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AD (Poem) after Allen Ginsberg

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I saw the best minds of the greatest generation ravaged by insatiable encephalovores, wasting confused alone,

dragging themselves through unlocked windows in search of a passage home,

snowy-headed warriors ensnared by synapsoid arachnids that weave tangled webs of vacuity,

who walked hallucinogenic paths populated by imagined boogiemen,

who lashed out at those who loved them in spite of paranoid accusations, tired anguished hurting (both),

who denied their fate their friends their families,

who could not should not would not sleep, but who wandered wandered wandered through vacant nights anorexic streets anywhere nowhere,

who held one-way tickets to oblivion, wayfarers aboard a regressive oppressive time machine,

a lost fleet of ghost ships ingloriously adrift upon the treacherous Sea of Paramnesia,

 

who cursed like sailors fought like rottweilers wore panties for hats bras for scarves sweaters under shirts or no clothes at all,

who with kaleidoscopic consciousness brewed fermented cocktails of psychedelic thoughts,

who called out to little girls who were actually twigs streaming red ribbons,

who shunned bathrooms peed in closets on floors porches themselves,

who braced themselves astride bathtubs to avoid being bathed,

who stashed a bean a pea a memory in plastic bowls above kitchen sinks,

who forgot keys lost keys misused keys, keys keys keys keys keys and wallets,

who sat at gas stations not knowing if they were going to work or coming home,

who chatted amiably with acquaintances in mirrors and porcelain pets on dressers, tracing and retracing vomited facts memories anecdotes real and imagined, disemboweled intellects cast on the floor,

 

who fretted over months-old bank notices just received,

who had to be protected from knives scissors tools medicines predators—quad- and bipedal,

who cowered in their rooms fearful of strangers—everyone was a stranger—and their own minds,

who staggered between incoherence and coherence, lunacy and brilliance, profanity and profundity,

who once spoke eloquently sang joyously wrote profusely but no more,

who lightened lives with fiery eyes that dimmed to embers much too soon,

who peered through windowless eyes that once opened to panoramic vistas of possibilities,

who disappeared before the eyes of sons daughters husbands wives lovers,

who poured memories into sieves for safe-keeping,

 

who grew up in the mountains valleys plains rust belt Bible belt bowels of the inner city,

who worked the mines mills factories fields lumber yards shipyards schools prisons hospitals,

who were teachers lawyers doctors engineers scientists janitors housekeepers bus drivers street cleaners orderlies,

who survived poverty heart disease cancer street fights wars child abuse spouse abuse elder abuse,

who raised their mothers’ kids their own kids their kids’ kids,

who loved walking running biking planting sewing cooking dancing reading flying sailing singing praying working helping sharing living,

who longed for security peace and dignity, only to have security peace and dignity stolen from them,

who unlived much quicker than they lived,

who loved too little too much too few too many too often not often enough,

 

but who—in the end—stood most in need of love.

 

My beloved! I'm with you as you sail the troubled waters,

I'm with you as you traverse the shadowy valley,

I'm with you as you spill your soul into the heavens,

I'm with you, and I kiss your forehead as you lie down to sleep.

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