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America by Allen Ginsberg [Emphasis Added]

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.

America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I will say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that jetplanes 1400 miles an hour and twentyfive-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor the Silk-strikers’ Ewig-Weibliche made me cry I once saw the Yiddish orator Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.
America you don’t really want to go to war.
America its them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Berkeley, January 17, 1956

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • KCK April 30, 2022, 10:04 AM

    Good to listen to/ read. He’s a commie, isn’t he?

    Yes, but so much truth, you say. Perhaps. Weren’t we recently discussing the truths the Devil knows? It isn’t as much about the truth as whose asking, and how the questions are put.

    • Vanderleun April 30, 2022, 10:49 AM

      Commie? Well, yes in the sort of Wobblies and Workers of the World sense. Gay. Oh yes. I knew Allen and even interviewed him once. I’ll put that up next week. But he was and remains one of the great American poets of the 20th century and not, as many have it, for HOWL, but for KADDISH.

      • Disco Stu April 30, 2022, 12:34 PM

        In more civilized times, Ginsburg and his NAMBLA buddies would be at the bottom of a bog.

    • Hoosiers Bruisers April 30, 2022, 12:31 PM

      Allen Ginsburg was a NAMBLA member, a Jewish sex pervert, and moral degenerate. The poetry of such ought not to be glorified nor even published.

      • Vanderleun April 30, 2022, 3:45 PM

        Sorry. Not into burning books. Neither should you be. Shame on you.

        • Hoosiers Bruisers April 30, 2022, 5:30 PM

          Being printed on paper does not make something sacred.

          There is no virtue in protecting that which is evil.

          • Vanderleun April 30, 2022, 7:02 PM

            Who said it did. You can’t seem to be able to distinguish between one thing and another thing. You seem to be proposing that two things can share identical properties. Two things of which one is real and one is abstract.

            • ghostsniper May 1, 2022, 4:18 AM

              It’s times like these when you have to ask yourself, did you like “Your Song” less after you found out Elton sang those lyrics with the same mouth he sucked many dicks?

              Some things I wish I didn’t know.

              • James ONeil May 1, 2022, 11:24 AM

                On the other hand, when you meet and greet with a hand shake, unless they’re muslim you don’t know which hand they wipe with. Some things are just better left unthought.

                • Mike Austin May 1, 2022, 3:01 PM

                  Well James, I have never studied which hand a man wipes with. I’ll leave such research to you. Such knowledge seems a bit esoteric, especially in this day and age of soap and hot water.

                  Years ago in Guatemala City I was at a crowded bus station. A very well-fed female Indian squatted where she was, dropped a large load and scampered off . No toilet paper or hand washing was to be seen. That Indigenous woman would be right at home in today’s New York City.

                  The “3rd World” is the “3rd World” for a reason. Lots of them. Damn good ones.

              • Mike Austin May 1, 2022, 11:43 AM

                One can either separate the man from his art, or one cannot. The reasons why in each case are of supreme importance, not only to the man’s soul but to the survival of his nation.

                Consider: Imagine an artist whose works are as good as those of Michelangelo’s. Yet this artist has the habit of raping 3 year old girls—and his current “tally” is in the hundreds. His habit is well-known but so is the quality of his art. Would one buy his art?

                When a man buys the music of Elton John he is supporting the life of Elton John. There is simply no getting around this—whatever the man’s private thoughts of John’s addiction to fellatio and sodomy.

                A man who supported Hitler because of the Austrian’s economic policies also supported the Holocaust no matter protestations to the contrary.

                One might also consider the Categorical Imperative of Kant:

                “…act only according to that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.”

                In other words, imagine if your society was composed of nothing but males who possessed the moral code of Elton John. What would that society be like?

                • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 8:07 AM

                  It would be a society I’d not be a member of for long. I first encountered EJ’s work in the early 70’s and his first couple of albums. Yes, albums. And maybe cassettes. By the mid 70’s he was going in a direction I didn’t care for and he stopped making money off me. I’m guessing it was in the 80’s when he found it necessary to broadcast his proclivities and I was repulsed – still am. Did this knowledge (or rumor?) change my thoughts on his early music? Of course not – how could it. His early music, as well as the music of thousands of other people, were now part of my persona. I can’t not be who I am just because he chose to make known that which I didn’t need to know. I can play Your Song on a piano though not as well as EJ and everytime I hear it my fingers automatically fall into the pattern. EJ can change himself but he can’t change me. That is MY job.

