Allen Ginsberg is probably one
of the best known contemporary poets in recent history. He was
born in 1926 in Newark, NJ and recieved his B.A. from Columbia
University in 1948.
Like many other artists, Ginsberg
held a variety of odd jobs before becoming an established writer.
His employment history includes work on various cargo ships,
a spot welder, a dishwasher and he also worked as a night porter
in Denver. He has partcipated in numerous poetry readings, including
the famous Six Gallery event that occured in San Francisco.
In 1954, San Francisco painter
Robert LaVigne introduced his model and companion, Peter
Orlovsky to Ginsberg. Soon after this first meeting, Orlovsky and Ginsberg became lovers
and moved in together, defining their relationship as a marriage.
Despite periods of separation, this arrangement remained intact
until Ginsberg's death in April 1997.
Ginsberg was the recipient of
numerous honors and awards during his lifetime including: the
Woodbury Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, the National
Book Award for Poetry, NEA grants and a Lifetime Ahievement Award
from the Before Columbus Foundation.
In addition to the almost epic
poem Howl, Ginsberg has authored numerous books, too voluminous
to mention here. Many of his writings were interpreted as contrevertial
and even obscene. The reading of Howl resulted in the
arrest of Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
the owner of City Lights Books, on obscenity charges. The authorities
objected to Ginsberg's openess concerning his homosexuality as
well as the graphic sexual language. Many of his other writings
deal with subjects such as narcotics and the experiences on has
while under their influence.
However, many other prominent
writers, including Jack Keroauc, William Carlos Williams and Kenneth
Rexroth, realized Ginsbergs importance. Ginsberg was greatly
influenced by Keroauc's spontaneous
and carefree style and often worked in a "stream of consciousness"
manner until he completed a work. Ginsberg also once, influenced
by Williams, arranged some of his
poems "according to how you'd break it up if you actually
to talk it out" and the latter was greatly impressed by
Like many of the writers of his
period, Ginsberg had a desire to attain the mystical. The metaphysical
poets of the nineteenth century, including William Blake, were
perhaps his greatest influence. It was the desire to expand the
mind and reach the spiritual that inspired Ginsberg to experment
with substances such as marijuana and Benzedrine. He claimed
that many of his writings, including Howl were written
while he was under the influence of drugs.
Ginsberg's theme of politics
was once described by Rexroth as "an
almost perfect fulfillment of the long, Whitman, Populist, social
revolutionary tradition in American poetry". Many of his
writings contain a war motiff: subjects such as the Nazi gas
chambers and Viet Nam are the topic of many of his poems.
Ginsberg is perhaps one of the
most respected and revered Beat writer's. His work is definitely
worth a glance even if the writers of this period are of little
interest to certain readers. After his recent death, City Lights
had a celebration of his work which included the playing of some
of his taped readings.
Ginsberg's writing has been compared
to Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman and has been said to contain
"that old gnostic tradition".
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America I've given you all and
now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back it's sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes
on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.
I won't say the Lord's Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven't told you what you did to Uncle Max after
he came over
I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
I'd better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged
who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I'm a Catholic.
America how can I write a holy
litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual
automobiles more so they're all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing
was in 1935 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must
been a spy.
America you don're really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She
wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader's Digest. her
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television
America is this correct?
I'd better get right down to the job.
It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision
factories, I'm nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
In the Baggage Room at Greyhound ( Top of Page )
In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal
sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky
waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart
worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in
the night-time red downtown heaven
staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering
these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty
of our lives, irritable baggage clerks,
nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the
buses waving goodbye,
nor other millions of the poor rushing around from
city to city to see their loved ones,
nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop
by the Coke machine,
nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last
trip of her life,
nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar-
ters and smiling over the smashed baggage,
nor me looking around at the horrible dream,
nor mustached negro Operating Clerk named Spade,
dealing out with his marvelous long hand the
fate of thousands of express packages,
nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden
trunk to trunk,
nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown
smiling cowardly at the customers,
nor the grayish-green whale's stomach interior loft
where we keep the baggage in hideous racks,
hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and
forth waiting to be opened,
nor the baggage that's lost, nor damaged handles,
nameplates vanished, busted wires and broken
ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete
nor seabags emptied into the night in the final
Yet Spade reminded me of Angel, unloading a bus,
dressed in blue overalls black face official Angel's work-
pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with
looking up as he passed the yellow light bulb of the loft
and holding high on his arm an iron shepherd's crook.
It was the racks, I realized, sitting myself on top of
them now as is my wont at lunchtime to rest
my tired foot,
it was the racks, great wooden shelves and stanchions
posts and beams assembled floor to roof jumbled
-the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily
flowered and headed for Fort Bragg,
one Mexican green paper package in purple rope
adorned with names for Nogales,
hundreds of radiators all at once for Eureka,
crates of Hawaiian underwear,
rolls of posters scattered over the Peninsula, nuts to
one human eye for Napa,
an aluminum box of human blood for Stockton
and a little red package of teeth for Calistoga-
it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked
in electric light the night before I quit,
the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep
us together, a temporary shift in space,
God's only way of building the rickety structure of
to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our
luggage from place to place
looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity
where the heart was left and farewell tears
A swarm of baggage sitting by the counter as the trans-
continental bus pulls in.
