National Poetry Month: “Mexico Rooftop” by Jack Kerouac

from Pomes All Sizes


It’s blue-with a pink movie neon
E-changing in the jungle sky
where rats havent chanced to swamp
the mudstilt builders, bur Who climbed,
the builders, and made it the High plateau

So’s on October Fullmoon Nights, a palm
hairs in the scene, and Aztec Temple
apartment house arches stare
with a premeditated ogling glare
with light-holes & pool-puddles

And the dog barks at Stars-they
are pretty quiet-Tho all kinds
drams and whistlers hongkong the noise
of the street the stars are as faint
and as happy as they glow

In Sweet Canada or Carthage below,
in Rome and in Sisyphus bosom
-Urk, the brown strange glare
of modernized Mexican architecture
housingprojects cant be deAztecfied

It’s blue-with day yellows night lemon
and daywhites nightpale
the color of chalk at a chalk quarry
or gravel in hell-the walls
oh Jugurtha never as grim

I guess, as the walls of that side
of the building-but music reforms
the scene, atch or tortay, poor leetles
Mexican lovers boys draining
out their corazon for love of the sun

Awright, this poem’s a failure-
Throw it in a drawer
buy button thumbnailThe original manuscript of this book, written between 1954 and 1965, has been in the safekeeping of City Lights all the years since Kerouac’s death in 1969. Reaching beyond the scope of his Mexico City Blues, here are pomes about Mexico and Tangier, Berkeley and the Bowery. Mid-fifties road poems, hymns and songs of God, drug poems, wine poems, dharma poems and Buddhist meditations. Poems to Beat friends, goofball poems, quirky haiku, and a fine, long elegy in “Canuckian Child Patoi Probably Medieval . . . an English blues.” But more than a quarter of a century after it was written, Pomes of All Sizes today would seem to be more than a sum of it parts, revealing a questing Kerouac grown beyond the popular image of himself as a Beat on the Road.

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