              • James ONeil May 1, 2022, 12:58 PM

                Regular Joe, yawn.

              • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 1:52 PM

                Nobody would have guessed what doesn’t exist beyond the worm farm in your soul, Joe.

              • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 4:42 AM

                Once again, ex-cali-pete, more aptly known as the criminal pedophile troll (and at least 20 other ID’s), tries to slander someone. Last week it was Casey, this week the host gerard himself, who next week? Notice the content of every single one of it’s comments. Pure trash. Don’t you have some playground bushes to hide in?

  • ThisIsNotNutella April 30, 2022, 4:32 PM

    I won’t burn his books. He’s not Magnus Hirschfeld, just a dead, dirty old poetasting gentleman from Central Casting.

    But he belongs on the list of people I’d want to see sewn into a sack together with Ann Barnhardt and filmed from the inside and outside for 30 minutes prior to dropping into the Marianas Trench. In the name of Science, you understand.

    Only problem is the list is long and pretty soon you run out of Ann Barnhardts.

    • Jerusalus tulipisius April 30, 2022, 5:38 PM

      She’d probably spend the time admonishing him, witnessing to him, and praying for him.

    • Vanderleun April 30, 2022, 7:05 PM

      Well, you might like to “see” it but dollars to doughnuts you wouldn’t be able to actually do it. If the various monsters who wrote classics were all killed we’d be short quite a few classics. Plato and Socrates and Aristotle all used boys for pleasure. Shall they join others in the sack. Is that the kind of culture you would preserve?

      • ThisIsNotNutella April 30, 2022, 7:21 PM

        I’m a die-hard Mary Renault Fan. Classical Greek pederasty appears to have been subject to some conventions *and* to have been an adjunct to inculturation, pedagogy (no less) and civilization-building. Ditto the trio of greats you mention.

        I’d side with you here against the knee-jerk homo hating beam me back to the 50s never read their Carlyle monstrous regiment of Boomer Theologians.

        Ginsberg and Barnhardt, whilst very different are not civilization builders. We inhabit a poxed and rotten edifice and both of these in each their own way is part of the (necessary) Wrecking Crew. Cancer is necessary from a sufficiently elevated synoptic God Surveying Creation perspective. And I make jokes about it, too… although sure as eggs it’ll come for me one day and I won’t be laughing then.

        Ginsberg, Burroughs, and the boys may have had the best lines for their time and held up lanterns in the market places, but they were not Good.

        As for Barnhardt… in the kind of age she would like to go back to, they’d burn her. If you’re going to be a Mad Saint, that has to be part of the implied deal. Doesn’t mean she’s wrong about everything just as Ginsberg wasn’t. Now do you want her camping out on your lawn? Monstrous Regiment of Women? One is more than enough.

        Seems to me that the bigger question is not burning books, it’s who controls access to the books and at what age the young are introduced to certain books and ideas. It’s madness to just let the chips fall where they may — Education of the young and impressionable has to involve *not* telling them certain things and we’re back then to who decides. Who whom? As always.

        • Mike Austin May 1, 2022, 8:40 AM

          Ancient Greek pederasty has nothing in common—absolutely nothing—with modern sodomite ideology and practice. To claim otherwise one would have to abandon all ancient primary sources—and that includes Plato and Aristotle and Homer and the Greek playwrights—that dealt with the subject. It predates the Classical world, and one see can it at work in the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus in the “Iliad”, and Heracles and Hylas in Theocritus and Apollonius of Rhodes.

          As a foundation of Greek social structure the practice slowly died out after the Peloponnesian War (431 – 404 BC). Among the Macedonians of the Hellenistic Age (338 – 30 BC) there is yet some evidence of it, possibly in the relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion. The Romans never practiced it, though Emperor Hadrian (r. 117 – 138) —who was a notorious “Greek lover”—had such a relationship with Antinous. This was greatly frowned upon and ridiculed by Hadrian’s contemporaries.

