beat... or not

by Glenn Currier

I am not Kerouac

but I am

always on the road

never comfortable in one place

pissed about nursing homes

who turn age into money

and use up the caring,

their minimum wages burning holes in their pockets.


I am not Ginsberg

but I am

standing at Elm and Lamar

with Black people hawking

the quick version because the paper thinks young people

can’t sit long enough to read the full edition,

watching as beat students and janitors

wait for the light

thinking about the sick child

and unpaid electric bill

room made cold by gaps

and no insulation

uninsulted from the D.A.

who sent the summons for bounced check.


I am not Burroughs

but I am

full of victimhood and insane

with misswired mind

and ravenous appetites

that will never find THE ultimate fix

or even be satisfied with today’s.


What I love about the Beats

is the way they are all over

in every corner

breathing secondary or primary smoke

sipping not-overpriced coffee

never comfortable with conventions

even Green Party’s

or drinking parties

writing in streams of anger

not on a sentimental journey,

beat by multinationals

conservative talk shows spewing lies

fundamentalists spitting hate

networks splitting souls into demographics.


I am not beat

but I am


for production quotas

timelines or long lines

a husband’s rules

the good employee role

too-tight pants

peopled who are right

wars that wage for oil

programs, stages, and fixed wages.


I am not fit…

too much sugar not enough lettuce

too many beers not enough water

too many fries instead of steamed

too many movies

too few lingers with my lover

too little time with present

too much with past.


Author's Note: This is my first conscious effort at New Beat Movement poetry, still reading Kerouac and Ginsberg and the others, swimming in their freedom, hoping I don't drown in their darkness.

Posted on 12/15/2003
Copyright © 2020 Glenn Currier

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Maureen Glaude on 12/15/03 at 05:00 PM

wow. I'd love to take this our Sasquatch series to read as a poem of someone else's, yours truly, one day. We talk there about the Beat poets sometimes, etc. and my director there and I discussed them in depth recently. My son left his Kerous book here and I enjoy it immensely. Did you know he was partly Canadian? fine messages here

Posted by Michele Schottelkorb on 12/17/03 at 03:24 PM

this was incredible... simply incredible... and your author's note lent and edge too :)

Posted by Ashley Beaudoin on 12/18/03 at 03:26 AM

Simply a wonderful piece...what more can I say that the others above have not already....

Posted by Charles E Minshall on 12/18/03 at 05:37 AM

Hey man: Cool poem....Charlie

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 12/19/03 at 05:32 PM

Essence and personality are two different aspects. Normally, the essence is at loggerhead with the personality. Since one is what you are programmed with at birth and the other is acquired in the course of your growing. Sometimes we are fit for a thing by essence and unfit owing to the personality. Sometimes its the other way round. But mostly its the essence which has the upper hand. Essence in scientific terms can be termed as genetics.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 12/19/03 at 09:25 PM

you beat all the right drums Glenn and it's raining in my heart.

Posted by Max Bouillet on 12/19/03 at 11:31 PM

"..and the greatest minds of my generation..." This verse takes the energy from the beats and applies them to todays situation and context. Great read.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 01/06/04 at 05:19 PM

Lively, thought provoking piece Glenn. How does that saying go? If one waits long enough, what was popular several decades ago becomes popular again. I think you've definitely got something here.

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