Apparatus Magazine   Leave a comment

Jack Kerouac by photographer Tom Palumbo, circ...

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http://www.apparatusmagazine.com/V1I10HelenPeterson.html

Apparatus Magazine published two of my poems in April, “Bargain Bin Blues” and “Jack and Me”.  Both poems really owe a lot to my life experiences, but both approach them from very different times in my life, and in different ways.

“Bargain Bin Blues” is all about the soundtrack of my college years in Lynchburg, Virginia. A lot of jam bands, Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews Band, and the campfires and freedoms of a person’s late teens and early twenties, where the rules are few, and so is the money. It doesn’t say in the poem, but the CD in question is the soundtrack for the film White Man’s Burden.

Where Bargain Bin riffs off of the musical soundtrack of my life, Jack and Me is all about the poetry that influenced me in the beginning, specifically that of the Beats. I was in love with Jack Kerouac in high school. Crazy dark-haired alcoholic mama’s boy is an acquired taste for some, but has been a type that has always gotten me into trouble. I blame Jack.

In Gerald Nicosia‘s critical biography Memory Babe, he relates a story about how Jack  at a young age would play a mental game with himself while riding in his father’s car, pretending to mow trees down, counting mailboxes, things like that. I would do the same thing. The character Galatea in On the Road was based on a woman named Helen. My Roman name in Latin class was Galatea. Freaky coincidences that don’t really mean much now, but to an easily swayed sixteen year old it was a sign from above, that I would be a writer. Not just a writer, but a Writer!!!!!

So, time changes everything. I got my dark-haired doe eyed drunk, and it was not a happy ending. Is it ever? I wrote a poem poking fun at myself a little, taking off the rosy glasses that romanticized the short life of a man who in the end was rather sad, and setting an expiration date for my life, many many years into the future. Stay tuned to see how that turns out.

Now it’s your turn. Has a childhood hero let you down? Have your ideals changed with time, wisdom, responsibilities and paychecks? Write about it, and let me know how it turns out.

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