The clock registering 12:15 A.M., May 9, 1956, the
second hand moving forward, red.
Getting ready to load my last bus.-Farewell, Walnut
Creek Richmond Vallejo Portland Pacific
Fleet-footed Quicksilver, God of transience.
One last package sits lone at midnight sticking up out
of the Coast rack high as the dusty fluorescent
The wage they pay us is too low to live on. Tragedy
reduced to numbers.
This for the poor shepherds. I am a communist.
Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much,
hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built
my pectoral muscles big as a vagina.
A Supermarket in California ( Top of Page )
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit-
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images,
I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam-
ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives
in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you,
Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old
grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator
and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed
the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of
cans following you, and followed in my imagination
by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in
our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every
frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors
close in an hour. Which way does your beard point
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets?
The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses,
we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-
teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit
poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank
and stood watching the boat disappear on the black
waters of Lethe?
In Back of the Real ( Top of Page )
railroad yard in San Jose
I wandered desolate
in front of a tank factory
and sat on a bench
near the switchman's shack.
A flower lay on the hay on
the asphalt highway
--the dread hay flower
I thought--It had a
brittle black stem and
corolla of yellowish dirty
spikes like Jesus' inchlong
crown, and a soiled
dry center cotton tuft
like a used shaving brush
that's been lying under
the garage for a year.
Yellow, yellow flower, and
flower of industry,
tough spiky ugly flower,
with the form of the great yellow
Rose in your brain!
This is the flower of the World.
Top of Page )
The weight of the world
Under the burden
under the burden
the weight we carry
Who can deny?
looks out of the heart
burning with purity--
for the burden of life
but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
must rest in the arms
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
the final wish
--cannot be bitter,
the weight is too heavy
for no return
in all the excellence
of its excess.
The warm bodies
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to the body
where I was born.
Sunflower Sutra ( Top of Page )
I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and
sat down under the huge shade of a Southern
Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the
box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron
pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts
of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, sur-
rounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun
sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that
stream, no hermit in those mounts, just our-
selves rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums
on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray
shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting
dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust--
--I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower,
memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem
and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes
Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black
treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the
poem of the riverbank, condoms pots, steel
knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck
and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the
and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset,
crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog
and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye--
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like
a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face,
soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sun-
rays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried
leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures
from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster
fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O
my soul, I loved you then!
The grime was no man's grime but death and human
all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad
skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black
mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuber-
ance of artificial worse-than-dirt--industrial--
modern--all that civilization spotting your
crazy golden crown--
and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless
eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the
home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar
bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards
of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely
tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what
more could I name, the smoked ashes of some
cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the
milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs
sphincters of dynamos--all these
entangled in your mummied roots--and you there
standing before me in the sunset, all your glory
in your form!
A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent
lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye
to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited
grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden
How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your
grime, while you cursed the heavens of the rail-
road and your flower soul?
Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a
flower? when did you look at your skin and
decide you were an impotent dirty old locomo-
tive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and
shade of a once powerful mad American locomo-
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a
And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me
So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck
it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack's soul
too, and anyone who'll listen,
--We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread
bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all
beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we're bles-
sed by our own seed golden hairy naked ac-
complishment-bodies growing into mad black
formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive
riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sit-
Top of Page )
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 tene- ment roofs
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, burn- ing their money
in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror
through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo
with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise
Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al- cohol and
cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and lightning
in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada &
Paterson, illuminating all the mo- tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns,
wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront
boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun
and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks
of Brook- lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery
to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of
wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked
and battered bleak of brain all drained of
brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out
and sat through the stale beer after noon in desolate
Fugazzi's, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar
to Bellevue to museum to the Brook- lyn Bridge,
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the
stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State
out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories
and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of
hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and
nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous
picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind- ings and migraines
of China under junk-with- drawal in
Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard
wondering where to go, and went, leaving no
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through
snow toward lonesome farms in grand- father night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telep- athy and
bop kabbalah because the cosmos in- stinctively
vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking vis- ionary
indian angels who were visionary indian angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla- homa on the
impulse of winter midnight street light smalltown
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz
or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard
to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and
so took ship to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing
but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and
ash of poetry scattered in fire place Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the F.B.I. in
beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their
dark skin passing out incom- prehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic
tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping
and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos
wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island
ferry also wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling
before the machinery of other skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars
for committing no crime but their own wild
cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off
the roof waving genitals and manu- scripts,
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists,
and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors,
caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose gardens and
the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering
their semen freely to whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob
behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond
