I thought of you today, Allen Ginsberg,
As I often do when the howls from
Desolation Row enrapture my mind.
Rapid fired images stolen from
Dreams and nightmares of America.
Starving in the streets like
Hysterical angel headed hipsters
And raggedy vagabond doctors
Crouched in darkened doorways
Snarling, scratching at the
Constable’s carriage for
A scrap of bread.
I saw you standing there, Allen Ginsberg,
In the alleyway behind Dylan.
Hippy bearded beatnik Buddha
Standing by with Aaron’s staff
As Bobby chanted cue cards.
A roaring waterfall of words
Marching to an amphetamine driven
Breakneck Chuck Berry guitar beat,
Ducking down the alleyway looking
For a friend with a dollar to
Battle off the coon skin cap wearing
Cretin threatening to bust your balls
And break your thumbs.
I dreamed of you tonight, Allen Ginsberg,
Walking in the California moonlight with a headache
Stopping by a San Francisco supermarket
To stalk the dream-ghost of Walt Whitman.
Peering through the produce of the all night fruit stand
The peaches and plumbs ripe with juice,
You perceive, peripherally, a plethora of peasant people
Perusing the products at hand:
Mothers and fathers smuggling grapefruits
Inside pant-legs and purses
Sneaking out to feed frozen families.
Siddhartha and dear mother Eve
Discuss the nature of knowledge
While sampling the fig fruit on the aisle.
Woody Guthrie waiting by the watermelons
With Walt Whitman’s niece, listening
As she reads from an old book of poems
Trying to remember the lines, memorize the rhymes
Tuning his laser guided six string fascist killer.
But amid the chaos of customers and cashiers,
Whose lines you never cross,
You never lose sight of your quarry,
That post Civil War Gandalf Greybeard
With his wide brimmed hat, piercing eyes
Staring out from under bushy old man eyebrows,
Face hidden beneath ancient Woden whiskers
What will you talk about, Allen Ginsberg,
Later in your dream within my dream,
Walking arm and arm, no longer hunter and prey
Absently passing the canned pimentos and olive oil
As sunrise light breaks through
The five for a dollar avocado sign?
Will you walk out into the fresh dawn air
Into the multicolored streets of the city
And speak of America?
America the beautiful ideal
Where elemental freedom burns
Thermonuclear fusion of love, liberty and equality
Glowing plasma at the heart of lady liberty’s torch,
Shining out, warming and nurturing every inhabitant,
Free from birth to death, sons and daughters,
Grown and ungrown.
Land of the free, home of the brave,
Beacon of Justice throughout the world.
America, the schizophrenic reality.
Stealing land, slaughtering civilizations
Because Manifest Destiny.
America, home of upstanding brave patriot soldiers
ready to fight and wage war for freedom
To own human beings, buying & selling
Brown skinned children like cattle
Because Ham saw dear father Noah’s dick
(Or whatever racist, revelation based rationalization
Makes the biggest profit).
America that produced a captain like our Captain
To keep the ship from breaking up,
Steering her through stormy seas,
Brave defender of fragile so-called
Self evident freedoms and truths:
If all men are equal; All men are free.
America that produced the man
Who shot our Captain in the back.
Will you take a stroll through Height Ashbury at dawn,
Or Morningside Heights in twilight?
Showing your friend around the campus of Columbia
The beautiful Butler Library,
Storehouse of knowledge and wisdom,
The spot where young Lou Gehrig
Hit a homer into the street.
Will you smile at the fresh faced students
Studying physics and philosophy,
Sharing a smoke on the lawn,
Pack a picnic and dine in the shadow
Of Grant’s tomb,
Pass a desolate tramp vomiting in the sewer
Near Nelson Rockefeller’s portrait and
Speak of poetry and obscenity,
The sacred and the profane,
Art and pornography,
Literature and trash?
Who judges, how and why?
What phallic yardstick is it measured by?
What flow chart shows how to decide
The appropriate cock to verse ratio?
What recipe will tell how much “artistic value”
Must be added to write about double-D breasts
In iambic pentameter?
Is one asshole enough to get a book banned,
Or is it ass-fucking that tips us over the line?
