-Sal Paradise, On The Road
(In the road ... Bob Donlin, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, Robert La Vigne and Lawrence Ferlinghetti outside the City Lights bookstore in 1956. Photograph: Allen Ginsberg/Corbis as reprinted in the Guardian.co.uk)
"Jack Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million Levis to both sexes."
About Levi Strauss & Co.
Sunflower Sutra, Allen Ginsberg
I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and
....sat down under the huge shade of a Southern
....Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the
....box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron
....pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts
....of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed,
....surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun
....sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that
....stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves
....rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums
....on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray
....shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting
....dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust--
--I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower,
....memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem...
The mad road, lonely, leading around the bend into the openings of space towards the horizon Wasatch snows promised us in the vision of the West, spine heights at the world's end, coast of blue Pacific starry night—nobone halfbanana moons sloping in the tangled night sky, the torments of great formations in mist, the huddled invisible insect in the car racing onwards, illuminate.—The raw cut, the drag, the butte, the star, the draw, the sunflower in the grass—orangebutted west lands of Arcadia, forlorn sands of the isolate earth, dewy exposures to infinity in black space, home of the rattlesnake and the gopher the level of the world, low and flat: the charging restless mute unvoiced road keening in a seizure of tarpaulin power into the route.