I am looking for some Allen Ginsberg Audio… for Earth Rites Radio. I hope you will join in on this celebration of 50 years of HOWL… maybe the most important poem of Americas’ passing through the 20th century.

I first read it when I was a teenager. I admit, I didn’t understand it all, but what I did, I loved. I find coming back to it over the years gives me great joy. Sometimes I wonder if Ginsberg was Blake reincarnated…. Sunflower Sutra and all that.

Well, City Lights is tracking and helping to promote readings of HOWL around the world this year. Anyone want to joint me this summer in a reading?

Pax,

Gwyllm

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The Links:

Howl Turns 50

London, 1965

HOPPY’S MEDIA ARCHIVES

The absolute bottom of the barrel…

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Howl

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 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

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

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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 the feat.

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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New Stanzas for Amazing Grace

I dreamed I dwelled in a homeless place

Where I was lost alone

Folk looked right through me into space

And passed with eyes of stone

O homeless hand on many a street

Accept this change from me

A friendly smile or word is sweet

As fearless charity

Woe workingman who hears the cry

And cannot spare a dime

Nor look into a homeless eye

Afraid to give the time

So rich or poor no gold to talk

A smile on your face

The homeless ones where you may walk

Receive amazing grace

I dreamed I dewelled in a homeless place

Where I was lost alone

Folk looked right through me into space

And passed with eyes of stone

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