A Poem Inspired by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac’s name has been popping up in my life a lot lately, so today after I got home from another afternoon at my Grandma’s, I decided to check him out on Wikipedia and get the Cliffnotes version of his life and work. “American novelist and poet”, it says, and his poetry features “repetition and overall themes of the troubles or sense of loss experienced in life.” It then gave an example of one of his poems, which clearly expresses this human discord. Here’s part of a Kerouac poem as posted on Wikipedia:


“The story of man

Makes me sick

Inside, outside,

I don’t know why

Something so conditional

And all talk

Should hurt me so.”


Poetry in general makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like the pressure of having to be emotionally elevated by just a few short lines of prose, and then feeling dumb if I miss the point. It’s also brutally honest. I’m more comfortable writing longer pieces and giving away carefully shrouded truth in doses than exposing myself in a few short sentences. Although his bravery is admirable, my experience with this poem is such that I appreciated his suffering, but couldn’t take it seriously because it was too explicitly macabre.


So, I was hot off of reading Kerouac’s dramatic but poignant poem about what it’s like to be human, I hear a loud, ticking clock, and out the window I see snow feeling quietly and chaotically. I had a glint of inspiration and rather than ignore it to watch George Michael music videos on YouTube, I grabbed a pen and paper, and 5 minutes later had my tribute to Jack.


What I here

What I sea

A ticking clock

Snowfalls quietly


Anticipate the tocks

Eyes catch a flake

It takes a dip, it takes a twirl

I lose it to the window pain



I used “here” instead of “hear” and “sea” instead of “see” because I wanted the setting of the poem to feel vast and expansive, a nod to Kerouac’s tackling of the wide realm of human suffering. I used “Snowfalls” instead of “Snow falls” because hiding a verb in a noun is crazy, like us humans! The last two lines follow the life of a falling snowflake, up to the end when it hits the window and melts. I used “pain” instead of “pane” to make the death of the snowflake even more tragic. This was fun, thanks for reading!


Enjoy your weekend!



4 thoughts on “A Poem Inspired by Jack Kerouac”

  1. I love Jack Kerouac! He wrote one of my favorite quotes: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars….” (:

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