Allen Ginsberg

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    Biographical information

  1. A Desolation
  2. A Supermarket In California
  3. A Western Ballad
  4. America
  5. An Asphodel
  6. An Eastern Ballad
  7. CIA Dope Calypso
  8. Cosmopolitan Greetings
  9. Crossing Nation
  10. Death & Fame
  11. Father Death Blues (Don't Grow Old, Part V)
  12. Feb. 29, 1958
  13. First Party At Ken Kesey's With Hell's Angels
  14. Five A.M.
  15. Footnote To Howl
  16. Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters
  17. Haiku
  18. Homework
  19. Howl
  20. Hum Bom!
  21. In Back Of The Real




    Biographical information

      Name: Irwin Allen Ginsberg
      Place and date of birth: Newark, New Jersey (United States); June 3, 1926
      Place and date of death: New York City (United States); April 5, 1997 (aged 70)

    Up

      A Desolation

        Now mind is clear
        as a cloudless sky.
        Time then to make a
        home in wilderness.

        What have I done but
        wander with my eyes
        in the trees? So I
        will build: wife,
        family, and seek
        for neighbors.

        Or I
        perish of lonesomeness
        or want of food or
        lightning or the bear
        (must tame the hart
        and wear the bear).

        And maybe make an image
        of my wandering, a little
        image—shrine by the
        roadside to signify
        to traveler that I live
        here in the wilderness
        awake and at home.

      Up

      A Supermarket In California

        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
        your enumerations!
        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,
        Garcнa Lorca, what were you doing down by the
        watermelons?

        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
        Angel?
        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
        tonight?
        (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
        cottage?
        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?

      Up

      A Western Ballad

        When I died, love, when I died
        my heart was broken in your care;
        I never suffered love so fair
        as now I suffer and abide
        when I died, love, when I died.

        When I died, love, when I died
        I wearied in an endless maze
        that men have walked for centuries,
        as endless as the gate was wide
        when I died, love, when I died.

        When I died, love, when I died
        there was a war in the upper air:
        all that happens, happens there;
        there was an angel by my side
        when I died, love, when I died.

      Up

      America

        America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
        America two dollars and twentyseven 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 good looks?
        America after all it is you and I who are perfect not
        the next world.
        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 murder.
        America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
        America I used to be a communist when I was a kid
        I'm not sorry.
        I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
        I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses
        in the closet.
        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 from Russia.

        I'm addressing you.
        Are you going to let your 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. Business-
        men are serious. Movie 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 of genitals an unpublishable
        private literature that goes 1400 miles an hour
        and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
        I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of
        underprivileged who live in my flowerpots
        under the light of five hundred suns.
        I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers
        is the next to go.
        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 as his automobiles more so they're
        all different sexes.
        America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500
        down on your old strophe
        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 Com-
        munist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a
        handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
        speeches were free everybody was angelic and
        sentimental about the workers it was all so sin-
        cere you have no idea what a good thing the
        party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand
        old man a real mensch Mother Bloor made me
        cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody
        must have been a spy.
        America you don't 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 Readers'
        Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia.
        Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta-
        tions.
        That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read.
        Him need big black niggers. 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 set.
        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 parts factories, I'm nearsighted and
        psychopathic anyway.
        America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

      Up

      An Asphodel

        O dear sweet rosy
        unattainable desire
        ...how sad, no way
        to change the mad
        cultivated asphodel, the
        visible reality...

        and skin's appalling
        petals--how inspired
        to be so Iying in the living
        room drunk naked
        and dreaming, in the absence
        of electricity...
        over and over eating the low root
        of the asphodel,
        gray fate...

        rolling in generation
        on the flowery couch
        as on a bank in Arden--
        my only rose tonite's the treat
        of my own nudity.

      Up

      An Eastern Ballad

        I speak of love that comes to mind:
        The moon is faithful, although blind;
        She moves in thought she cannot speak.
        Perfect care has made her bleak.

        I never dreamed the sea so deep,
        The earth so dark; so long my sleep,
        I have become another child.
        I wake to see the world go wild.

