Tag Archives: Jack Kerouac

Suggested Reading: The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry


The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry

edited by Alan Kaufman & S. A. Griffin

published by Basic Books (member of Perseus Books Group)

Copyright 1999 Alan Kaufman


The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is an enormous collection (685 pgs) of extraordinary counterculture poets including Jack Micheline, D.A. Levy, Diane DiPrima, Sapphire, Bob Kaufman, William S Burroughs, Pedro Pietri, Jeffrey McDaniel, and many, many more. Here we find an eclectic assemblage of artists ranging from spoken word, beat, slam, and rap poets painting the realities of their experiences with powerful verse. Within these pages we can hear the despair of the masses trudging off to work each day, trapped in stale lives,  imprisoned by dull routines, silently screaming  at the heavens for some sort of divine intervention to come and save them from themselves. Raw and compellingly beautiful, this is America as seen through the eyes of street poets dwelling in the bowels of society.  This is poetic expression at its finest. This is America. This is The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Soak it in.




Vagabond (revisited)




He might be Woody Guthrie or Jack Kerouac

hopping trains or thumbing his way down the road

searching for a soul

bathing in desert stars around a campfire

raging against the machine with the ghost of Tom Joad

you can spot his aimlessness by that mangy, tattered look

he’s the guy along the side of the road you didn’t pick up

the reason you avoid truck stops

He’s the graffiti on the side of a boxcar passing in the rain

fresh footsteps in new fallen snow disappearing into the woods

the one in the garden of sound striking a Jesus Christ pose

he reminds of freedom and he’s the reason you dream of leaving

When times become tight he finds solace in a bone orchard

revisiting memories of old friends

taking refuge under the cover of the moon

and when road stake runs low

his conscious never wavers from following the code

He’s a vagabond on the roll trekking far and wide

seeking anything he can find  to heal a fractured soul

on a black river of disconnection he rides

an asphalt ribbon carrying him from Smokey Mountains to Denver

across red desert sands where grains are fused like glass

reflecting back this flight as destiny slips through his hands

When storms come he seeks higher ground

winding through mountain peaks where shamans dwell

shedding his load in temples where secrets of ancients can be found

Possible futures silhouetted against a perpetually moving horizon

his driving thirst to push on, find answers that lay beyond

has only been whetted

so this vagabond rides into a tangerine sky

into destinations unknown, so many days on the run

too many days he has spent

chasing the sun