        • Mike Austin May 1, 2022, 12:48 PM

          I should add, ThisIsNotNutella, that I also enjoy Renault’s historical novels, especially those concerning Theseus and Alexander. Her “Last of the Wine” is as well excellent. I enjoy the poetry of Sappho, whose private life and that of Renault’s parallel nicely.

          You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about Miss Barnhardt. Take it out. It is not manly to pick on a lady.

          • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 4:45 AM

            I used to think she was shrill, difficult to put up with, but over the past year or so she has changed or I have, or both. Now, I find her easy to digest. I hit her place a few times a week.

            • Mike Austin May 2, 2022, 5:02 AM

              I have been reading Miss Barnhardt for more than a decade. She is as she has always been.

  • Tom Hyland April 30, 2022, 5:08 PM

    I don’t care if he was gay. Ginsberg was a stellar poet and he ran with the Beats and my heroes of the 60’s. Back when nobody trusted “The Man.” Now all the decrepit hippies worship and obey the man. Back in 1980 he lived just a block over from me in Boulder. I was on Pine Street and Allen was on Mapleton. He’d always wave and say hello… always hanging his socks on the backyard line. I was about 25 and maybe he thought I was kinda cute. I don’t care. I sat on the lawn at CU one afternoon and he read “Howl” to a crowd of maybe 20 people. That was terrific. Did anyone here have a similar experience? Lighten up.

    • gwbnyc April 30, 2022, 6:45 PM

      I swear I heard him recite “Howl” at Brentano’s on 8th Street c.1981. He was there, I just don’t know if I’m lying about me.

    • steveaz May 1, 2022, 7:46 AM

      Ginsburg’s poem made me cry.

      He wades into the American mire naked and comes out cleaner in the end. “I am putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.”

      Loved it! Thanks.

  • Anonymous April 30, 2022, 5:34 PM

    I don’t see how Vanderleun can cry foul over the pervasive transgender ideologies, pedophilia, etc. and not draw a direct line to guys like Ginsburg and his material as the cause.

    • Vanderleun April 30, 2022, 7:00 PM

      It’s clear you can’t see since it is clear you have a vision problem. Please. You understand so little of what you are talking about here. You seem not to be able to see beyond a knee jerked so hard it’s hit you in the nose. Don’t embarrass yourself further.

      • Anonymous May 1, 2022, 1:24 PM

        if you don’t have a response, just say so.

        If you’re going to carry water for a groomer, just say so, but at least own it.

        • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 1:49 PM

          Thy mental illness goes deeper than thy cliche. Still, when I think of how creative and in touch with the Zeitgeist you are I remember you in your early days with this clip from you own secret bio:

      • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 1:53 PM

        Door ass bang to someone who would dox for his own evil purposes. Good luck in the rest of your always more limited daze and days.

  • ThisIsNotNutella April 30, 2022, 8:32 PM

    Not exactly a Beat, just an English Ex Bum who has reached some kind of enlightenment:

    OLD SCHOOL Farang Spent 36 YEARS in THAILAND (Tells Life Story)

    It’s worth a listen.

  • Roy Lofquist May 1, 2022, 3:41 AM

    At base Watts and his ilk are solipsists. Nothing pleases them because they live in a Hell of their own creation. Or perhapse they are the spawn of Old Scratch himself. They remind us that evil abides.

  • M. Murcek May 1, 2022, 6:38 AM

    Not mentioned at all in the discussion is that the capitalistic America he hated went much easier on his proclivities in the 50s and 60s than lots of other places where the chance of making a buck off his “work” was vanishingly small.

  • Jack May 1, 2022, 7:47 AM

    I’ll be the very first to admit that I don’t care much for poetry but not to any point of excluding all of it and certainly not at all when it comes to the lyrics of some song, all of which seems to require that rhyme be a major element. I’ll pass on 99% of it but most limericks get a nod and a pass for being short, simple and to the point.

