Terebess Asia Online (TAO)


Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
Selected Poems

221 Syllables at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center
An Asphodel
Comospolitan Greetings
Complaint of the Skeleton to Time
Death & Fame
An Eastern Ballad
First Party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels
Footnote to Howl
Haiku (Never Published)
Hospital Window
Hum Bom!
In Back of the Real
In the Baggage Room at Greyhound
"Is About"
Kraj Majales
Mostly Sitting Haiku (Text in full)
Nagasaki Days
On Neal's Ashes
Please Master
Rock Song
Sunflower Sutra
A Supermarket in California
Terms in Which I Think of Reality
This Form of Life Needs Sex
Transcription of Organ Music
Under the World There's a Lot of Ass, a Lot of Cunt
We Rise on Sun Beams and Fall in the Night
Who Runs America?
Wild Orphan

Allen Ginsberg Death Notes by Andrew Schelling
The Prajna Paramita Sutra as chanted by Allen Ginsberg

A Chronology of the Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg
Scrap Leaves (Text in full)
Poetry: 1947-1997

The Houseboat Summit: February, 1967, Sausalito, Calif. Featuring Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, Alan Watts and Allen Ginsberg



- For Carl Solomon 
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 
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, 
a 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 
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 
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked 
   and trembling before the machinery of other 
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- 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 & 
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 
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 
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 

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
- San Francisco 1955-56 



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 
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 
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! 
   bodies! suffering! magnanimity! 
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent 
   kindness of the soul!
- Berkeley, 1955
Sunflower Sutra

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look for 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, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.

The only 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 ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over 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 past--

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, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb,

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 locomotives,

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 protuberance 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 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 monthly breeze!

How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of your railroad 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 locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?

You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!

And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!

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 golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-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 sitdown vision.


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, 
   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? 

- Berkeley, 1955 


  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 
   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 
   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 
   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 
   Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers' 
             Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. 
             Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta- 
   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. 

- Berkeley, January 17, 1956 

Transcription of Organ Music

The flower in the glass peanut bottle formerly in the
kitchen crooked to take a place in the light,
the closet door opened, because I used it before, it
kindly stayed open waiting for me, its owner.

I began to feel my misery in pallet on floor, listening
to music, my misery, that's why I want to sing.
The room closed down on me, I expected the presence
of the Creator, I saw my gray painted walls and
ceiling, they contained my room, they contained
as the sky contained my garden,
I opened my door

The rambler vine climbed up the cottage post,
the leaves in the night still where the day had placed
them, the animal heads of the flowers where they had
to think at the sun

Can I bring back the words? Will thought of
transcription haze my mental open eye?
The kindly search for growth, the gracious de-
sire to exist of the flowers, my near ecstasy at existing
among them
The privilege to witness my existence-you too
must seek the sun...

My books piled up before me for my use
waiting in space where I placed them, they
haven't disappeared, time's left its remnants and qual-
ities for me to use-my words piled up, my texts, my manuscripts,
my loves.
I had a moment of clarity, saw the feeling in
the heart of things, walked out to the garden crying.
Saw the red blossoms in the night light, sun's
gone, they had all grown, in a moment, and were wait-
ing stopped in time for the day sun to come and give
Flowers which as in a dream at sunset I watered
faithfully not knowing how much I loved them.
I am so lonely in my glory-except they too out
there-I looked up-those red bush blossoms beckon-
ing and peering in the window waiting in the blind love,
their leaves too have hope and are upturned top flat
to the sky to receive-all creation open to receive-the
flat earth itself.

The music descends, as does the tall bending
stalk of the heavy blssom, because it has to, to stay
alive, to continue to the last drop of joy.
The world knows the love that's in its breast as
in the flower, the suffering lonely world.
The Father is merciful.

The light socket is crudely attached to the ceil-
ing, after the house was built, to receive a plug which
sticks in it alright, and serves my phonograph now...

The closet door is open for me, where I left it,
since I left it open, it has graciously stayed open.
The kitchen has no door, the hole there will
admit me should I wish to enter the kitchen.
I remember when I first got laid, H.P. gra-
ciously took my cherry, I sat on the docks of Prov-
incetown, age 23, joyful, elevated in hope with the
Father, the door to the womb wasopen to admit me
if I wished to enter.