      Up

      CIA Dope Calypso

        In nineteen hundred forty-nine
        China was won by Mao Tse-tung
        Chiang Kai-shek's army ran away
        They were waiting there in Thailand yesterday

        Supported by the CIA
        Pushing junk down Thailand way

        First they stole from the Meo Tribes
        Up in the hills they started taking bribes
        Then they sent their soldiers up to Shan
        Collecting opium to send to The Man

        Pushing junk in Bangkok yesterday
        Supported by the CIA

        Brought their jam on mule trains down
        To Chiang Rai that's a railroad town
        Sold it next to the police chief brain
        He took it to town on the choochoo train

        Trafficking dope to Bangkok all day
        Supported by the CIA

        The policeman's name was Mr. Phao
        He peddled dope grand scale and how
        Chief of border customs paid
        By Central Intelligence's U.S. A.I.D.

        The whole operation, Newspapers say
        Supported by the CIA

        He got so sloppy & peddled so loose
        He busted himself & cooked his own goose
        Took the reward for an opium load
        Seizing his own haul which same he resold

        Big time pusher for a decade turned grey
        Working for the CIA

        Touby Lyfong he worked for the French
        A big fat man liked to dine & wench
        Prince of the Meos he grew black mud
        Till opium flowed through the land like a flood

        Communists came and chased the French away
        So Touby took a job with the CIA

        The whole operation fell in to chaos
        Till U.S. Intelligence came into Laos
        I'll tell you no lie I'm a true American
        Our big pusher there was Phoumi Nosovan

        All them Princes in a power play
        But Phoumi was the man for the CIA

        And his best friend General Vang Pao
        Ran the Meo army like a sacred cow
        Helicopter smugglers filled Long Cheng's bars
        In Xieng Quang province on the Plain of Jars

        It started in secret they were fighting yesterday
        Clandestine secret army of the CIA

        All through the Sixties the Dope flew free
        Thru Tan Son Nhut Saigon to Marshal Ky
        Air America followed through
        Transporting confiture for President Thieu

        All these Dealers were decades and yesterday
        The Indochinese mob of the U.S. CIA

        Operation Haylift Offisir Wm. Colby
        Saw Marshal Ky fly opium Mr. Mustard told me
        Indochina desk he was Chief of Dirty Tricks
        "Hitchhiking" with dope pushers was how he got his fix

        Subsidizing traffickers to drive the Reds away
        Till Colby was the head of the CIA

      Up

      Cosmopolitan Greetings

        To Struga Festival Golden Wreath Laureates
        & International Bards 1986
        Stand up against governments, against God.
        Stay irresponsible.
        Say only what we know & imagine.
        Absolutes are coercion.
        Change is absolute.
        Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions.
        Observe what's vivid.
        Notice what you notice.
        Catch yourself thinking.
        Vividness is self-selecting.
        If we don't show anyone, we're free to write anything.
        Remember the future.
        Advise only yourself.
        Don't drink yourself to death.
        Two molecules clanking against each other requires an observer to become
        scientific data.
        The measuring instrument determines the appearance of the phenomenal
        world after Einstein.
        The universe is subjective.
        Walt Whitman celebrated Person.
        We Are an observer, measuring instrument, eye, subject, Person.
        Universe is person.
        Inside skull vast as outside skull.
        Mind is outer space.
        "Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound."
        First thought, best thought.
        Mind is shapely, Art is shapely.
        Maximum information, minimum number of syllables.
        Syntax condensed, sound is solid.
        Intense fragments of spoken idiom, best.
        Consonants around vowels make sense.
        Savor vowels, appreciate consonants.
        Subject is known by what she sees.
        Others can measure their vision by what we see.
        Candor ends paranoia.

