Have you ever romanticized the ancient "bums" of yesteryear? I have. I've placed myself in their shoes, feeling the soul, feeling the real blues.
In my mind.
Back in the day, an element of American society began to align themselves with a soulful, sad part of society, for it inspired art and was very real; not contrived or artificial - not CONSTRUCTED. It just was. The homeless, the bums, the broken, the lost -- these outcasts were embraced by artists and musicians and writers as a sort of inspiration.
Kerouac helped to usher in the modern era, spawning folk music and beatniks and rock and roll and punk movements, opening up society to a different way of thinking. The hippie movement, punk, grunge...all came from his willingness to lay it out there.
Here's an ode to escape. For some, wine may be hard to connect with; in this case I would suggest substitute the words "drinkin wine" for "smokin weed".
SKID ROW WINE
by Jack Kerouac
I coulda done a lot worse than sit
in Skid Row drinkin wine
To know that nothing matters after all
To know there's no real difference
between the rich and the poor
To know that eternity is neither drunk
nor sober, to know it young
and be a poet
Coulda gone into business and ranted
And believed that God was concerned
Instead I squatted in lonesome alleys
And no one saw me, just my bottle
and what they saw of it was empty
And I did it in the cornfields & graveyards
To know that the dead don't make noise
To know that the cornstalks talk (among
one another with raspy old arms)
Sittin in alleys diggin the neons
And watching cathedral custodians
Wring out their rags neath the church steps
Sittin and drinkin wine
And in railyards being devine
To be a millionaire & yet to prefer
Curling up with a poor boy of tokay
In a warehouse door, facing long sunsets
On railroad fields of grass
To know that the sleepers in the river
are dreaming vain dreams, to squat
in the night and know it well
To be dark solitary eye-nerve watcher
of the world's whirling diamond