Prophets of the Road

Ken Kesey died on this day in 2001. The author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the ringleader of the Merry Pranksters, whose exploits on a psychedelically decorated bus were chronicled in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, was buried on his Oregon farm, in a homemade pine box sprayed in Day-Glo, beneath a headstone inscribed with “Sparks Fly Upwards” (from the Book of Job: “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upwards”). The coffin received an assortment of blessings and provisions:

Catholics anointed him, Buddhists chanted, Jews said Kaddish, a Christian blessed him, an American Indian called his soul home from the four directions. We formed a line, touching him, tucking talismans, crystals, beads, ribbons, flowers, buds, a wooden flute, into the coffin or his pockets. …[T]he head tilted back upon a small pillow unnaturally and a red Grateful Dead “Steal Your Face” beret perched on his head.

-From "Sparks Fly Upwards: Remembering Ken Kesey" by Jeff Forester, published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Vachel Lindsay was born on this day in 1879. Sixty years before Kesey, and by foot rather than bus, Lindsay toured America in the spirit of the troubadour-prophet. As a “religious tramp” in the “church of the open sky,” his aim was to sell not just his poems but his message — #8 on his otherwise-practical traveling code: “1) Keep away from the cities; 2) Keep away from the railroads; 3) Have nothing to do with money; 4) Ask for dinner about quarter after eleven; 5) Ask for supper and a night's lodging about quarter to five; 6) Travel alone; 7) Be neat, truthful, civil and on the square; 8) Preach the gospel of beauty.” The gospel could sometimes get strident; the following is from one of his “War Bulletin” pamphlets, a 1909 series that combined verse with manifesto:

I have spent a great part of my few years fighting a soul battle for absolute liberty, for freedom from obligation, ease of conscience; independence from commercialism. I think I am farther from slavery than most men. But I have not complete freedom of speech. In my daily round of work I find myself taking counsel to please the stupid, the bigoted, the conservative, the impatient, the cheap…..

In “Kaddish 44,” Allen Ginsberg elegizes Lindsay as a road warrior, dead at age fifty-two, a suicide by drinking Lysol:

Vachel, the stars are out
dusk has fallen on the Colorado road
a car crawls slowly across the plain
in the dim light the radio blares its jazz
the heartbroken salesman lights another cigarette
In another city 27 years ago
I see your shadow on the wall
you're sitting in your suspenders on the bed
the shadow hand lifts up a Lysol bottle to your head
your shade falls over on the floor….

Comments
by sumit2661 on ‎11-11-2009 06:47 AM
I like using http://www.Hound.com for job search due to the fact that the site shows only jobs from employer career pages. There are numerous advantages to finding jobs from employer career pages but the main ones are (1) these are not advertised and receive fewer applications and (2) there is no middleman (recruiter) forwarding your resume to the employer and (3) there are more jobs on employer career pages than job boards. one of the best jobs sites I have ever seen. Ill give it 10 out of 10 if I have to give points to it. I and many of my known has got Jobs from http://www.Hound.com. You can search jobs with easy as the classification is very good in terms of cities and type of Job. It also gives you career advice and job search advice Latest jobs are given on this site as soon they are available in a particular area or before any other site posts that as It shows the jobs from direct Recruiters and no third party is involved in between for making money. Latest job appear first on this site and no expired jobs are there. Updating is done everyday. The number of jobs given is also guide big as compared to other sites. Jobs are included from most of the fortune 500 companies. When I was jobless and searching for job every second site only this site helped me to find a Job. Just go through it once and you will feel the difference. I seriously recommend all the When I was job seekers to visit http://www.Hound.com once.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.