...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 07, 2006

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Ginsberg

As Tony noted, Saturday was Allen Ginsberg's birthday. There must be a Ginsberg bug going around because Strawman also suggested a poem by the great one. I can't abide his political stuff, but Ginsberg is a genuine literary icon, and a fearless poet. He's also an interesting guy to boot. Here is a perfect poem for today.

A Supermarket in California

      What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for
I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
      In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
      What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?

      I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
      I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
      I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store
      We strode down the open corridors together in our
solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen
delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

      Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in
an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
      (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
      Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be

      Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
      Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and
you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

"Shopping for images," what artist can't identify with that line?

Posted by annika, Jun. 7, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


HI annika,

Forgot to say thanks!

For those who wish to see his important dates and marker........


I meet him a few times, saw him read many times and was born in the house next to his. (Allen 23, Straw 0) My family and his were friends as well.

I have an mp3 of him reading Howl which I will share with anyone who request it.

Posted by: strawman on Jun. 9, 2006