There are unused electricity plugs all over my
house if I ever needed them.
The kitchen window is open, to admit air...
The telephone-sad to relate-sits on the
floor-I haven't had the money to get it connected-

I want people to bow when they see me and say
he is gifted with poetry, he has seen the presence of
the Creator
And the Creator gave me a shot of his presence
to gratify my wish, so as not to cheat me of my yearning
for him.



In the Baggage Room at Greyhound


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 & 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-
man cap,
pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with
black baggage,
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
with baggage,
-the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily
flowered & 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.

May 9, 1956



Under the World There's a Lot of Ass, a Lot of Cunt

a lot of mouths and cocks,
under the world there's a lot of come, and a lot of saliva dripping into brooks,
There's a lot of Shit under the world, flowing beneath cities into rivers,
a lot of urine floating under the world,
a lot of snot in the world's industrial nostrils, sweat under world's iron arm, blood
gushing out of the world's breast,
endless lakes of tears, seas of sick vomit rushing between the hemispheres
floating towards Sargasso, old oily rags and brake fluids, human gasoline--
Under the world there's pain, fractured thighs, napalm burning in black hair, phosphorus eating elbows to bone
insectiside contaminating oceantide, plastic dolls floating across Atlantic,
Toy soldiers crowding the Pacific, B-52 bombers choking jungle air with vaportrails and brilliant flares
Robot drones careening over rice terraces dropping cluster grenades, plastic pellets spray into flesh, dragontooth mines & jellied fires fall on straw roofs and water buffalos,
perforating village huts with barbed shrapnel, trenchpits filled with fuel-gas-poisen'd explosive powders--
Under the world there's broken skulls, crushed feet, cut eyeballs, severed fingers, slashed jaws,
Dysentry, homeless millions, tortured hearts, empty souls.

April 1973



Who Runs America?

Oil brown smog over Denver
Oil red dung colored smoke
level to level across the horizon
blue tainted sky above
Oil car smog gasoline
hazing red Denver's day
December bare trees
sticking up from housetop streets
Plane lands rumbling, planes rise over
radar wheels, black smoke
drifts from tailfins

Oil millions of cars speeding the cracked plains
Oil from Texas, Bahrein, Venezuela Mexico
Oil that turns General Motors
revs up Ford
lights up General Electric, oil that crackles
thru International Business Machine computers,
charges dynamos for ITT
sparks Western Electric
runs thru Amer Telephone & Telegraph wires
Oil that flows thru Exxon New Jersey hoses,
rings in Mobil gas tank cranks, rumbles
Chrysler engines
shoots thru Texaco pipelines
blackens ocean from broken Gulf tankers
spills onto Santa Barbara beaches from
Standard of California derricks offshore.

3 Dec 1974



Hospital Window

At gauzy dusk, thin haze like cigarette smoke
ribbons past Chrysler Building's silver fins
tapering delicately needletopped, Empire State's
taller antenna filmed milky lit amid blocks
black and white apartmenting veil'd sky over Manhattan,
offices new built dark glassed in blueish heaven--The East
50's & 60's covered with castles & watertowers, seven storied
tar-topped house-banks over York Avenue, late may-green trees
surrounding Rockefellers' blue domed medical arbor--
Geodesic science at the waters edge--Cars running up
East River Drive, & parked at N.Y. Hospital's oval door
where perfect tulips flower the health of a thousand sick souls
trembling inside hospital rooms. Triboro bridge steel-spiked
penthouse orange roofs, sunset tinges the river and in a few
Bronx windows, some magnesium vapor brilliances're
spotted five floors above E 59th St under grey painted bridge
trestles. Way downstream along the river, as Monet saw Thames
100 years ago, Con Edison smokestacks 14th street,
& Brooklyn Bridge's skeined dim in modern mists--
Pipes sticking up to sky nine smokestacks huge visible--
U.N. Building hangs under an orange crane, & red lights on
vertical avenues below the trees turn green at the nod
of a skull with a mild nerve ache. Dim dharma, I return
to this spectacle after weeks of poisoned lassitude, my thighs
belly chest & arms covered with poxied welts,
head pains fading back of the neck, right eyebrow cheek
mouth paralyzed--from taking the wrong medicine, sweated
too much in the forehead helpless, covered my rage from
gorge to prostate with grinding jaw and tightening anus
not released the weeping scream of horror at robot Mayaguez
World self ton billions metal grief unloaded
Pnom Penh to Nakon Thanom, Santiago & Tehran.
Fresh warm breeze in the window, day's release
>from pain, cars float downside the bridge trestle
and uncounted building-wall windows multiplied a mile
deep into ash-delicate sky beguile
my empty mind. A seagull passes alone wings
spread silent over roofs.

