I Have to Pull Up My Stakes and Roll, Man

Photo of Jack Kerouac/Alan Ginsberg ©1953

Came across this from Kerouac today and loved it. It’s from a piece he wrote called “I Have to Pull Up My Stakes and Roll, Man” which is from a longer version: “Farewell Song, Sweet from My Trees,” August 1941.

The passage below is the narrator’s answer to the Merrimack River’s question, “Hey, who the hell are you?” as he prepares to leave his neighborhood of many years:

“I am of the American temperament, the American temper, the American tempo, river. And I tell you I am not Socrates wearing a robe, nor Shakespeare in breeches, but I am a poet in trousers, hat, shirt, coat, shoes, socks and my hair is combed, parted on the left side, I can jive a little bit, I play football and baseball, I go out with dames and I love America. That’s who I am.” ~Jack Kerouac

*Excerpt from: Atop an Underwood: Jack Kerouac {Early Stories & Other Writings}, by Paul Marion ©1999

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