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Re: CAP-L Digest - 7 Apr 1997 to 8 Apr 1997 (fwd)Re: CAP-L Digest - 7 Apr 1997 to 8 Apr 1997

My sprig of lilac...

I met Ginsberg the first time (there was only once more, more formally,
years later) in 1986, in Boulder.  I was 22 and in the CU writing program;
it was the days of the Sandinistas and The Country Between Us; I was
arrested that summer protesting CIA recruitment on the CU campus.  Needless
to say, I was all ears for Ginsberg's waking me up to the military
industrial complex, a term I'd just heard for the first time around that
time and which now appeared in just about every paragraph I spoke.  I saw
Ginsberg read and play his concertina at a benefit for I forget what in an
old church.  Jack Collom also read, Brakhage showed a couple of fifteen
second scratch and shadow films, I forget what else.  A tune stayed in my
mind for years after the reading before I finally identified the words:
"Celestial jailhouse, our joy's in the cage / Hearts full of hatred will
outlast my old age."  Alas.  Following the reading, there was one of those
fabled writer parties (actually, now that I think about it, it was another
night, because Creeley was there as well, in town for his stint at Naropa)
that I've only actually witnessed once or twice: Ginsberg opened his house
in Boulder which overflowed with students, poets, and I'm certain lots of
walk-ins off the street.  I was dazzled.  I smoked a joint with a famous
Western poet and embarrassingly coughed.  At one point I found myself
standing next to Ginsberg in the kitchen.  I introduced myself.  He asked
about what I was doing and I mentioned a class studying the relationship of
writing and painting.  He quoted me some of his verse on the subject -- I
can't remember it now, but remember thinking, How desperately he wants
people to appreciate his recent work!  I asked him where the bathroom was;
he took me around the corner, but there was a line.  Come uptairs, he said,
and led me to his bedroom.  Now at Naropa, every time Allen pulled out a
cigarette there were several lads there in an instant saying, Light that
for you, Allen?  So I was wondering what this meant.  I'm straight, but I
was into experience -- I was a Long Island boy at a writing program in
Boulder!  But also just making mental notes.  Beautiful house, spacious
bedroom, original woodwork, wide burnished staircase, tasteful sparsely
furnished bedroom in what was not his year-round home.  I finished in the
upstairs bathroom and came out and thanked him and went back downstairs.
I'm still not sure whether he stayed outside because he was interested in
me, because he wanted to make sure I didn't steal anything, or both.  Wow,
I thought (and still think): I was just alone with Allen Ginsburg in his

Not particularly a eventful story, but it's my memory of Ginsberg.  It's
only been 10 years, but it seems now a lifetime ago.  The poetry --
particularly that of the late 50s/early 60s -- stands on its own.  Less
appreciated, I think, is the degree to which Ginsburg remained a resolutely

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Article-ID: 04_1997&1218155
Score: 78
Subject: Re: Radio station Tropical 98.3 silences Cuban pop -- Miami Herald article