a poetic tribute to ken kesey: nothing lasts
The Nothing Lasts Poem to Merry Prankster Ken Kesey
by Phil Allard
You’re a blazing daylight trip, Ken, a long chartreuse noon-time journey,
a wailing Garcia jam tearing open seams into my expanding consciousness.
I see you in head shops, local bars, used bookstores, and corporate management meetings.
You’re an ungovernable wave of change outrunning the rising siren of a police cruiser.
You’re the comforting thought of anarchy and chaos.
You’re the confident Captain Marvel mask walking away from the frenzied crowd.
You’re the reason to forget the frenzied crowd.
Your colors are pouring onto this page, Ken.
It’s time you fessed up. You’re the navigator of this runaway exploding prism.
Let the insomniacs in the insane asylum articulate their frustrations.
Let the rusted logger’s chain break against the weight of thousand-year old redwoods.
Let the timber crash. Let the garage sale begin. Let the sailor spit his song into the ocean.
Flesh of Mountain Girl, Stark Naked, Mary Microgram and the “Who Cares Girl”
with Cassady at the eternal wheel and Babbs second in command--
Let them all live their daytime song. Let them all wail their movie.
Isn’t it a shame that a man can lose his daytime song, Ken,
Isn’t it a shame that a man has to fight to star in his own movie?
Let us dance and sway after the parks are closed.
Let us dance and sway after the minds are closed,
after the generic malls and homogenized convenience stores
on America’s main streets are closed.
Day turns to night, Ken.
My open wounds tell me I’m still on the bus.
You taught me to keep that wound open,
to stay on the bus.
Keroauc stirred up a Charlie Parker bop-
then you mixed in a Garcia jam-
and I become a piece of that song, Ken
a piece of that tied-dyed song,
a song I still want the words to.
Fueled by your deeds under this day-glo moon
a new life form emerges, a naked verb tearing itself
from an angelic tongue--
spreading into the backroads of still minds.
Your colors are pouring onto Main Street, Ken.
Your colors are filling the classrooms and gymnasiums,
Ken, the kickback from your chainsaw
is a searing tab of heat for me to ride high on.
-- Phil Allard