. Then it came to me: what if a book was published of my original poems, along with Ron’s edited version. on opposite pages, or next to one another, similar to bilingual editions of poetry. Ron liked the idea so I selected random poems from the past five years and sent them to him. Ron’s edits grew. Two voices became one then another voice was born. And so the birth of my first published BOOK, an experiment in language in life in living in poetry, a joint collaboration between two poets on the opposite sides of the Ohio. I proudly present Oracles from a Strange Fire.” —Merritt Waldon

“Not long ago Merritt Waldon sent me four poems and asked me if I would read them and offer feedback. I edited two of them. Often, when I edit I end up losing myself and rewriting the poem(s). Merritt suggested we do a volume of his poems accompanied by my edits/transformations. In the midst of working on some other big projects I said HellYeah! A couple of weeks later, the Oracles from a Strange Fire collaboration was completed. Merritt’s poems are on the left hand page and my edits/transformations are on the right hand page.

I’m excited for Merritt on getting his first book accepted for publication. I’m honored to be part of it. Thank you to James Dennis Casey IV and Cajun Mutt Press for publishing this experiment in poetry. Language always has been and forever will be an experiment.”
—Ron Whitehead, Kentucky Outlaw Poet