Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Chronicle Bitches Out and Doesn't Publish 'Howl'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2007 at 12:10 PM

The Chron tries to do a story today on how the FCC can censor art. They highlight the 50th anniversary of a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruling that Allen Ginsberg's Beat-era poem "Howl" was not obscene. They also say

a New York public broadcasting station decided not to air the poem, fearing that the Federal Communications Commission will find it indecent and crush the network with crippling fines.

If they really cared about free speech, they would've just wasted some precious white space printing the whole damn thing in place of those bozos Matier and Ross, then they should send some copies to the FCC. Can't fine us, bitch!

But since they're little bitches (have you seen their weak Folsom Street Fair photos?), we'll run it.

Allen Ginsberg's "Howl"

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 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 skull,

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

angels, 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

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 manu-

scripts, 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 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

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 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

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 in-

stantaneous lobotomy,

and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin

Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psycho-

therapy 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, 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

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 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

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 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

Deus

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

years.

Jesus Christ, what a beast. There's something in there for everyone, isn't there? ...

P.S. The Chron story itself was not bad. Go Chron. -ed

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

David Downs

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"