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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Howl

The first dozen lines:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,

who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning 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, alcohol and cock and endless balls,

incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping towards poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between...


Allen Ginsberg has changed the way I understand poetry.

I'll have to pay him back.

-Christopher

2 comments:

Bookish.Spazz said...

Have you ever read John Donne?

He's one of my favorite poets.

L. said...

We read Howl in 9th grade because my teacher was a stoner and he loved Allen Ginsberg. I love this poem. But alas, I am not a stoner.
Allen Ginsberg did change the way I understand poetry.
My favorite poet in Pablo Neruda, just because his sonnets make my soul hurt, in a good way.