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Howling for Banned Books Week September 23, 2013

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Here is the approximately seven minute excerpt of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” I will be reading at the Banned Books event on the 29th.

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 cool eyes hallucinating Arkan
– sas 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 toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo
– tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunk-
enness 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 ligh
t 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, 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 of 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 ambiguou
s 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 wonder-
ing 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 kabbala
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 midnigh
t streetlight smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex o
r 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 FBI in beards and short
s with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incompre-
hensible 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 whom
– ever 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 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 con-
sciousness,
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 o
r with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat uplifting
s & 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 unemployment 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 steam-
heat and opium,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hud
son 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…

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15308#sthash.H271YdYW.dpuf

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