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Howl Analysis

Author: poem of Allen Ginsberg Type: poem Views: 21

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              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

                                        San Francisco 1955-56


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

who screamed to the eternal blackness above from the roof of a parking garage
then went to take in a show

| Posted on 2010-08-26 | by a guest

.: :.

who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in
their lofts

| Posted on 2010-03-06 | by a guest

.: :.

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,

| Posted on 2009-07-21 | by a guest

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