& naked angel came to pierce them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one
eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed
shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that
does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual
golden threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a
sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can- dle and fell off
the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and
ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt
and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the
sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared
to sweeten the snatch of the sun rise, flashing buttocks under
barns and naked in the lake,
who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars,
N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and
Adonis of Denver-joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of
girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses
in familiar roadside lonely pet- ticoat upliftings &
especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams,
woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up
out of basements hung over with heartless Tokay and horrors of
Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy-
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank
docks waiting for a door in the East River to open
to a room full of steamheat and opium,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks
of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of
the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab
at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full
of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge,
and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under
the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations
which in the yellow morning were stanzas of
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas
dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for
Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their
heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccess- fully,
gave up and were forced to open antique stores where
they thought they were growing old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison
Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up
clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine
shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of
sinis- ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken
taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap- pened and
walked away unknown and forgotten into the
ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley ways & firetrucks, not
even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway
window, jumped in the filthy Pas- saic, leaped on
negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses
barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic
European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up
groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears
and the blast of colossal steam whistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each
other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or
Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had
a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to
Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver
& brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to
find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each
other's salvation and light and breasts, until the soul
illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible
criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in
their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to
tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific
to the black locomotive or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to
the daisychain or grave,
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hyp notism &
were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently
presented themselves on the granite steps of
the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide,
demanding in- stantaneous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol
electricity hydrotherapy psycho- therapy
occupational therapy pingpong & amnesia,
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong
table, resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and
tears and fingers, to the visible mad man doom of the
wards of the madtowns of the East,
Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid halls, bickering
with the echoes of the soul, rock- ing and rolling in
the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life
a night- mare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the
with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung
out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at
4. A.M. and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and
the last fur- nished room emptied down to the last
piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire
hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing
but a hopeful little bit of hallucination
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you're
really in the total animal soup of time
and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a
sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the
catalog the meter & the vibrat- ing plane,
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through
images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the
soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and
set the noun and dash of consciousness together
jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand
before you speechless and intel- ligent and shaking
with shame, rejected yet con- fessing out the soul to conform
to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head,
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down
here what might be left to say in time come
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn
shadow of the band and blew the suffering of
America's naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani
saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to
the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of
their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.
What sphinx of cement and aluminum
bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagi- nation?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unob tainable
dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys
sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental
Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless
jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose
buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch
the stun- ned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running
money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies!
Moloch whose breast is a canni- bal dynamo! Moloch whose ear
is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose
skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless
Jehovahs! Moloch whose fac- tories dream and croak in the fog!
Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul
is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the
specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!
Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy
in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and
manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness
without a body! Moloch who frightened me
out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in
Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton
treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral
nations! invincible mad houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pave- ments,
trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which
exists and is everywhere about us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down
the American river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload
of sensitive bullshit!
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down
the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! De- spairs! Ten years'
animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation!
down on the rocks of Time!
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes!
the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the
roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river!
into the street!
Carl Solomon! I'm with you in
Rockland where you're madder than I am
I'm with you in Rockland where you must feel very strange
I'm with you in Rockland where you imitate the shade of my mother
I'm with you in Rockland where you've murdered your twelve secretaries
I'm with you in Rockland where you laugh at this invisible humor
I'm with you in Rockland where we are great writers on the same
I'm with you in Rockland where your condition has become serious
and is reported on the radio
I'm with you in Rockland where the faculties of the skull no
longer admit the worms of the senses
I'm with you in Rockland where you drink the tea of the breasts
of the spinsters of Utica
I'm with you in Rockland where you pun on the bodies of your
nurses the harpies of the Bronx
I'm with you in Rockland where you scream in a straightjacket
that you're losing the game of the actual pingpong of
I'm with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano
the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die
ungodly in an armed madhouse
I'm with you in Rockland where fifty more shocks will never return
your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a
cross in the void
I'm with you in Rockland where you accuse your doctors of insanity
and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against
the fascist national Golgotha
I'm with you in Rockland where you will split the heavens of
Long Island and resurrect your living human Jesus from
the superhuman tomb
I'm with you in Rockland where there are twenty-five-thousand
mad com- rades all together singing the final stanzas
of the Internationale
I'm with you in Rockland where we hug and kiss the United States
under our bedsheets the United States that coughs
all night and won't let us sleep
I'm with you in Rockland where we wake up electrified out of
the coma by our own souls' airplanes roaring over the
roof they've come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates
itself imaginary walls col- lapse O skinny legions run
outside O starry spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here
O victory forget your underwear we're free
I'm with you in Rockland in my dreams you walk dripping from
a sea- journey on the highway across America in tears
to the door of my cottage in the Western night