When I Die
Plant me out back in a wooden box.
Cover it with dirt and rocks.
On one stone write: He liked ducks.
That’s all. Mucho gusto. Mahalo. Good luck.
on a wire fence
You have been named
Of Ukiah, California.
That and $4.50
Will get you a mocha latté
At any café in town.
I saw the ghost of Jack Kerouac
At the San Francisco S.P. Depot
Walking up the track,
A lantern in his hand—
The universal brakeman on the universal freight,
That old conductor of the dharma train—
He’s come back, I thought,
It hasn’t all been told.
And it was down in New Orleans,
I saw him in Heaven in a Vision in a Dream.
Neal was with him, Allen was with him,
And Old Bill and Old Bull and Babe Ruth and Dizzy Dean.
They were standing, talking, drinking beer,
In the Far Lands, on an Island, west of here.
The moon was rising, wave after wave was breaking,
And their talk was music you would die to hear.
Daniel Barth was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of Ukiah Haiku: Journal of the Year (Goin’ Prose Press) and Coyote Haiku (Secret Goldfish Press and lives in Mendocino County, California. His poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in Beat Scene, Dharma Beat, Jazz Times, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Western American Literature, Whole Earth Review, Zeitgeist, Hitching: Tales from the Byways and Superhighways (Wakefield Press), and the much celebrated, highly sought, REFLECTIONS UPON the 50th ANNIVERSARY of JACK KEROUAC’S ON the ROAD, Heaven Books, 2007, edited by Ron Whitehead and Robert M. Zoschke.