May 20, 1975 Mayaguez Crisis



Hum Bom!


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


For Don Cherry

Whydja bomb?
We didn't wanna bomb!
Whydja bomb?
We didn't wanna bomb!
Whydja bomb?
You didn't wanna bomb!
Whydja bomb?
You didn't wanna bomb!

Who said bomb?
Who said we hadda bomb?
Who said bomb?
Who said we hadda bomb?
Who said bomb?
Who said you hadda bomb?
Who said bomb?
Who said you hadda bomb?

Who wantsa bomb?
We don't wanna bomb!
Who wantsa bomb?
We don't wanna bomb!
Who wantsa bomb?
We don't wanna bomb!
We don't wanna
we don't wanna
we don't wanna bomb!

Who wanteda bomb?
Somebody musta wanteda bomb!
Who wanteda bomb?
Somebody musta wanteda bomb!
Who wanteda bomb?
Somebody musta wanteda bomb!
Who wanteda bomb?
Somebody musta wanteda bomb!

They wanteda bomb!
They neededa bomb!
They wanteda bomb!
They neededa bomb!
They wanteda bomb!
They neededa bomb!
They wanteda bomb!
They neededa bomb!

They thought they hadda bomb!
They thought they hadda bomb!
They thought they hadda bomb!
They thought they hadda bomb!

Saddam said he hadda bomb!
Bush said he better bomb!
Saddam said he hadda bomb!
Bush said he better bomb!
Saddam said he hadda bomb!
Bush said he better bomb!
Saddam said he hadda bomb!
Bush said he better bomb!

Whatdid he say he better bomb for?
Whatdid he say he better bomb for?
Whatdid he say he better bomb for?
Whatdid he say he better bomb for?

Hadda get ridda Saddam with a bomb!
Hadda get ridda Saddam with a bomb!
Hadda get ridda Saddam with a bomb!
Hadda get ridda Saddam with a bomb!

Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!
Saddam's still there building a bomb!



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.

February - June 1991



I hope my good old asshole holds out
60 years it's been mostly OK
Tho in Bolivia a fissure operation
survived the altiplano hospital--
a little blood, no polyps, occasionally
a small hemorrhoid
active, eager, receptive to phallus
coke bottle, candle, carrot
banana & fingers--
Now AIDS makes it shy, but still
eager to serve--
out with the dumps, in with the condom'd
orgasmic friend--
still rubbery muscular,
unashamed wide open for joy
But another 20 years who knows,
old folks got troubles everywhere--
necks, prostates, stomachs, joints--
Hope the old hole stays young
till death, relax

March 15, 1986, 1:00 PM



"Is About"

NOTE: This poem was published in the October 21/28, 1996 "election" double issue of THE NEW YORKER magazine. Everything published in this issue - reviews, cartoons, etc. - pertains in some way to American electoral politics, election rhetoric, etc. Ginsberg's poem, "Is About," is no exception.

Dylan is about the Individual against the whole creation
Beethoven is about one man's fist in the lightning clouds
The Pope is about abortion & the spirits of the dead...
Television is about people sitting in their living room looking at their things
America is about being a big Country full of Cowboys Indians Jews Negroes & Americans
Orientals Chicanos Factories skyscrapers Niagara Falls Steel Mills radios homeless Conservatives, don't forget
Russia is about Czars Stalin Poetry Secret Police Communism barefoot in the snow
But that's not really Russia it's a concept
A concept is about how to look at the earth from the moon without ever getting there. The moon is about love & Werewolves, also Poe
Poe is about looking at the moon from the sun
or else the graveyard
Everything is about something if you're a thin movie producer chain-smoking muggles
The world is about overpopulation, Imperial invasions, Biocide Genocide, Fratricidal Wars, Starvation, Holocaust, mass injury & murder, high technology
Super science, atom Nuclear Neutron Hydrogen detritus, Radiation Compassion Buddha, Alchemy
Communication is about monopoly telivision radio movie newspaper spin on Earth, i.e. planetary censorship.
Universe is about Universe.
Allen Ginsberg is about confused mind writing down newspaper headlines from Mars--
The audience is about salvation, the listeners are aBOUT SEX, Spiritual gymnastics, nostalgia for the Steam Engine & Pony Express
Hitler Stalin Roosevelt & Churchill are about arithmetic & Quadrilateral equations, above all chemistry physics & chaos theory--
Who cares what it's all about?
I do! Edgar Allen Poe cares! Shelly cares! Beethoven & Dylan care.
Do you care? What are you about
or are you a human being with 10 fingers and two eyes?




