Ode to Jack (Poet Mondays At the Hotel Wisconsin)

* * *
(which was the last bastion of rooms at an hourly rate)

the last time I read here I got booed because
I have no affinity nor remorse nor despair for that kid named Jerry
who died the last time I read here

Hey c'mon talent or not he was an old
diabetic addict - what the fuck!

My old man he was a player,
He would take up residence in small bohemian
college towns where he'd
pull out his 30" archtop Kay
fingerpicking that acoustic at some
park or subway or bus stop
and he'd talk about back in the day
when he lived in San Francisco
and used to play in this jug band
with this Mexican kid named Jerry

Dad would fingerpick his way through
the tight jeans and peasant blouses of girls - ¼ his age

Now he plays the casinos with reservations
having written books on how to beat the system -
How do you beat the system? You write a book.
You see there are no secrets - the house always wins.
And sometimes you get booed off the stage

But here we are it is the 21st Century
Jerry's dead and no one gives a shit
Jerry who? He played with String Cheese?
Yeah I remember him the cat
accompanied Dave Mathews? Or was it Phish?
I don't know Jerry…

I was talking with some friends about Bobby Darin
his showmanship, chutzpah
how he could hold a room on a single note
but you know what they said?

Bobby who?

Jerry who?

You might as well say Jack.
Jack who?
You don't know Jack?
You know Jack - that fucked up miscreant
Who skipped out of class one day and hit the road
the penultimate road trip
wine, women, song, grass, ass and
amphetamines, Yeah Jack's road trip lasted 7 years
And then some
Wrote about his experiences on the darkside
of Bohemia
Inspired generations of miscreants to follow in his
wake, drunk and alive with the verve
of the now the present the hip the gig man dig
Jack! The guy whose wordplay on butcher paper
rolled and burning… Jack! The patron saint of all that is
poetic all that is beatitude - beautiful
You know… Jack!
You don't now Jack?
you don't know Jack…

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