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In The Baggage Room At Greyhound Analysis

Author: poem of Allen Ginsberg Type: poem Views: 15

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In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal

sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky

        waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart

worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in

        the night-time red downtown heaven

staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering

        these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty

        of our lives, irritable baggage clerks,

nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the

        buses waving goodbye,

nor other millions of the poor rushing around from

        city to city to see their loved ones,

nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop

        by the Coke machine,

nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last

        trip of her life,

nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar-

        ters and smiling over the smashed baggage,

nor me looking around at the horrible dream,

nor mustached negro Operating Clerk named Spade,

        dealing out with his marvelous long hand the

        fate of thousands of express packages,

nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden

        trunk to trunk,

nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown

        smiling cowardly at the customers,

nor the grayish-green whale's stomach interior loft

        where we keep the baggage in hideous racks,

hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and

        forth waiting to be opened,

nor the baggage that's lost, nor damaged handles,

        nameplates vanished, busted wires & broken

        ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete


nor seabags emptied into the night in the final



Yet Spade reminded me of Angel, unloading a bus,

dressed in blue overalls black face official Angel's work-

        man cap,

pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with

        black baggage,

looking up as he passed the yellow light bulb of the loft

and holding high on his arm an iron shepherd's crook.


It was the racks, I realized, sitting myself on top of

        them now as is my wont at lunchtime to rest

        my tired foot,

it was the racks, great wooden shelves and stanchions

        posts and beams assembled floor to roof jumbled

        with baggage,

--the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily

        flowered & headed for Fort Bragg,

one Mexican green paper package in purple rope

        adorned with names for Nogales,

hundreds of radiators all at once for Eureka,

crates of Hawaiian underwear,

rolls of posters scattered over the Peninsula, nuts to


one human eye for Napa,

an aluminum box of human blood for Stockton

and a little red package of teeth for Calistoga-

it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked

        in electric light the night before I quit,

the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep

        us together, a temporary shift in space,

God's only way of building the rickety structure of


to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our

        luggage from place to place

looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity

        where the heart was left and farewell tears



A swarm of baggage sitting by the counter as the trans-

        continental bus pulls in.

The clock registering 12:15 A.M., May 9, 1956, the

        second hand moving forward, red.

Getting ready to load my last bus.-Farewell, Walnut

        Creek Richmond Vallejo Portland Pacific


Fleet-footed Quicksilver, God of transience.

One last package sits lone at midnight sticking up out

        of the Coast rack high as the dusty fluorescent



The wage they pay us is too low to live on. Tragedy

        reduced to numbers.

This for the poor shepherds. I am a communist.

Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much,

        hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built

        my pectoral muscles big as a vagina.

                             May 9, 1956


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