Jack Kerouac quit the mortal coil 48 years ago today, securing his release from the samsaric wheel of the quivering meat conception, and the granting of his wish:
The wheel of the quivering meat conception . . . . . . I wish I was free of that slaving meat wheel and safe in heaven dead. (Mexico City Blues, 1959, 211th Chorus).
The Last Interview, 12 October 1969. "I'm not a beatnik. I'm a Catholic." "I just sneak into church now, at dusk, at vespers. But yeah, as you get older you get more . . . genealogical."
As much of a screw-up and sinner as he was, as irresponsible, self-indulgent, and self-destructive, Kerouac was a deeply religious man. He went through a Buddhist phase, but at the end he came home to Catholicism.
"Everybody goes home in October." (On the Road, Part I, Ch. 14, Para 1) Here's the whole paragraph:
At dawn my bus was zooming across the Arizona desert -- Indio, Blythe, Salome (where she danced); the great dry stretches leading to Mexican mountains in the south. Then we swung north to the Arizona mountains, Flagstaff, clifftowns. I had a book with me I stole from a Hollywood stall, "Le Grand Meaulnes" by Alain-Fournier, but I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise, and stretch in it mystified my longing. In inky night we crossed New Mexico; at gray dawn it was Dalhart, Texas; in the bleak Sunday afternoon we rode through one Oklahoma flat-town after another; at nightfall it was Kansas. The bus roared on. I was going home in October. Everybody goes home in October.
"Pretty girls make graves." (Dharma Bums)
Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels (G. P. Putnam 1965), p. 48:
Outside it's October night in Manhattan and on the waterfront wholesale markets there are barrels with fires left burning in them by the longshoremen where I stop and warm my hands and take a nip two nips from the bottle and hear the bvoom of ships in the channel and I look up and there, the same stars as over Lowell, October, old melancholy October, tender and loving and sad, and it will all tie up eventually into a perfect posy of love I think and I shall present it to Tathagata, my Lord, to God, saying "Lord Thou didst exult -- and praise be You for showing me how You did it -- Lord now I'm ready for more -- And this time I won't whine -- This time I'll keep my mind clear on the fact that it is Thy Empty Forms."
. . . This world, the palpable thought of God . . . [ellipsis in original]
Alela Diane, We Are Nothing
Jack Kerouac, Tristessa (written 1955-56, first published in 1960), p. 59:
Since beginningless time and into the never-ending future, men have loved women without telling them, and the Lord has loved them without telling, and the void is not the void because there's nothing to be empty of.
Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard, California Zephyr
10,000 Maniacs, Hey Jack Kerouac
Tom Waits, Jack Kerouac on the Road
Aztec Two-Step, The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty
Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues, 228th Chorus
Jack Kerouac, Safe in Heaven, Dead. Good sound quality. "I wish I was free of that slaving meat wheel, safe in heaven, dead."
Jack Kerouac, Charlie Parker. "Charlie, Parker, lay the bane off me, and everybody."