by Sam Hamill, originally published in the Chicago Review, Autumn 2006
I write for one and only one purpose, to overcome the invincible ignorance of the traduced heart. […]! wish to speak to and for those who have had enough of the Social lie, the Economics of Mass Murder, the Sexual Hoax, and the Domestication of Conspicuous Consumption.
In 1959, I was hip. On the Road had put me on the road a couple of years earlier, when I was fourteen and caught a freight train bound for who-knows-where. It was leaving Utah, and that was good enough for me. I huddled in an empty cattle car and smoked Lucky Strikes and peeked between the wooden slats as the vast salt desert clanged by. Hours after dark, I got off in Reno, where I scraped most of the skin from one arm and knee and broke my nose by jumping too soon-assover-teakettle into the gravel and railroad ties. A couple of hours later I was in the back seat of a squad car bound for detention, where I sat for several days before being put on a Greyhound bus back to Salt Lake City, to be greeted by irate foster parents. I was cool.
I hot-wired cars, hopped trains, hitchhiked, and visited detention centers or jails in most of the surrounding states over the next year.