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Howl - Allen Ginsberg

              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