      Up

      Crossing Nation

        Under silver wing
        San Francisco's towers sprouting
        thru thin gas clouds,
        Tamalpais black-breasted above Pacific azure
        Berkeley hills pine-covered below--
        Dr Leary in his brown house scribing Independence
        Declaration
        typewriter at window
        silver panorama in natural eyeball--

        Sacramento valley rivercourse's Chinese
        dragonflames licking green flats north-hazed
        State Capitol metallic rubble, dry checkered fields
        to Sierras- past Reno, Pyramid Lake's
        blue Altar, pure water in Nevada sands'
        brown wasteland scratched by tires

        Jerry Rubin arrested! Beaten, jailed,
        coccyx broken--
        Leary out of action--"a public menace...
        persons of tender years...immature
        judgement...pyschiatric examination..."
        i.e. Shut up or Else Loonybin or Slam

        Leroi on bum gun rap, $7,000
        lawyer fees, years' negotiations--
        SPOCK GUILTY headlined temporary, Joan Baez'
        paramour husband Dave Harris to Gaol
        Dylan silent on politics, & safe--
        having a baby, a man--
        Cleaver shot at, jail'd, maddened, parole revoked,

        Vietnam War flesh-heap grows higher,
        blood splashing down the mountains of bodies
        on to Cholon's sidewalks--
        Blond boys in airplane seats fed technicolor
        Murderers advance w/ Death-chords
        Earplugs in, steak on plastic
        served--Eyes up to the Image--

        What do I have to lose if America falls?
        my body? my neck? my personality?

      Up

      Death & Fame

        When I die
        I don't care what happens to my body
        throw ashes in the air, scatter 'em in East River
        bury an urn in Elizabeth New Jersey, B'nai Israel Cemetery
        But l want a big funeral
        St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Mark's Church, the largest synagogue in
        Manhattan
        First, there's family, brother, nephews, spry aged Edith stepmother
        96, Aunt Honey from old Newark,
        Doctor Joel, cousin Mindy, brother Gene one eyed one ear'd, sister-
        in-law blonde Connie, five nephews, stepbrothers & sisters
        their grandchildren,
        companion Peter Orlovsky, caretakers Rosenthal & Hale, Bill Morgan--
        Next, teacher Trungpa Vajracharya's ghost mind, Gelek Rinpoche,
        there Sakyong Mipham, Dalai Lama alert, chance visiting
        America, Satchitananda Swami
        Shivananda, Dehorahava Baba, Karmapa XVI, Dudjom Rinpoche,
        Katagiri & Suzuki Roshi's phantoms
        Baker, Whalen, Daido Loorie, Qwong, Frail White-haired Kapleau
        Roshis, Lama Tarchen --
        Then, most important, lovers over half-century
        Dozens, a hundred, more, older fellows bald & rich
        young boys met naked recently in bed, crowds surprised to see each
        other, innumerable, intimate, exchanging memories
        "He taught me to meditate, now I'm an old veteran of the thousand
        day retreat --"
        "I played music on subway platforms, I'm straight but loved him he
        loved me"
        "I felt more love from him at 19 than ever from anyone"
        "We'd lie under covers gossip, read my poetry, hug & kiss belly to belly
        arms round each other"
        "I'd always get into his bed with underwear on & by morning my
        skivvies would be on the floor"
        "Japanese, always wanted take it up my bum with a master"
        "We'd talk all night about Kerouac & Cassady sit Buddhalike then
        sleep in his captain's bed."
        "He seemed to need so much affection, a shame not to make him happy"
        "I was lonely never in bed nude with anyone before, he was so gentle my
        stomach
        shuddered when he traced his finger along my abdomen nipple to hips-- "
        "All I did was lay back eyes closed, he'd bring me to come with mouth
        & fingers along my waist"
        "He gave great head"
        So there be gossip from loves of 1948, ghost of Neal Cassady commin-
        gling with flesh and youthful blood of 1997
        and surprise -- "You too? But I thought you were straight!"
        "I am but Ginsberg an exception, for some reason he pleased me."
        "I forgot whether I was straight gay queer or funny, was myself, tender
        and affectionate to be kissed on the top of my head,
        my forehead throat heart & solar plexus, mid-belly. on my prick,
        tickled with his tongue my behind"
        "I loved the way he'd recite 'But at my back allways hear/ time's winged
        chariot hurrying near,' heads together, eye to eye, on a
        pillow --"
        Among lovers one handsome youth straggling the rear
        "I studied his poetry class, 17 year-old kid, ran some errands to his
        walk-up flat,
        seduced me didn't want to, made me come, went home, never saw him
        again never wanted to... "
        "He couldn't get it up but loved me," "A clean old man." "He made
        sure I came first"
        This the crowd most surprised proud at ceremonial place of honor--
        Then poets & musicians -- college boys' grunge bands -- age-old rock
        star Beatles, faithful guitar accompanists, gay classical con-
        ductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trum-
        peters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger
        fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin auto-
        harp pennywhistles & kazoos
        Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India,
        Late fauve Tuscan painter-poets, Classic draftsman Massa-
        chusets surreal jackanapes with continental wives, poverty
        sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters from American
        provinces
        Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate biblio-
        philes, sex liberation troops nay armies, ladies of either sex
        "I met him dozens of times he never remembered my name I loved
        him anyway, true artist"
        "Nervous breakdown after menopause, his poetry humor saved me
        from suicide hospitals"
        "Charmant, genius with modest manners, washed sink, dishes my
        studio guest a week in Budapest"
        Thousands of readers, "Howl changed my life in Libertyville Illinois"
        "I saw him read Montclair State Teachers College decided be a poet-- "
        "He turned me on, I started with garage rock sang my songs in Kansas
        City"
        "Kaddish made me weep for myself & father alive in Nevada City"
        "Father Death comforted me when my sister died Boston l982"
        "I read what he said in a newsmagazine, blew my mind, realized
        others like me out there"
        Deaf & Dumb bards with hand signing quick brilliant gestures
        Then Journalists, editors's secretaries, agents, portraitists & photo-
        graphy aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborors, cultural
        historians come to witness the historic funeral
        Super-fans, poetasters, aging Beatnicks & Deadheads, autograph-
        hunters, distinguished paparazzi, intelligent gawkers
        Everyone knew they were part of 'History" except the deceased
        who never knew exactly what was happening even when I was alive.

