Happy Birthday Mr. Ginsberg
The text below is a repost. Allen Ginsberg would be 85 today, if nature had not made other plans in 1997. There is going to be a Howlfest tonight. Rumor has it that PG will create a disturbance by reading Howl 2011.It should be a festive evening.
Writerspot, in addition to some exercises that PG abuses, a selected author of the month. Today, it is Allen Ginsberg. When going to the inevitable website, PG learned that Peter Orlovsky died May 30, 2010. Mr. Orlovsky was the longtime lover of Mr. Ginsberg. Clearly, it was time to hit the keyboard.
Allen Ginsberg had a part in many new age dramas, with a few musicals and comedies thrown in for good measure. Hippie, beatnik, gay, artist, peace promoter, Buddhist convert…these are a few of the labels. He became famous for being famous, well known to people who never read a word of his poems. Two of the more famous were howl and kaddish.
Howl became scandalous in 1956 when it was busted for obscenity. It is mild by today’s standards, but almost landed Mr. Ginsberg in prison. PG heard about howl in the early nineties, and looked high and low for a copy. He could not find one. Today on the internet, not only is the print widely available, there are recordings of Mr. Ginsberg reading his work.
The original plan was to listen to Mr. Ginsberg read while editing photos. PG was going to listen to the words, and think of something to say while listening to the bard. About the seventeenth time Mr. Ginsberg shouted “Moloch”, the plan began to fall apart.
The next poem was Kaddish. This is about Naomi Ginsberg, the mother of the poet, who evidently had some issues. This was tough for PG to listen to. The other night, PG had a disturbing dream about his own late mother. In this dream, a fearsome shouter came in wearing a black suit, which meant that he intended to do some scary shouting. PG went into another room, where his recently deceased mother was laying on a table.
In the aftermath of his mother’s passing, PG worked closely with an aggressive Jesus worshiper, who enjoyed humiliation for Jesus. This person declared war on PG, when asked to turn his radio down. PG feels like Jesus let him down, and finds it difficult to forgive the so called son of G-d.
1956 was the year of the obscenity trial for howl. This took place on the other side of america, from the Brookhaven where PG was two years old. This was the year when his brother was born, the year when the Georgia legislature voted in a new flag, for whatever reason. In 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack. Many wondered if it was a good idea to have Richard Nixon as the vice president.
Finally, PG could stand no more of that voice. The player was turned off, the files stored on an external hard drive, never to be heard again. PG just is not a poetry person. The pictures, edited while listening to Allen Ginsberg in performance, are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”