Ceremony at the 42nd Street Library
First go to the information desk
cross the hall to 320
talk to the tall black woman
in the red dress
fill out the application form
complete with personal reference
not a relative
show traceable ID
sign another form and get a card
go down the hall to 316 and
ring the buzzer.
When they let you in
show the card
sign in again and state your purpose
take a seat and adjust the light
while the attendant gets your package
sign a final form
hesitate a moment when the box arrives
s l o w l y
untie the red cotton ribbon
fold back the left flap then right
then top then bottom
there. . .
in the rectangle recess
framed in blue
take out the five 10-cent pocket notebooks
Kerouac’s own penciled hand
OLD ANGEL MIDNIGHT---complete
SCRIPTURES OF THE HOLY ETERNITY---complete
dream fragments play scenes
and other scribbles.
Copy a line you’ve never seen.
“The moon is a piece of tea”
hold the notebooks in your hand
let it all sink in.
Charles Rossiter—First published in Chronicles of Disorder