Friday, November 24, 2006

Punk President, eat up the FBI w/ yr big mouth

50th Anniversary of Howl

For what it's worth, I saw Allen Ginsberg read as they say in the poetry business at St. Mark's Church back on May 9, 1979. He called his brand of poetry spontaneous bop prosody or something along those lines. He did a lot of improvising that night, and I still have the notes I made, just a couple pages in a small notebook I kept. Here are some of the highlights I jotted down:

"Performance became an although

All haikus are about frogs

The beautiful city lacks wood

A glass wallet
Smoky currency
New York on fire"

... I guess you had to be there...

...I know I was...

Afterward people gathered around the legendary, bespectacled beatnik, and he obliged the young hipsters of the time by signing autographs and good-naturedly chatting, very down to earth ... Someone proferred a cigarette pack and Ginsberg signed his name on it. I always thought autographs were a waste of time, but looking back I should have had him sign something. I could have scanned it onto this post and who knows it could have changed the world in some small way. I did have the Irish poet Paul Muldoon sign the back of that very same notebook when I saw him read at Hofstra a short while later. Muldoon later went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Coincidence? That's not for me to decide.

The PUNK ROCK YOUR MY BIG CRYBABY poem is clipped from the Village Voice from around the same time. I may or may not have purloined it from Jack Mello, the guy from Boston who turned me onto punk in the first place, while we lived on the same dorm floor at Hofstra University. I used to help myself to a lot of stuff back then if I wanted it bad enough. Sorry Jack, but as you see at least I put it to good use after all these years hanging on to it.


ib said...

Well, all right. I ticked all three boxes.

I like it.

Is that "Punk Rock Yer My Big Crybaby" in its entirety ? Or just your notes ?

Either way, it's pretty cool. Small notebooks are the best.

Ginsberg is all right. Thanks.

The Warden said...

actually, ib, the poem is in the newspaper clip, just click to enlarge and you can make out the words.

ib said...

Man, I missed that completely. Cheers.

ib said...

And I don't see now how I could have missed. Short of Attention Deficit Disorder.

Actually. Now I read it, I think I prefer your cut up from the evening's performance.