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web | The Sun Is but a Morning Star

For Carl Solomon

I

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 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 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 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 Brooklyn 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-grindings
           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 grandfather
           night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy
           and bop kabbalah 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 ash of poetry scattered in fireplace 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 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 in 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Passaic,
           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 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 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
           instantaneous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin
           Metrazol 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 mad
           man 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. A.M. 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.

II

What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open
           their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
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 stunned
           governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose
           blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers
           are ten armies! Moloch whose breats is a cannibal
           dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
           Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long
           streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories
           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!
           Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to
           Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!
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! Despairs!
           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 street!

III

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
           typewriter
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 abyss
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
           comrades 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
           collapse O skinny legions run outside O starry-
           spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is
           here O victory forget your underwear we're free
I'm with you in Rockland
           in my dreams you walk dripping from a seajourney
           on the highway across America in tears
           to the door of my cottage in the Western night

San Francisco, 1955-1956

 

 

© Allen Ginsberg
=============================
© E-publisher LiterNet, 04.07.2010
The Sun Is but a Morning Star. Anthology of American Literature. Edited by Albena Bakratcheva. Varna: LiterNet, 2008-2010