Allen Ginsberg name GIF

was born in 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, a son of Naomi Ginsberg and lyric poet Louis Ginsberg. In 1956 he published his signal poem "Howl," which overcame censorship trials to become one of the most widely read poems in the century.

Allen Ginsberg's most recent books include Collected Poems: 1947-1980, the annotated Howl, White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985, and Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986-1992.

He was a member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, awarded the medal of Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in 1993, and cofounder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world. Allen Ginsberg lived on New York's Lower East Side.


Hipsters GIF

HOWL

by 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 machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the

supernatural darkness of cold-water fiats 'doating across the tops of cities

contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels

staggering on tenement 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 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, alcohol 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 motionless

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 Brooklyn, 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 afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, I 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 Brooklyn 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-grindings and migraines of China

under junk-withdrawal 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 grandfather night,

who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kaballa

because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,

who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary 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 Oklahoma on the impulse of

winter midnight streetlight 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 fireplace

Chicago,

who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the E.B.I. in beards and

shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out

incomprehensible 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 manuscripts,

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 rosegardens and the grass of

public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come

who may,

who hiccupped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a

partition in a Turkish Bath when the blonde & 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 candle 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

sunrise, 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 petticoat 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 hungover with

heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to

unemployment offices, 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 unsuccessfully, 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 sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken

taxicabs of Absolute Reality,

who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away

unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways &

firetrucks, not even one free beer,

who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window,

jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,

danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of

nostalgic European 1930'S 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 Buddhas

or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive' or Harvard

to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisy-chain or grave,

who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & 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 instantaneous lobotomy,

and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin metrasol electricity

hydrotherapy psychotherapy 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 madman 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, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench

dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, 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 AM and the last telephone

slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished 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

vibrating 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 intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing

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.

 

- 1956 -



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