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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 36

Ti Jean

Desperate young men scour the streets of Lowell for a glimpse of Jack Kerouac. They want to walk around Kearney Square calling his name. They want to visit the Pawtucket Social Club where Kerouac Senior managed the bowling alley. They want Jack to appear in his childhood holding his father’s hand. They want to spot Jack buying a six-pack at Lowell Provision Company at West 6th and Aiken Streets, Centralville. They want to overhear Jack praying in Our Lady of Lourdes grotto. They want to visit his grave in Edson Cemetery and find Allen Ginsberg squatting on it, waving his favorite part. They want to walk past 9 Lupine Road and hear the infant Ti Jean crying. They know Jack won’t show up. Still, they linger on the bridge above Pawtucket Falls. Admire the long Boott Mills block of weathered brick. Eat lunch at Arthur’s Paradise Diner, on Bridge Street. Then a tour of the other houses Kerouac occupied, however briefly: 16 Phebe Avenue, 34 Beaulieu Street, 66 West Street. Then maybe a drink in a brown and drowsy bar where no one had known their hero. Maybe that’s enough for one day, the November dark falling in thick and dusty folds

  William Doreski