I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
But I like Jack Kerouac even more. I love the experiences Kerouac opens up for me. I don't want to live Kerouac's life. He burned himself out in 47 short years. But I enjoy his art.
I didn't care for William S. Burroughs. I liked some of the other beat poets. Gary Snyder comes to mind. I didn't care for the drugs or the wild excesses, but I liked the openness to new experiences and the sense of wild freedom. Just like I liked the 1960s hippies but toned down and gentrified. Not the wild drug-fueled excesses and grim "back to the land" craziness. I liked the party-in-the-park hippies. I liked the beatniks spouting poetry in the coffee bars, not the beats living desperate drugged-out lives in dead end places. The problem is that a lot of "followers" take the message too seriously and dive in and destroy their lives. Most of art is ideas, it's in the air and to be enjoyed but not to be taken seriously to the point of trying to live a life by it.