Is missionary hetero-sex OK as long as
No one pisses on a crucifix,
Or do I need a different chart for that?
Where, where is the righteous moral outrage
For the truly obscene?
Censorship is obscene, banning books (Because you
Don’t like it, nobody else can read it) is obscene,
Biased corporate owned media outlets
Filling empty headed TV and Internet hypnotized
Sheep brains with hate, fear an agendas is obscene
A billionaire robber-baron with his hand
Shoved up a senator’s anus is obscene,
Oligarchical plutocracy disguised as democracy is obscene
The destruction of the middle-class
And oppression of the working class is obscene,
Bigotry is obscene, homophobia is obscene, racism is obscene,
Denying people the right to marry
Because their skin pigment doesn’t match–
Or because they genitals do– is obscene,
Sexism is obscene, Antisemitism is obscene,
Justifying intolerant hate-think with
Religious proofs is obscene,
War is obscene,
Congressmen and businessmen wrapping themselves in the flag,
Sacrificing citizens and soldiers in Moloch’s flames,
Worshiping the great Greenback God’s golden calf is obscene,
Trading liberty for security (and getting neither) is obscene,
Push-button suicidal genocide that will
Burn the planet a dozen times over is obscene,
Mother’s burying babies is obscene,
Mass-Murder in a kindergarten classroom is obscene!
Holy lotus blossom floating above
The sludge and sewage.
Lips cleansed, touched by a glowing coal,
Smoldering sacred stone,
Born by six-winged seraphim from God’s
Smoke filled living-room hearth.
See, speak, sing the truth whispered in your ear:
Holy! Holy! Holy!
The whole world is holy,
The Universe is filled with glory!
Galaxies are holy! Constellations are holy!
Solar systems, stars and planets are holy!
Big Bang is holy! Black hole is holy!
Quark, atom and molecule is holy!
Life is holy! Evolution is holy!
Human, giraffe and dolphin is holy!
Male is holy! Female is holy!
Cock, vagina and asshole is holy!
Love is holy! Sex is holy!
Rubbing, spanking, whipping,
Exploding in ecstasy is holy!
The heart is holy! The brain is holy!
Reason, rationality and logic is holy!
Eliminating the impossible to
Deduce the Truth is holy!
The Truth, immutable, immaculate fact
Independent of opinion is holy!
Socrates is holy! Zeno is holy!
Chrysippus, Epictetus and Verissmus is holy!
Shit stained, urine soaked, whiskey scented
Homeless hobo is as holy as a
Purple robed, incense infused, bedazzled Pope.
Poets are holy! Prophets are holy!
Shamans, madmen and visionaries are holy!
Pens are holy! Keyboards are holy!
Canvas brushes, musical instruments and potter’s wheels are holy!
The audience is holy! The performance is holy!
The stage, scenery and script is holy!
Sappho is holy! Catullus is holy!
Dante, Milton and Blake is holy!
Byron is holy! Keats is holy!
Verne, Wells and Shelley is holy!
Michelangelo is holy! Leonardo is holy!
Dali, van Gogh and Picasso is holy!
Muddy is holy! Woody is holy!
Robert Johnson, Elvis and Buddy Holly is holy!
Dylan is holy! LennonMcCartney is holy!
Townshend, Clapton and Hendrix is holy!
Lucky is holy! Lefty is holy!
Spike and Nelson Wilbury is holy!
Allen is holy! Jack is holy!
Neal, Burroughs and Whitman is holy!
The poem is holy! The word is holy!
John, Justine and Tristyn is holy!
Birth is holy! Death is holy!
Everyone and everything in between is holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy!
Where are you now, Allen Ginsberg?
Out among the stars, sitting full lotus in the grass,
Looking for a roundabout exit,
Sailing Samsara seas, searching a birth for your ship,
Walking the road from Rockland with Neal,
Singing songs of surreal Singapore sunlight,
Are you with me here tonight, Allen Ginsberg,
Within the pages of your poems,
Bound up in the great book of breaths,
Inhales through my brain,
Exhaled into the night?
You can also watch a video of me reading this poem:
Or you can listen to the audio of me reading the poem: