Ginsberg, Allen (1926-1997)

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,
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
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and
     now you're really in the total animal soup of
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-
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
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
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


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
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
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
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
               First read at the Six Gallery, 7 Oct 1955
               Ginsberg's friend Jack Kerouac sat on the edge of the stage
               City Lights Bookstore owner Larence Ferlinghetti published it,
               	was tried for obscenity and found not guilty.

reformatted from Alex Vigdor's page
Allen Ginsberg reading the first lines (.wav, 970K)
read Steve's Silverman's How Beat Happened