    As for Ginsburg, he was everything and more that I detest in another human and I’m thankful that I never had the misfortune to meet or know him or breathe the same air. And, if God’s Word is true his soul is in a place I hope mine never encounters.

    Recently I made a comment about something and G replied that I should not confuse the singer with the song. I didn’t understand it until he cleared it up for me and I thought, you know, he’s right about that. Good way to look at it.

    • Mike Austin May 1, 2022, 9:06 AM

      Another way to look at it: Would a Christian sit in the lap of Christ and read to Him Ginsberg’s “Howl”? What would the Carpenter think of these lines:

      “…who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
      who blew and were blown by those human seraphim…”

      Not quite “Proverbs”, is it?

      • James ONeil May 1, 2022, 11:42 AM

        Hum. Can’t speak for JC or thee but John 8: 10-11

        • Mike Austin May 1, 2022, 11:45 AM

          You really don’t know? Ok then.

          You might pray for guidance, if you are so inclined. Pray for Wisdom too while you are at it.

          • James ONeil May 1, 2022, 1:32 PM

            “What would the Carpenter think of these lines:” No, of course I don’t know, I’m thoughts on what He’d think, nor what He’d think about the lines, “who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,” and “Pilgrim State’s Rockland’s and Greystone’s foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul,…”, that I’m sure differ from yours, -but most certainly, I don’t know.

            No worries Mike, I’m comfortable where and how I am. & as good Ole Matt noted in verse 7….


            • Denny May 1, 2022, 3:02 PM

              Someone might ask, “What is the purpose of this world?
              A wise man should answer, “To slay the Dragon and save the Girl”.
              Thank you Mike for helping to slay the Dragon (sin and death).
              Thank you James for helping to save the Girl (A repentant Church for eternal life)

      • Jack May 1, 2022, 5:14 PM

        No Christian, or even a sane non-believer, would do that but a psychopathic pedophilic, God hating Jew would have no problem with it and more. It makes the putridly demonic pale in comparison and I absolutely refuse to read it. And while I don’t consider myself narrow minded or a book burner type, I tend to think that Ginsberg’s right to say it doesn’t equal some kind of right to publish it. Shit is shit and nothing more.

        • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 6:06 PM

          “I tend to think that Ginsberg’s right to say it doesn’t equal some kind of right to publish it.”

          With all due respect, Jack, you are wrong. So wrong that it doesn’t even rise to the level of “wrong.” Me, I tend to think that your right to think that DOES EQUAL your absolute right to publish it. Which you just did. Above.

          • Jack May 2, 2022, 6:42 AM

            That’s fine. You can have all of my share of the world’s literary filth and perversion and that includes Arthur Miller. Bon Appetit.

            • Vanderleun May 2, 2022, 6:52 AM

              Wherever did you pull “Arthur Miller” from? Did he insult your baby daddy?

              • Jack May 2, 2022, 11:34 AM

                Well, I think Miller is pretty sick too but maybe, in my ignorance, I misunderstood what he was saying.

                And BTW, I did not write the comment posted immediately above. I will disagree occasionally with what you might post or say but I’m very certain that I’m not going to attack you personally. And just so’s ya know….I ain’t got no damn baby-daddy.

  • Skorpion May 1, 2022, 12:04 PM

    Agree with you that KADDISH, not HOWL, is Ginsberg’s masterpiece.

  • James ONeil May 1, 2022, 12:53 PM

    Thanks Gerard. I wouldn’t class Ginsberg as one of the great American poets, but yes definitely, most definitely, of note.

    HOWL never resonated for me though I agree Kaddish is a magnum opus. However, while I’m not one for trigger warnings, I think it deserves a caution; Not to be read if deep in depression!

    Yep, many can’t get past his life style to his verse, can’t do anything about that.

    Oh well…

  • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 1:50 PM

    Another Regular Joe rendered insane by cliched thinking. Best of luck in thy remaining days.

    • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 7:06 PM

      Ah, another brave anonymous whose major problem is his inability to outrun his own flatulence.

      • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 4:51 AM

        It’s that “Wow.” that gives it away. Tell tale sign. See what I’ve been putting up with for the past year? Is it wrong to hope someone kills a stalker?

    • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 10:40 AM

      There it is folks.
      Need I say more?

  • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 2:10 PM

    5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

    6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

    7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them,

    He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

    — John 8 KJV

    One day beyond the month of Easter and yet we forget yet again. Don’t we?

    • Jack May 1, 2022, 5:29 PM

      Jesus was right about that and in this context he was speaking, most probably, to a bunch of men who wanted to stone a woman that, most probably, some of them had had sex with. I seldom think of that verse when trying to sort things out regarding sexual perverts.

      Instead my mind wanders over to Matthew 18:6 and when it does I tend to think of guys like Ginsberg and other baby raping sons of bitches; guys like the thugs of the Third Reich who sent children to gas chambers or shot them on the streets and the millions of people who are child abusers today.

      I’m probably wrong, I usually am, but I don’t believe that Jesus was speaking figuratively. There are not enough millstones on this planet to send all of them into the deepest abyss. But Jesus won’t require them. Just as he drove the Legion into the swine and over the cliff it will take only a moment and only a word.

      I also seem to remember a passage about those who support the wicked but I can’t recall it at the moment.

    • Vanderleun May 1, 2022, 8:35 PM

      Oh Bill you sad man. Don’t quote Shakespeare when you need to quote scripture. Even if it is an easier google search.

  • Tom Hyland May 1, 2022, 6:13 PM

    You people really lost your shit. Self-righteous assholes. Hey, wanna dig up Allen Ginsberg’s corpse and set it on fire? Praise the Lord while yer at it, I’m sure He’ll reach down and give you a biscuit, good dogs you are. Let’s dig up Walt Whitman and set him on fire. He was gay. Let’s get him. How about Oscar Wilde?? Gay?? You betcha! Let’s set him on fire. Jesus will love you. Yeah, Jesus loves this shit. He loves assholes like you. So many jackasses. Hiding behind your made-up phony names. Call me up. I’ll tell you what you are.

    • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 4:55 AM

      It’s only a select few, but more than likely just one – with multiple ID’s as it’s history shows. Nothing to get alarmed at. I’ve been pointing out it’s numerous ID’s for the past year. Just hope it gets cancer and let it go.

  • Hepcat May 2, 2022, 4:29 AM

    Ginsberg’s poetry is mediocre, but nobody wants to be a square.
    “…much of [the poem’s] power comes from its sense of censorious readership, which does not agree that, for instance, the ‘tongue and cock and hand and asshole’ are holy.’” ~David Gates
    The lazy man’s technique:
    “I have a new method of poetry. All you got to do is look over your notebooks … or lay down on a couch, and think of anything that comes into your head, especially the miseries…. Then arrange in lines of two, three or four words each, don’t bother about sentences, in sections of two, three or four lines each.”
    ~Allen Ginsberg
    The literary equivalent of Duchamp or Howard Stern? What would Roger Scruton do?

  • Skorpion May 2, 2022, 8:18 AM

    I wonder how many of you self-appointed *Protectors of American Boyhood* also idolize heterosexual male rock and movie stars, who *openly and unashamedly* dallied with countless underaged females, and praised jailbait-chasing in their art?

    • ghostsniper May 2, 2022, 10:44 AM

      Why would you wonder that?
      As for the boyhood thing, the only boy I stood ready to protect was my own son.
      Everybody else gets to do the same, for their sons and daughters.

    • Jack May 2, 2022, 11:48 AM

      Skorp, sure, there are a lot of guys who get excited about dallying with groupies but I’ll wager that most men don’t and probably never have. There is an abyss between listening to your favorite music or a watching a great movie and ‘idolizing’ someone who chases under aged girls. Speaking for myself and for the guys I grew up with and who I kept up with, none of us that I’m aware of ever considered it.

      And, had any of us with sisters ever encountered some older schmuck trying to lead them into something they were not emotionally or physically able to handle, we would all step in and fix the problem. Might not cure his ass but he mos’def would search in other pastures. Same same with any of our siblings or friends.

      So, try to speak for yourself and avoid the generalization that things that might attract you are universal.