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

First, there's family, brother, nephews, spry aged Edith stepmother 96,

Honey from old Newark,

Doctor Joel, cousin Mindy, brother Gene one eyed one ear'd,

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

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

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

"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

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 commingling
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

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"

"l 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 conductors, unknown high

music composers, funky trumpeters, bowed bass & french horn black

geniuses, folksinger fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin

autoharp pennywhistles & kazoos

Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India,
Late fauve

Tuscan painter-poets, Classicdraftsman Massachusets surreal jackanapes

with continental wives, poverty sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters
from American provinces

Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate
bibliophiles, 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

"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 &

aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborors, cultural historians come

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

February 22, 1997




The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction
the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.
Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
a miracle,
in imagination
till born
in human--
looks out of the heart
burning with purity--
for the burden of life
is love,
but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.
No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love--
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
--cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:
the weight is too heavy
--must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.
The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--
yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.



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 lying 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.

-Fall, 1953



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.

Consonantss 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.



Complaint of the Skeleton to Time

Take my love, it is not true,
So let it tempt no body new;
Take my lady, she will sigh
For my bed where'er I lie;
Take them, said the skeleton,
   But leave my bones alone.
Take my raiment, now grown cold,
To give to some poor poet old;
Take the skin that hoods this truth
If his age would wear my youth;
Take them, said the skeleton,
   But leave my bones alone.
Take the thoughts that like the wind
Blow my body out of mind;
Take this heart to go with that
And pass it on from rat to rat;
Take them, said the skeleton,
   But leave my bones alone.
Take the art which I bemoan
In a poem's crazy tone;
Grind me down, though I may groan,
To the starkest stick and stone;
Take them, said the skeleton,
   But leave my bones alone.

- Early 1949



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 a great yellow
Rose in your brain!
This is the flower of the World.

-San Jose, 1954



Kaddish (1957 -1959)

This is only the first part of Kaddish. Parts II - V
(Narrative, Hymmnn, Lament, Litany and Fugue)

