Skid Row Wine

I could have done a lot worst than sit
In Skid Row drinkin wine

To know that nothing really 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 to be a poet

Coulda gone into business and ranted
And believed that God was concerned

Instead I squatted in lonesome alleys
And nobody saw me, just my bottle
And what they saw of it was empty

And I did it in cornfields & graveyards

To know that the dead don’t make noise
To know that the cornstalks talk (among
One another with raspy old arms)

Sitting in alleys diggin the neons
And watching cathedral custodians
Wring out their rags neath the church steps

Sitting and drinking wine
And in railyards being divine

To be a millionaire & yet prefer
Curlin up with a poorboy 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

Jack Kerouac

3 replies on “Skid Row Wine”

I love this poem. Its hits how the drinker really feels. The lost and lonely sole and the foolish poet. The imagery that is spelled out for us. It applauds drinking and curses it in the same gasp. Its a binary poem of opposites. Nothing matters but it all matters. Vain and dreaming and curling up. I love it all. Ranting and thinking god cared. Brilliant.

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