      Up

      Father Death Blues (Don't Grow Old, Part V)

        Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
        Hey poor man, you're all alone
        Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going

        Father Death, Don't cry any more
        Mama's there, underneath the floor
        Brother Death, please mind the store

        Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
        Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
        O Sister Death how sweet your moans

        O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
        Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
        Pain is gone, tears take the rest

        Genius Death your art is done
        Lover Death your body's gone
        Father Death I'm coming home

        Guru Death your words are true
        Teacher Death I do thank you
        For inspiring me to sing this Blues

        Buddha Death, I wake with you
        Dharma Death, your mind is new
        Sangha Death, we'll work it through

        Suffering is what was born
        Ignorance made me forlorn
        Tearful truths I cannot scorn

        Father Breath once more farewell
        Birth you gave was no thing ill
        My heart is still, as time will tell.

      Up

      Feb. 29, 1958

        Last nite I dreamed of T.S. Eliot
        welcoming me to the land of dream
        Sofas couches fog in England
        Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows
        curtains on his windows, fog seeping in
        the chimney but a nice warm house
        and an incredibly sweet hooknosed
        Eliot he loved me, put me up,
        gave me a couch to sleep on,
        conversed kindly, took me serious
        asked my opinion on Mayakovsky
        I read him Corso Creeley Kerouac
        advised Burroughs Olson Huncke
        the bearded lady in the Zoo, the
        intelligent puma in Mexico City
        6 chorus boys from Zanzibar
        who chanted in wornout polygot
        Swahili, and the rippling rythyms
        of Ma Rainey and Vachel Lindsay.
        On the Isle of the Queen
        we had a long evening's conversation
        Then he tucked me in my long
        red underwear under a silken
        blanket by the fire on the sofa
        gave me English Hottie
        and went off sadly to his bed,
        Saying ah Ginsberg I am glad
        to have met a fine young man like you.
        At last, I woke ashamed of myself.
        Is he that good and kind? Am I that great?
        What's my motive dreaming his
        manna? What English Department
        would that impress? What failure
        to be perfect prophet's made up here?
        I dream of my kindness to T.S. Eliot
        wanting to be a historical poet
        and share in his finance of Imagery-
        overambitious dream of eccentric boy.
        God forbid my evil dreams come true.
        Last nite I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg.
        T.S. Eliot would've been ashamed of me.