- for Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956


Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk    
   the sunny pavement of Greenwhich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, 
   talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles 
   should blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm - and your memory in my head three years after -
   And read Adonais' last triumphant stanzas aloud - wept, 
   realizing how we suffer - 
   And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember 
   prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of 
   - and my own imagination of a withered leaf - at dawn - 
Dreaming back thru life, Your time - and mine accelerating toward 
the final moment - the flower burning in the Day - and what comes 
   looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
   a flash away, and a great dream of Me or China, or you and a
   Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed - 
like a poem in the dark - escaped back to Oblivion - 
   No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the 
   trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screaming with it, buying and selling pieces of phantom, 
   worshipping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all - longing or inevitability? - 
   while it 
   lasts, a Vision - anything more?
It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my 
   Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings 
   shouldering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an 
   instant - 
   and the sky above - an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south - as I walk toward the Lower East Side
   - where you walked 50 years ago, little girl - from Russian, eating the
   first poisonous tomatoes of America - frightened at the dock - 
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what? - toward
   Newark - 
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of our century, hand-churned 
   cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards - 
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching 
   and learning to be mad, in a dream - what is this life?
   Toward the Key in the window - and the great Key lays its head of 
   on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the 
   sidewalk - in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First 
   the Yiddish Theater - and the place of poverty
you knew, and I know, but without caring now - Strange to have moved
   thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstoops doors and dark boys 
   the street, fire escapes old as you
- Tho, you're not old now, that's left here with me - 
   Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe - and I guess that 
   dies with
   us - enough to cancel all that comes - What came is gone
   every time - 
   That's good! That leaves it open for no regret - no fear radiators, 
   torture even toothache in the end - 
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul - and the lamb, 
   the soul,
   in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change's fierce 
   hunger - hair
   and teeth - and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, 
   braintricked Implacability.
Ai! ai! we do worse! We are in a fix! And you're out, Death let you 
   Death had the Mercy, you're done with your century, done with
   God, done with the path thru it - Done with yourself at last - 
   - Back to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all - 
   before the
   world -
There, rest. No more suffering for you. I know where you've gone, it's 
No more flowers in the summer fields of New York, no joy now, no more
   fear of Louis,
and no more of his sweetness and glasses, his high school decades, 
   loves, frightened telephone calls, conception beds, relatives, 
   hands -
No more of sister Elanor, - she gone before you - we kept it secret - 
   killed her - or she killed herself to bear with you - an 
   arthritic heart
   - But Death's killed you both - No matter -
Nor your memory of your mother, 1915 tears in silent movies weeks and
   weeks - forgetting, agrieve watching Marie Dressler address 
   Chaplin dance in youth,
or Boris Godunov, Chaliapin's at the Met, halling his voice is a
   weeping Czar
   - by standing room with Elanor & Max - watching also the 
   take seats in Orchestra, white furs, diamonds,
   with the YPSL's hitch-hiking thru Pennsylvania, in black baggy gym 
   pants, photograph of 4 girls holding each other round the 
   waste, and
   laughing eye, too coy, virginal solitude of 1920
all girls grown old, or dead, now, and that long hair in the grave - 
   lucky to
   have husbands later -
You made it - I came too - Eugene my brother before (still grieving 
   now and
   will gream on to his last stiff hand, as he goes thru his 
   cancer - or kill
   - later perhaps - soon he will think - )
And it's the last moment I remember, which I see them all, thru 
   myself, now
   - tho not you
I didn't foresee what you felt - what more hideous gape of bad mouth 
   first - to you - and were you prepared?
To go where? In that Dark - that - in that God? a radiance? A Lord in 
   Void? Like an eye in the black cloud in a dream? Adonoi at 
   last, with
Beyond my remembrance! Incapable to guess! Not merely the yellow skull
   in the grave, or box of worm dust, and a stained ribbon - 
   head with Halo? can you believe it?
Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of 
   than none ever was?
Nothing beyond what we have - what you had - that so pitiful - yet 
to have been here, and changed, like a tree, broken, or flower - fed 
   to the
   ground - but mad, with its petals, colored, thinking Great 
   shaken, cut in the head, leaf stript, hid in an egg crate 
   hospital, cloth
   wrapped, sore - freaked in the moon brain, Naughtless.
No flower like that flowerm which knew itself in the garden, and 
   fought the 
   knife - lost
Cut down by an idiot Snowman's icy - even in the Spring - strange 
   thought - some Death - Sharp icicle in his hand - crowned with 
   roses - a dog for his eyes - cock of a sweatshop - heart of 
All the accumulations of life, that wear us out - clocks, bodies, 
   shoes, breasts - begotten sons - your Communism - 'Paranoia' 
You once kicked Elanor in the leg, she died of heart failure later. 
   You of
   stroke. Asleep? within a year, the two of you, sisters in 
   death. Is
   Elanor happy?
Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache 
   midnight Accountings, not sure. His life passes - as he sees - 
   what does he doubt now? Still dream of making money, or that 
   have made money, hired nurse, had children, found even your 
I'll see him soon. Now I've got to cut through - to talk to you - as I 
   when you had a mouth.
Forever. And we're bound for that, Forever - like Emily Dickinson's 
   - headed to the End.
They know the way - These Steeds - run faster than we think - it's our 
   life they cross - and take with them.
 Magnificent, mourned no more, marred of heart, mind behind, 
married dreamed, mortal changed - Ass and face done with murder.
   In the world, given, flower maddened, made no Utopia, shut 
pine, almed in Earth, balmed in Lone, Jehovah, accept.
   Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless,
Father in death. Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, 
   Hymnless, I'm Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still 
   Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not
light or darkness, Dayless Eternity -
   Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, 
of my Time, now given to Nothing - to praise Thee - But Death
   This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the 
House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping
   - page beyond Psalm - Last change of mine and Naomi - to God's 
   Darkness - Death, stay thy phantoms!

