American Trinity
(highway of the Void)

Saint Jack Kerouac was slumped in the backseat, hunched into a beaten leather jacket looking on the floor for his nickel Woolworth's notebook, between cracked-open inhalers and empty pints of Mad Dog 20/20, fishing in his pocket for the last cigarette. Neal was driving with one hand, the other stretched across the back of the passenger seat around the soft shoulders of some luscious imaginary schoolgirl to wisk off and make in the mountains of Denver-- the wind in the convertible ruffling Saint Jack's slicked back hair as they drove over the rooftops of Manhattan, speed limit be damned, under the stars, between the firmament and cold white dusty eternity, Neal riffing to imaginary bebop in his frenetic angelic head Saint Jack beatified beat at last cupping brakeman-greasy fingers around the last paper match, shoulders light, free of the ghostly weight of Gerard and Memere free on an endless ride what possible poems could be released once free of body, wife and mother, of ghosts silently dogging him on mystical triangle of America and back home.

Neal swings it effortlessly in a parking lot in the sky, better than he ever did on the lots in Denver, New York, San Francisco They've got a date with Allen, who knew they were coming for him and waits on the roof bearded, strip him down naked, grinning ear to ear They slide off his weathered poet suit down to the lanky, fresh-faced, awkward young visionary of labor organizers and communist garbanzo beans for a nickel shakes off the years, springing into the passenger seat, Neal squeezes his thigh with a free hand and the trinity sails off into the sky, into some Beat nirvana, the three holiest damn sinners of the American pantheon of unlikely angels we hated to see him go, off in a disappearing trail of stardust, Jack is raising the last swallow in the bottle of Christian Brothers port, toasting Desolation on this earth over his shoulder with one last blessing.

Alison Fensterstock