We present this work in honor of the poet’s 100th birthday.

03-12 Kerouac
Jack Kerouac
1922 – 1969

Wonder if my poem title will be acceptable.
(The Absence of Courage)


Courage is an interesting virtue.
The only difference between courage
and unrealistic hopefulness is success.
Courage to me means standing up against injustice,
or atleast finding the strength to do something
your character or the outside world would rather you didn’t do.
It’s that noble buck with big horns we admire and have the deepest
of respect for,
it’s that noble buck with big horns we like to shoot down and hang on our

Like the tobacco in a cigarette, the only way to draw it out
from the depths of your character is to embrace it and set it on fire.
But don’t take more than you can handle,
or you might find yourself coughing up the illogical notion,
the practicality of your subconscious triumphing.
Bite off just enough,
enough to sustain hope, but not enough to defeat the
cowardice in your soul to the point where you altogether snuff restraint
and self doubt.


I have seen courage in a number of places,
in the sun for it’s miraculous overpowering of darkness every morning,
in a woman who decides to have a child despite life threatening consequences.
I’ve seen it mainly in action movies,
where it exists without the natural predators of insecurity and sensibility
found in the real world.
I’ve seen it in the insurrection of children who decide to just say yes,
I’ve seen it in the cynical gaze of withered old addicts who are trying to
say no.

Courage, it’s a wonderful thing.
It’s both a blessing and a curse.
Embrace it and harness it,
but do it in moderation,
or it might get the better of your self-doubt and sensibility.

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