A drunken night in my house with a
boy, San Francisco: I lay asleep.
I went back to Mexico City
and saw Joan Burroughs leaning
forward in a garden chair, arms
on her knees. She studied me with
clear eyes and downcast smile, her
face restored to a fine beauty
tequila and salt had made strange
before the bullet in her brow.
We talked of life since then.
Well, what’s Burroughs doing now?
Bill on Earth, he’s in North Africa.
Oh, and Kerouac still junps
with the same beat genius as before,
notebooks filled with Buddha.
I hope he makes it, she laughed.
Is Huncke still in the can? No,
last time I saw him on Times Square.
And how is Kenney? Married, drunk
ad golden in the East. You? New
loves in the West–
Then I knew
she was a dream: and questioned her
–Joan, what kind of knowledge have
the dead? can you still love
your mortal acquaintances?
What do you remember of us?
She faded in front of me–The next instant
I saw her rain-stained tombstone
rear an illegible epitaph
under the gnarled branch of a small
tree in the wild grass
of an unvisited garden in Mexico.