Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg is best known for his poetry and as a LGBT and civil rights activist. Ginsberg was one of the architects of the Beat Generation. In one of Ginsberg’s most famous epic poems, Howl, he celebrates the individual and the destruction both capitalism and conformity leave in their wake.
I think, perhaps, America is my favorite poem by Ginsberg; I thought it was great poetry and it resonated with my cynicism regarding American “values.” Of course, it is difficult not to hear of Ginsberg and hear him claiming: “I slept with the man that slept with the man that slept with the man that slept with Walt Whitman,” somehow divining his greatness from Whitman himself. I believe the succession goes something like this: Whitman slept with Edward Carpenter who slept with Gavin Arthur who Dean Moriarty who slept with Ginsberg.
Here is an excerpt from America:
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.
Thank you, Allen Ginsberg. Thank you for being openly out and gay and thank you for your poetry and activism. Click here to learn more about our Ginsberg.