Variation on Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" (1)
Variation on Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" (2)
Variation on Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" (3)
Variation on Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" (4)
Variation on Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" (5)
Someone somewhere bashes open dream rocks of cement to reveal an aluminum
Sphinx and a granite government rooted in despair and disrepair.
Someone somewhere is incomprehensible, is in prison, has wild eyes, longs for holy
solitude, juggles a thousand blind skulls, and eats his soul for an encore.
Someone somewhere screams like an animal trapped in skeletal suburbs of a spectral
nation whose stone old men weep unconsciously telling stories of new loves.
Someone somewhere whose blood is running money goes mad, hallucinates
invincibly, yells to unknown people, and climbs suicide stairways to crossbone
electric jailhouse city hall poverty.
Someone somewhere whose skyscrapers stand lifting the city to heaven, whose heart
is pure machinery, carries the vast spectre of genius to the tomb of the children,
screaming cannibal love songs.
Someone somewhere whose name is the nightmare and the miracle who is a straight
shot to the light streaming out of the sky and down street of our American river
has visions in glorious technicolor and spews omens in hydrogen fire.
Someone somewhere cries, smokes, laughs, waves, gets comfortable in a robot
apartment with a boatload of sensitive demon smokestack ecstasy waiting to
abandon or be abandoned, to connect or be connected, to dream or be dreamed, all
in good time.
Someone somewhere sits lonely and invisible whose love is an endless oil ocean under
armies of clouds marching like thousands of Yahwehs and thousands of Christs
and thousands of Mohammeds fighting their way to treasuries of blind capital in a
heaven paved with video snow.
Someone somewhere makes a stunned breakthrough in a loveless bus station nation
of endless fantasies where souls jump off roofs of ill-illuminated religion down to
the river, to the lifting waters of the flood praying for epiphanies and settling for
Body to body and soul to soul for longer than I care to admit
and—still—I am yours.
I am yours in resurrection.
I am yours trudging through desert memory lapse.
I am yours murdering the mercy shown by strangers.
I am yours waking up victory forgetting why it is mine.
I am yours dropping like an angel from the Western sky.
I am yours when the worms run inside my shocked veins.
I am yours writing of nights in bedsheets soaked in sweat.
I am yours cataloging superhuman secretarial indiscretions.
I am yours living like pingpong in the abyss of hostage coma.
I am yours in the war that never leaves us a moment’s silence.
I am yours armed to my eyeballs with rocks to pummel your
I am yours walking across the void for a spot of tea amidst
collapsing walls of privacy.
I am yours hitchhiking highway heavens to catatonic piano
soundtracks from which I will never return.
I am yours on pilgrimage to screaming regions where insanity
plots its straightjacket dreams illuminating imitation
I am yours singing anthems to the final skull on the final day
of the final invisible revolution in which no soul is
I am yours in freedom and in slavery, in solitude and in throngs,
in the unforgiving light of day and the denying
dark of night, in praying and receiving, in fighting and in
I am yours . . . no matter what, I am yours.
Armies of old men in stairways, boys sobbing in war:
nothing ever changes.
If I were expelled from the past after hollow-eyed
aluminum nights and an endless high with no heavenly
connection to the fast-forward dynamo stars, cowering
in deadend academies for the crazy and the ancient,
ashcan eyes staring in terror through the wall, I would
give up hope.
If I got busted returning reciprocating memories to empty
university libraries, radiant and weeping and hysterical,
staggering through the dawn looking for death or
purgatoried solitude where madness smokes across
generations of fodder, ranting and drunk in the
supernatural backyards of hip-hop cities, I would give
If I rode the methamphetamine el until the noise drained
my connection to you, dragging me through open skulls
and ate my brain in an endless ride from the tattooed
torso of the night burning with a belt of strange desire, I
would give up hope.
If I ate the cold fire of incomparable blindness and
wandered streets of bashed roaring winter to the heart of
the tree cemetery to lay a wreath of silk flowers on the
grave of the beloved king with no light of mind, I would
give up hope.
If I called a shuddering cloud home and the lightning in
my brain ignited turpentine fantasies and opened
windows of escape and filled wastebaskets with money
dreams and with batteries too weak to power my
extremes, I would give up hope.
If I cruised the dawn with my brain in my hand on my way
to subway heaven past the storefront city, shuddering in
the shadow of the concrete sphinx and hallucinating
marijuana angels teahead joyriding neon blinking
ashcans floating with waking nightmares, I would give
If I suffered poverty in tatters, screaming under unshaven
faithless rumors of battered brain bleakness and drugs
and the children of the skull, I would give up hope.