-Paris, December 1957 - New York, 1959



Kraj Majales (King of May)

And the Communists have nothing to offer but fat cheeks and eyeglasses
   lying policemen
and the Capitalists proffer Napalm and money in green suitcases to the
and the Communists create heavy industry but the heart is also heavy
   and the beautiful engineers are all dead, the secret technicians
   conspire for
   their own glamour
in the Future, in the Future, but now drink vodka and lament the
and the Capitalists drink gin and whiskey on airplanes but let Indian
   millions starve
and when Communist and Capitalist assholes tangle the Just man is
   or robbed or has his head cut off,
but not like Kabir, and the cigarette cough of the Just man above the
in the bright sunshine is a salute to the health of the blue sky.
   For I was arrested thrice in Prague, once for singing drunk on Narodni
once knocked down on the midnight pavement by a mustached agent who
   screamed out BOUZERANT,
once for losing my notebooks of unusual sex politics dream opinions,
   and I was sent from Havana by planes by detectives in green uniform,
   and I was sent from Prague by plane by detectives in Czechoslovakian
   business suits,
Cardplayers out of Cezanne, the two strange dolls that entered Joseph
   room at morn
also entered mine and ate at my table, and examined my scribbles,
   and followed me night and morn from the houses of the lovers to the
   cafes of
   Centrum -
And I am the King of May, which is the power of sexual youth,
   and I am the King of May, which is long hair of Adam and Beard of my
   own body
and I am the King of May, which is Kraj Majales in the Czechoslovakian
and I am the King of May, which is old Human poesy, and 100,000 people
   chose my name,
and I am the King of May, and in a few minutes I will land at London
and I am the King of May, naturally, for I am of Slavic parentage and
   Buddhist Jew
who whorships the Sacred Heart of Christ the blue body of Krishna the
   straight back of Ram
the beads of Chango the Nigerian singing Shiva Shiva in a manner which
   I have invented,
and the King of May is a middleeuropean honor, mine in the XX century
   despite space ships and the Time Machine, because I have heard the
   voice of Blake
   in a vision
and repeat that voice. And I am the King of May that sleeps with
And I am the King of May, that I may be expelled from my Kingdom with
   Honor, as of old,
To show the difference between Caesar's Kingdom and the Kingdom of the
   May of Man -
and I am the King of May because I touched my finger to my forehead
a luminous heavy girl trembling hands who said "one moment Mr.
before a fat young Plainclothesman stepped between our bodies - I was
   going to England -
and I am the King of May, in a giant jetplane touching Albion's
   trembling in fear
as the plane roars to a landing on the gray concrete, shakes & expels
and rolls slowly to a stop under the clouds with part of blue heaven
And tho' I am the King of May, the Marxists have beat me upon the
   kept me up all night in Police Station, followed me thru
   Prague, detained me in secret and deported me from our kingdom
This I have written this poem on a jet seat in mid Heaven.

-May 7, 1965



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.

