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Howl by 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 machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high satup 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 fromthe 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,
winedrunkenness 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
shudderingmouth-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 forthe 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-withdrawal
in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard
wondering where to go, and went, leavingno 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,
whothought 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 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...
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