      Up

      First Party At Ken Kesey's With Hell's Angels

        Cool black night thru redwoods
        cars parked outside in shade
        behind the gate, stars dim above
        the ravine, a fire burning by the side
        porch and a few tired souls hunched over
        in black leather jackets. In the huge
        wooden house, a yellow chandelier
        at 3 A.M. the blast of loudspeakers
        hi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles Beatles
        Jumping Joe Jackson and twenty youths
        dancing to the vibration thru the floor,
        a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlet
        tights, one muscular smooth skinned man
        sweating dancing for hours, beer cans
        bent littering the yard, a hanged man
        sculpture dangling from a high creek branch,
        children sleeping softly in their bedroom bunks.
        And 4 police cars parked outside the painted
        gate, red lights revolving in the leaves.

      Up

      Five A.M.

        Elan that lifts me above the clouds
        into pure space, timeless, yea eternal
        Breath transmuted into words
        Transmuted back to breath
        in one hundred two hundred years
        nearly Immortal, Sappho's 26 centuries
        of cadenced breathing -- beyond time, clocks, empires, bodies, cars,
        chariots, rocket ships skyscrapers, Nation empires
        brass walls, polished marble, Inca Artwork
        of the mind -- but where's it come from?
        Inspiration? The muses drawing breath for you? God?
        Nah, don't believe it, you'll get entangled in Heaven or Hell --
        Guilt power, that makes the heart beat wake all night
        flooding mind with space, echoing through future cities, Megalopolis or
        Cretan village, Zeus' birth cave Lassithi Plains -- Otsego County
        farmhouse, Kansas front porch?
        Buddha's a help, promises ordinary mind no nirvana --
        coffee, alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, marijuana, laughing gas?
        Nope, too heavy for this lightness lifts the brain into blue sky
        at May dawn when birds start singing on East 12th street --
        Where does it come from, where does it go forever?

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      Footnote To Howl

        Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
        Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
        The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
        The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand
        and asshole holy!
        Everything is holy! everybody's holy! everywhere is
        holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman's an
        angel!
        The bum's as holy as the seraphim! the madman is
        holy as you my soul are holy!
        The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is
        holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
        Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy
        Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cas-
        sady holy the unknown buggered and suffering
        beggars holy the hideous human angels!
        Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks
        of the grandfathers of Kansas!
        Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop
        apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana
        hipsters peace & junk & drums!
        Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy
        the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the
        mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
        Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the
        middle class! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebell-
        ion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
        Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria &
        Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow
        Holy Istanbul!
        Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the
        clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy
        the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
        Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the
        locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucina-
        tions holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the
        abyss!
        Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
        bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
        Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent
        kindness of the soul!

      Up

      Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters

        Pigeons shake their wings on the copper church roof
        out my window across the street, a bird perched on the cross
        surveys the city's blue-grey clouds. Larry Rivers
        'll come at 10 AM and take my picture. I'm taking
        your picture, pigeons. I'm writing you down, Dawn.
        I'm immortalizing your exhaust, Avenue A bus.
        O Thought! Now you'll have to think the same thing forever!

      Up

      Haiku

        Drinking my tea
        Without sugar-
        No difference.

        The sparrow shits
        upside down
        --ah! my brain & eggs

        Mayan head in a
        Pacific driftwood bole
        --Someday I'll live in N.Y.

        Looking over my shoulder
        my behind was covered
        with cherry blossoms.

        Winter Haiku
        I didn't know the names
        of the flowers--now
        my garden is gone.

        I slapped the mosquito
        and missed.
        What made me do that?

        Reading haiku
        I am unhappy,
        longing for the Nameless.

        A frog floating
        in the drugstore jar:
        summer rain on grey pavements.
        (after Shiki)

        On the porch
        in my shorts;
        auto lights in the rain.

        Another year
        has past-the world
        is no different.

        The first thing I looked for
        in my old garden was
        The Cherry Tree.

        My old desk:
        the first thing I looked for
        in my house.

        My early journal:
        the first thing I found
        in my old desk.

        My mother's ghost:
        the first thing I found
        in the living room.

        I quit shaving
        but the eyes that glanced at me
        remained in the mirror.

        The madman
        emerges from the movies:
        the street at lunchtime.

        Cities of boys
        are in their graves,
        and in this town...

