Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jack and Tyke

Jack Kerouac is one of my all-time favorite writers and was a major cat lover. I was recently reading one of his books, Big Sur, and the paragraph describing his learning about his beloved cat Tyke's death moved me to tears. I know I usually write humor on this blog, but I want to share this little snippet of Jack with you today. I copied the text exactly as it appears in the book -- Jack wasn't known for a grammatically proper writing style, but I think it's just perfect.

"The next sign is in Frisco itself where after a night of perfect sleep in an old skid row hotel room I go to see Monsanto at his City Lights bookstore and he's smiling and glad to see me, says 'We were coming out to see you next weekend you should have waited,' but there something else in his expression -- When we're alone he says, 'Your mother wrote and said your cat is dead.'

Ordinarily the death of a cat means little to most men, a lot to fewer men, but to me, and that cat, it was exactly and no lie and sincerely like the death of my little brother -- I loved Tyke with all my heart, he was my baby who as a kitten just slept in the palm of my hand and with his little head hanging down, or just purring for hours, just as long as I held him that way, walking or sitting -- He was like a floppy fur wrap around my wrist, I just twist him around my wrist or drape him and he just purred and purred and even when he got big I still held him that way, I could even hold that big cat in both hands with my arms outstretched right over my head and he'd just purr, he had complete confidence in me -- and when I'd left New York to come to my retreat in the woods I'd carefully kissed him and instructed him to wait for me 'Attends pour mue kitigingoo' -- But my mother said in the letter he had died the NIGHT AFTER I LEFT."

Gets me every time...


  1. I did not know that about Jack Keroac. What a beautiful piece.

  2. Thank you, Ingrid :) He was really a sweet, gentle soul.

  3. He died the night after Jack left. His soul went in search of Jack, and left his body behind.


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