Anubis walked with a limp–Jan Kerouac
We wanted her to be like a figure in a painting by Botticelli [or a China doll]
instead, we got Jackson Pollock [in all his glory].
Gerry gave me her address before I landed in L.A.
I looked for her apartment in Hollywood.
rang the bell and as we talked
spread my writings across her living room floor
The Dodgers won their game in Chavez Ravine that day
it was still sunny
when we went to a Moroccan restaurant on Sunset
overlooking the hotel where John Belushi died
It felt dizzy and not at all glamorous
[She was] like St. Lucy forced into prostitution
And I some unnamed Sicilian jackal
Peddling saline drachmas in a salt-encrusted temple
Of timeless interference
when she died, my vision was restored.
Janet Michelle “Jan” Kerouac (February 16, 1952 – June 5, 1996) was an American writer and the only child of beat generation author Jack Kerouac and Joan Haverty Kerouac.
Early life and career
Kerouac was born in Albany, New York. Her mother left her father while pregnant, and Jack refused to acknowledge the baby as his daughter. A blood test when Jan was nine years old proved his paternity and he was ordered to pay $52 a week for her upbringing. Jan met her father only twice, at the blood test in 1961 and again in 1967, when she visited him at his mother’s home in Florida, before traveling to Mexico with her first husband, John Lamb Lash. For the next few decades, she traveled across the country with a fearless curiosity that echoed that of her father and Neal Cassady.
Jack Kerouac died in 1969 and Jan began a long legal process through the 1970s and 1980s that would eventually give her rights to one-half of the literary revenue from his books sold domestically. Her friendship with Carolyn Cassady bolstered her drive to achieve this; Carolyn once remembering her fondly as a “poor little lost waif.”[this quote needs a citation] Encouraged by Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, she entered into a lawsuit in the 1990s that proposed the will of Jack’s mother, Gabrielle Kerouac was a forgery, in the hope winning could expand her legal rights to her father’s works and physical property. Eventually a court ruled that the will was indeed a forgery, although in practical terms this ruling changed nothing concerning control of the Kerouac estate
Jan spent her younger years living with her mother, twin sisters and brother on New York City’s Lower East Side. Shortly before the Beatles arrived in the US, she co-formed a girl group, The Whippets, with her friend Bibbe Hansen. Kerouac married and divorced twice. She delivered a stillborn child, Natasha, in 1968. Through the 1970s, she traveled extensively, always eventually returning to the homes of her mother and brother in Washington State. She was a baker and painted abstract watercolors.
On June 5, 1996, Kerouac died in Albuquerque, New Mexico a day after her spleen was removed. She had suffered kidney failure five years earlier and was on dialysis. She was survived by twin half-sisters, Katharine and Sharon, and one half-brother, David Stuart.