        Lying on my side
        in the void:
        the breath in my nose.

        On the fifteenth floor
        the dog chews a bone-
        Screech of taxicabs.

        A hardon in New York,
        a boy
        in San Fransisco.

        The moon over the roof,
        worms in the garden.
        I rent this house.

      Up

      Homework

        Homage Kenneth Koch

        If I were doing my Laundry I'd wash my dirty Iran
        I'd throw in my United States, and pour on the Ivory Soap,
        scrub up Africa, put all the birds and elephants back in
        the jungle,
        I'd wash the Amazon river and clean the oily Carib & Gulf of Mexico,
        Rub that smog off the North Pole, wipe up all the pipelines in Alaska,
        Rub a dub dub for Rocky Flats and Los Alamos, Flush that sparkly
        Cesium out of Love Canal
        Rinse down the Acid Rain over the Parthenon & Sphinx, Drain the Sludge
        out of the Mediterranean basin & make it azure again,
        Put some blueing back into the sky over the Rhine, bleach the little
        Clouds so snow return white as snow,
        Cleanse the Hudson Thames & Neckar, Drain the Suds out of Lake Erie
        Then I'd throw big Asia in one giant Load & wash out the blood &
        Agent Orange,
        Dump the whole mess of Russia and China in the wringer, squeeze out
        the tattletail Gray of U.S. Central American police state,
        & put the planet in the drier & let it sit 20 minutes or an
        Aeon till it came out clean

      Up

      Howl

        For Carl Solomon.

        I

        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 machin-
        ery 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 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, 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 the pavement,
        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 broken hearts,
        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 ecstasy,
        who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla-
        homa on the impulse of winter midnight street
        light smalltown rain,
        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 alleys too,
        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-
        ment offices,
        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 of theology,
        who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
        incantations which in the yellow morning were
        stanzas of gibberish,
        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 out Eternity,
        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 jury,
        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
        moon,
        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 after death,
        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.

        II

        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 cities!
        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!

        III

        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 dreadful
        typewriter
        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 the
        abyss
        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.

      Up

      Hum Bom!

        I

        Whom bomb?
        We bomb them!
        Whom bomb?
        We bomb them!
        Whom bomb?
        We bomb them!
        Whom bomb?
        We bomb them!

        Whom bomb?
        You bomb you!
        Whom bomb?
        You bomb you!
        Whom bomb?
        You bomb you!
        Whom bomb?
        You bomb you!

        What do we do?
        Who do we bomb?
        What do we do?
        Who do we bomb?
        What do we do?
        Who do we bomb?
        What do we do?
        Who do we bomb?

        What do we do?
        You bomb! You bomb them!
        What do we do?
        You bomb! You bomb them!
        What do we do?
        We bomb! We bomb them!
        What do we do?
        We bomb! We bomb them!

        Whom bomb?
        We bomb you!
        Whom bomb?
        We bomb you!
        Whom bomb?
        You bomb you!
        Whom bomb?
        You bomb you!

        May 1971

        II

        Why bomb?
        We don't want to bomb!
        Why bomb?
        We don't want to bomb!
        Why bomb?
        You don't want to bomb!
        Why bomb?
        You don't want to bomb!

        Who said bomb?
        Who said we had to bomb?
        Who said bomb?
        Who said we had to bomb?
        Who said bomb?
        Who said you had to bomb?
        Who said bomb?
        Who said you had to bomb?

        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!
        We don't bomb!

        for Don Cherry and Elvin Jones
        New York, June 16, 1984

        III

        Armageddon did the job
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Armageddon did the job
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Armageddon does the job
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Armageddon does the job

        Armageddon for the mob
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Armageddon for the mob
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog

        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Gog Magog Gog Magog
        Gog & Magog Gog & Magog
        Gog Magog Gog Magog

        Gog Magog Gog Magog
        Gog Magog Gog Magog
        Gog Magog Gog Magog
        Gog Magog Gog Magog

        Ginsberg says Gog & Magog
        Armageddon did the job.

      Up

      In Back Of The Real

        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,
        flower nonetheless,
        with the form of the great yellow
        Rose in your brain!
        This is the flower of the World.

      Up