-December 1965



Please Master

Please master can I touch your cheek
please master can I kneel at your feet
please master can I loosen your blue pants
please master can I gaze at your golden haired belly
please master can I gently take down your shorts
please master can I have your thighs bare to my eyes
please master can I take off your clothes below your chair
please master can I kiss your ankles and soul
please master can I touch my lips to your muscle hairless thigh
please master can I lay my ear pressed to your stomach
please master can I wrap my arms around your white ass
please master can I lick your groin curled with soft blond fur
please master can I touch my tongue to your rosy asshole
please master may I pass my face to your ball's
please master, please look into my eyes,
please master order me down on the floor,
please master tell me to lick your thick shaft
please master put your rough hands on my bald hairy skull
please master press my mouth to your prick-heart
please master press my face into your belly, pull me slowly strong thumbed
till your dumb hardness fills my throat to the base
till I swallow and taste your delicate flesh-hot prick barrel veined
Please master push my shoulders away and stare into my eye, & make me bend over the table
please master grab my thighs and lift my ass to your waist
please master your rough hand's stroke on my neck your palm down my backside
please master push me up, my feet on chairs, till my hole feels the breath of your spit and your thumb stroke
please master make me say Please Master Fuck me now
Please master grease my balls and hairmouth with sweet vaselines
please master stroke your shaft with white creams
please master touch your cock head to my wrinkled self-hole
please master push it in gently, your elbows enwrapped around my breasts
your arms passing down to my belly, my penis you touch with your little fingers
please master shove it in me a little, a little, a little,
please master sink your droor thing down my behind
& please master make me wiggle my rear to eat up the prick trunk
till my asshalfs cuddle your thighs, my back bent over
till I'm alone sticking out your sword stuck throbbing in me
please master pull out and slowly roll into the bottom
please master lunge in again, and withdraw to the tip
please please master fuck me again with your slef, please fuck me
Please master drive it down till it hurts me the softness the
Softness please master make love to my ass, give body to center & fuck me for good like a girl
tenderly clasp me please master I take me to thee,
& drive in my belly your selfsame sweet heat-rod
your fingered in solitude Denver or Brooklyn or fucked in a maiden in Paris carlots
please master drive me thy vehicle, body of love drops, sweat fuck
body of tenderness, Give me your dog fuck faster
please master make me go moan on the table
Go moan O please master do fuck me like that
in your rhythm thrill-plunge and pull-back bounce & push down
till I loosen my asshole a dog on the table yelping with terror delight to be loved
Please master call me a dog, an ass beast, a wet asshole
& fuck me more violent, my eyes hid with your palms round my skull
& plunge down in a brutal hard lash thru soft drip-fish
& throb thru five seconds to spurt out your semen heat
over & over, bamming it in while I cry out your name I do love you
please Master.

-May 1968



We Rise on Sun Beams and Fall in the Night

Dawn's orb orange-raw shining over Palisades
bare crowded branches bush up from marshes--
New Jersey with my father riding automobile
highway to Newark Airport--Empire State's
spire, horned buildingtops, Manhattan
rising as in W.C. Williams' eyes between wire trestles--
trucks sixwheeled steady rolling overpass
beside New York--I am here
tiny under sun rising in vast white sky,
staring thru skeleton new buildings,
with pen in hand awake...

-December 11, 1974



The Terms in Which I Think of Reality

Reality is a question
of realizing how real
the world is already.

Time is Eternity,
ultimate and immovable;
everyone's an angel.

It's Heaven's mystery
of changing perfection :
absolute Eternity

changes! Cars are always
going down the street,
lamps go off and on.

It's a great flat plain;
we can see everything
on top of a table.

Clams open on the table,
lambs are eaten by worms
on the plain. The motion

of change is beautiful,
as well as form called
in and out of being.

Next : to distinguish process
in its particularity with
an eye to the initiation

of gratifying new changes
desired in the real world.
Here we're overwhelmed

with such unpleasant detail
we dream again of Heaven.
For the world is a mountain

of shit : if it's going to
be moved at all, it's got
to be taken by handfuls.

Man lives like the unhappy
whore on River Street who
in her Eternity gets only

a couple of bucks and a lot
of snide remarks in return
for seeking physical love

the best way she knows how,
never really heard of a glad
job or joyous marriage or

a difference in the heart :
or thinks it isn't for her,
which is her worst misery.

-- Spring, 1950.



Wild Orphan

Bladly mother
takes him strolling
by railroad and by river
--he's the son of the absconded
hot rod angel--
and he imagines cars
and rides them in his dreams

so lonely growing up among
the imaginary automobiles
and dead souls of Tarrytown

to create
out of his own imagination
the beauty of his wild
forebears--a mythology
he cannot inherit

Will he later hallucinate
his gods? Waking
among mysteries with
an insane gleam
of recollection?

The recognition--
something so rare
in his soul,
met only in dreams
of another life.

A question of the soul.
And the injured
losing their injury
in their innocence
--a cock, a cross,
an excellence of love.

And the father grieves
in flophouse
complexities of memory
a thousand miles
away, unknowing
of the unexpected
youthful stranger
bumming toward his door.

-New York, April 13, 1952



Nagasaki Days
(Everybody's Fantasy)

 I walked outside & the bomb'd
   dropped lots of plutonium
   all over the Lower East Side
 There weren't any buildings left just
   iron skeletons
 groceries burned, potholes open to
   stinking sewer waters
 There were people starving and crawling
   across the desert
 the Martian UFOs with blue
   Light destroyer rays
 passed over and dried up all the
 Charred Amazon palmtrees for
   hundreds of miles on both sides
   of the river


This Form of Life Needs Sex

I will have to accept women

if I want to continue the race,

kiss breasts, accept

strange hairy lips behind


Look in questioning womanly eyes

answer soft cheeks,

bury my loins in the hang of pearplum

fat tissue

I had abhorred

before I give godspasm Babe leap

forward thru death --

Between me and oblivion an unknown

woman stands;

Not the Muse but living meat-phantom,

a mystery scary as my fanged god

sinking its foot in its gullet &

vomiting its own image out of its ass

-- This woman Futurity I am pledge to

born not to die,

but my issue my own cockbrain replica Me-Hood

again -- For fear of the Blot?

Face of Death, my Female, as I'm sainted

to my very bone,

I'm fated to find me a maiden for

ignorant Fuckery --

flapping my belly & smeared with Saliva

shamed face flesh & wet,

-- have long droopy conversations

in Cosmical Duty boudoirs,

maybe bored?

Or excited New Prospect, discuss

her, Futurity, my Wife

My Mother, Death, My only

hope, my very Resurrection


herself, why have I feared

to be joined true

embraced beneath the Panties of Forever

in with the one hole that repelled me 1937 on?

-- Pulled down my pants on the porch showing

my behind to cars passing in the rain --

& She be interested, this contact with Silly new Male

that's sucked my loveman's cock

in Adoration & sheer beggary romance-awe

gulp-choke Hope of Life come

and buggered myself innumerably boy-yangs

gloamed inward so my solar plexus

feel godhead in me like an open door --

Now that's changed my decades body old

tho' admiring male thighs at my brow,

hard love pulsing thru my ears,

stern buttocks upraised

for my masterful Rape

that were meant for a private shit

if the Army were All --

But no more answer to life

than the muscular statue

I felt up its marbles

envying Beauty's immortality in the

museum of Yore --

You can fuck a statue but you can't

have children

You can joy man to man but the Sperm

comes back in a trickle at dawn

in a toilet on the 45th Floor --

& Can't make continuous mystery out of that

finished performance

& ghastly thrill

that ends as began,

stupid reptile squeak

denied life by Fairy Creator

become Imaginary

because he decided not to incarnate

opposite -- Old Spook

who didn't want to be a baby & die,

didn't want to shit and scream

exposed to bombardment on a

Chinese RR track

and grow up to pass his spasm on

the other half of the Universe --

Like a homosexual capitalist afraid of the masses --

and that's my situation, Folks --

New York, April 12, 1961


Rock Song

I'm up in the lightning tower
Blake is re-fighting Milton below
African Americans yelling at Latinos
With bombs crack wanna blow

African Americans with babies at their breasts
Europeans drinking coffee cashing checks
Vietnamese & Chinese behaving correct
Koreans and Texans thumping their chests

I'm up in the lightning tower
Could stay up here a hundred years
Shouting orders thru a diamond megaphone
Till the blood rain turns to humor tears

I'm up in the lightning tower
The spiritual war goes on
There's a million Caesars climbing up the stairs
I gotta fight them with one hard on

I'm up in the lightning window
I can see the blare of the bombs
The noisier the surplus airplanes thunder
The more I sit down calm

Up on the lightning rooftop
It's raining human bones and blood
I haven't got a holy umbrella
Is there anything I can do that's any good?

I'm dancing on the lightning cloud
I don't know how I got the power
I kept hearing everybody screaming
& lay down to sleep dream for one hour

Lightning tower lightning ocean
Lightning window, lightning cloud
Lightning solitude lightning delusion
Lightning consciousness in the crowd

Journals 5/25/90


On Neal's Ashes

Delicate eyes that blinked blue Rockies all ash

nipples, Ribs I touched w/ my thumb are ash

mouth my tongue touched once or twice all ash

bony cheeks soft on my belly are cinder, ash

earlobes & eyelids, youthful cock tip, curly pubis

breast warmth, man palm, high school thigh,

baseball bicept arm, asshole anneal'd to silken skin

all ashes, all ashes again.

August 1968


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.