If I were the machinery of chipped-paint flops or dank,
ill-illuminated hovels where children listen to the echo
of what brought them down, I would give up hope.
If I were one of the army of old men or one of the sobbing
boys or one of those praying for change in this
unchanging world, I would give up hope. And I ask you,
“Who would not?”
I quote the kabbalah like some visionary Indian angel in a bleak furnished room far
from the forests and the mountains and the plains with their roaming herds of
I say, "Seen one jailhouse, seen ‘em all."
I am lost and wandering in a railroad prison yard with no footprints to follow except
my own and I am not inspired.
I imitate picture postcards of Atlantic City hustlers on a roll, johns of the cross,
telepathic window washers, and intellectuals disgorging total recall.
I am a boxcar full of worthlessness racketing through snow like a Red Cross nurse on
her way to stop suffering Kansas.
I eyeball the scene, immune to the kicks and shocks snaking out of saint-named
hospitals and corporate prisons and my instinct prepares me for the sweats, and the
tangents, and the incomprehensibly ambiguous streets of explosive hydrogen
I play the heavy slagging the cosmic pad to bar the door to continuous wars, leaving
desolate conversationalists listening to migraine symphonies from the china closets
of the rich and whispering facts and fancy memories and endless junky withdrawal
I talk a good game.
I wonder off fire escapes and the ledges of seedy flops toward lonesome farms in
I murdered my dozen dreams, lit cigarettes in Jersey, left bone-grindings in the
synagogue, and staggered off to Idaho seeking a vision while jumping off the stoop
in the crack of my heart.
I studied to no end, howled at the moon, yakked at distressed angels who were the
judges of midnight with brilliant eyes and enough meat for one more uninvited
I vanished to nowhere new zen hours from here to where to beer after noon in my
mumbling grumbling stumbling around in the shade of my doomed congress.
Millions of Americans march at midnight,
taking a little bit of the grave with them,
obsessed with a sudden flash of symbolic
radio, an abrupt attack of long-lost love, an
unexpected dream of superficial salvation
and a sly nightmare of fingers.
Millions of Americans stand with you in the
tenement window, emptying the hypnotism,
running through the icy streets in a mad
ellipse, cataloging the wire of time
monstrous with the echoes of the soul,
rocking the madhouse and the cemetery and
the academy streaming out of the sky.
Millions of Americans lie on psychotherapy
couches, pingponging back-and-forth
between where they are and the concrete
void of states that cough, lobotomized in their
bedsheets, lost in the blind sanity of suicide,
demanding hugs and kisses as they mount
you, resting briefly in United States of
Motivators, lecturers with bombs.
Millions of Americans believe they should be
given apartments, invisible behind clouds of
official paperwork on the granite steps of
the madness, invincible in the face of wards
of insulin amnesia.
Bless them with their insanity.
Millions of Americans tumble to the suburbs,
skeleton keys in bloody hands, tears lifting
jury, safety a last spectral fantasy on the
lonely road to catatonia.
Millions of Americans fail to rise in humorless
protest, fail to overturn the last telephone
slammed in their ears, fail to demand
instantaneous restitution, fail to cultivate a
healthy habit, fail to exact vengence on
those who broke their backs, failed to
demand safety, failed to close the daisychain
of injustice, failed to take their rightful place
in the order of things.
Millions of Americans retired from public life,
singing the final stanzas of some sappy
ballad as they hallucinate the alchemy of the
ultimate mother of all trials.
has had 4 books and a chapbook published and 3 CDs released. His poetry has appeared in: honeydu, After Hours, Ink & Ashes, Milk Magazine, Poetry Bay, and Saw, among others. He has performed at venues in NYC, London, Chicago, and others in such events as Insomniacathons, the Viking Hillbilly Apocalypse Jam, the Big Sur 40th Anniversary Read, the London International Poetry & Song Festival, the New York Underground Music & Poetry Festival, the U.N. Dialogue Through Poetry, Around The Coyote, WLUW David Amram 75th Birthday Celebration, and many ChicagoPoetry.com events, including several Chicago Poetry Fests, Poets Against The War, the 22nd Annual Chicago Blues Festival, and the 21st Annual Printers Row Book Fair. He hosts The Café Tuesday night open mic and The DvA Gallery 1st Friday Poetry Readings.