Kerouac Scroll at Marquette University

Not Dead Sea Scrolls
but the On the Road scroll
outstretched under glass
in Marquette’s rare books room
near glass cases holding
original Tolkien manuscripts. 
A group marathon reading
of On the Road takes place
in the Joan of Arc Chapel,
in front of which Marquette students
gathered in ’67 to march to UWM,
where Allen Ginsberg’s first
Milwaukee reading was moved
after banned from Marquette campus
by the Jesuit administration. 
Marquette now accepts Kerouac
because, though Buddhist,
he was like Thomas Merton
a Buddhist Catholic, whereas
Allen Ginsberg, Gandalf
to the ‘60s flower children,
was a Jewish Buddhist
whose beatitudes
were deemed obscene. 
In ’71 Marquette did finally
permit Ginsberg to read
in its student union ballroom
and I wonder: did exorcists
go over the room afterwards
and when will there be a reading
of Howl in the Joan of Arc Chapel? 

—Jeff Poniewaz, Milwaukee, WI