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It’s All One Thing #69: Allen Ginsberg at the Church of the Covenant 1978 (a Stone Soup Event)

 

Oh, I sang along, rolled in the aisles by Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright
a line going through my abdomen I dangled, Jesus, Jesus Christ, KEY-RIST
there must a been a hundreds of poets
                                                                            there
There should have been a covenant: restless psychosis, heads bandaged wigs,
disparate dipsomania, poor souls in hairy jerkins, severely serious pulled back hair,
nose picking neuroses, hypochondria hacking, all the various and most of the sundry,
writing dis-eases, teeter-totter eyes, a bright hole of the moon madness, fears of each
                                                                                                                  and every other.
I went outside shy to smoke my joint. This guy came up to me and said, “Black, black
I thought, black the blackest thing, I thought 3 gay one of them plays a banjo, I thought
open a coffee house by a navy base with all those sailors, I thought, black.” I said
“Is that black, man?” He said, “Black, black, Black Panthers, black man. Do you have a
commitment?” I said, “Do you want me to get a gun, man?” He said, “You can’t get me
that easy.” I said, “Do you want me to get a gun, man?” He said, “Oh, would you?”
I said, “I ain’t ready for that.” And he hang around and we smoked my joint with
Visions of John Hancock burying Bon-twits and the buildings angle dragons in the mist
swirling together edges of mirror coming together this guy under a hood so delicate
this child’s face come peering out at me “the rain has brought the angels down”
I say, “you think so, man,” he says, “no, you don’t, in Spain they say that when they’re
really cursing.” I say, “far out!” He says, “no, it’s nothing, it doesn’t matter, nothing
matters.” “Say I’m really glad to know that. Really, thanks,” I say. He sprints away
as Allen Ginsberg comes out surrounded, if only we each there that night could all
do the same we could all poetry, we could out do Amway, poetry all over the nation
poets pyramided supporting each other chain mail geometric every burgh blossoming forth
some local madness, God, it could become an institution, only I wanted to get down on the
killing room floor, I wanted to be washed in the blood, I wanted, you know, to know the world
right there in the tree of the world, strip my bones, hammer my head, I wanted to be
that Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright in the forest of that night, that animal my ancestor knew it to be,
knew how to be whenever they didn’t even want to be, just be without even contemplating
my bones, dead, on the subway, another, yet another subway poem, confession and exorcism.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Today marks his one year anniversary as a poet columnist for Oddball Magazine.

 

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It’s All One MORE Thing: Stone Soup

 

When I first moved to Beantown I lived on South Russell St .
at the base of the poor side of Beacon Hill
so it was right down Cambridge Street
where I took my son to the Yellow Submarine sandwich shop.

It reminded me of Midwestern garage sales except the junk was art.
The diverse paintings on the walls,
the burgeoning, small press publications,
the stacks and shelves of used books
bespoke not a business but life on its own.

I didn’t quite know what to make of it,
but it made me remember the late 1950’s
when I was a kid frozen time with everyone
waiting to live out a pre-ordained life
no one much less me wanted to live
until my big brother left Catcher in the Rye
lying around leftover from freshman Lit. class
and he and his friends sat in bedrooms
quoting Holden Caulfield at each other
as a lengthy form of a conversation
they didn’t know how to hold on their own
with Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk
screaming agony and colon the hi-fi.
Maybe anything could happen.

And everything did happen at Stone Soup
at workshops and open readings,
at Stone Soup Moving company
with pianos and refrigerators,
microphones, voices and bodies
and ever present, urbane notebooks
and scratchy, itchy, bleeding pens
and even when the storefront was lost
to become a travel agency finally
forever haunted by Bill Barnum’s and brother Blue’s
prancing ministrations and romping incantations.

It was like jack just pulled up oars
and weighed anchor to float through a picaresque novel
adrift across the oceanic city
finding port at arcane watering spots
like the Maverick Bar, the Sword and the Stone,
Peter Piper’s Restaurant, Charlie’s Tap,
and now T.T. the Bears.

I came and went living around
the rim of the flesh eating ghetto
in Dorchester , Mission Hill and Jamaica Plain
and going through a poetical love affair with mime
but Jack was always there early in the morning
glorious Summer dawn in Faneuil Hall Flower Market
when we met under the giant Ficus Benjamina
me certain in the knowledge we were the fountain of life
watering the tree at the center of the world in poetry.
This poet-tree was an in depth blessing for the city
at the beginning of its day and the end of mine.
Jack was just starting and I’d seen him the night before.

There were Jack Kerouac birthday parties and counter-inaugural balls,
readings in front of city hall, Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti come to town,
events from Newburyport to Somerville to Dorchester
from the hub across to Cambridge there really was an ersatz community
of poets and musicians, painters and sculptors, storytellers and performers,
mimes, dancers, and guerilla street artists.

Oh, Pogo where are you now that we really need you
or how can you find the far middle when you’re really nowhere at all
but we were really trying for all the cats who never got to the gig.
We were singing in all the voices that never got to hear the song
even if we were the word that couldn’t be heard.

It was all there.
Anybody could and probably did get up there and let it all hang out.
Sometimes it was way out there. Sometimes it wasn’t.
But as theater it never lacked the immediacy of surprise, the heart of drama.
It did have a life of its own. It’s here right now. This is just the beginning.

Who’d have thought there could be so many flavors
brewed from those same old stones.

Here’s to all the poets men and women, gay and straight,
young and old, Wombats and way too human, feminists and brothers,
fugitives from his story, the disabled healing them selves,
bikers, behemoths, and leviathans, Hindu-Christian, Buddhist, Muslim
Native, American, mystic, atheist, humanist conundrum
Ecological, maniac, world, mother, pagan, animist shit bums
               Of all the nations of all the world
            Whoever, whatever, whichever, whenever, why!?!

                       Because we’re here?

Because New Yorker magazine said Beatniks are back?
                 Naw. Because we’re hippies?
                 Naw. Because we’re punks?
                 Naw. Because we didn’t go away.
                         Because we’re alive.
                         Because it’s just the beginning.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine. “Stone Soup” was written in 1993 (before it’s current meeting place at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery) and was published in the inaugural issue of Spoonful.

 

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Poem by D.A. Boucher

 

Allen Ginsberg’s, “Howl,” epic statement that set the tone, and, along with, Kerouac’s, On the Road, a generation was born, the much lauded, infamous, Beat Generation, now into their, 80’s and 90’s and deceased, and yet, their works remain, fresh, exciting, inspiring, over priced; however, fifty-six years have ensued since the, Fifties, much has come and went, Beats, Beatniks, Hipsters, Squares, Hippies, Yippies, Dippies, Yuppies, Guppies, Dinks, and all the conflict in between, over those years, decades defined by increasing mass media corporate encroachment, with trend setting entertainment restrictions, CEO taste maker’s political correctness limiting popular acceptance, conform to their norm, straight edge images, home, family, stability, hilltop mansion glory, welcome to, 21st Century U. S. of A; in these short attention span times, Howl’s, three page plus length, is too long, ADHD-ADD-ABC-STP minds, annot focus for the minutes to read, Howl, all the way through, Haiku, Tanka, Limerick, those are the forms of, Poetry, for the current era, get in-get on-get off-get out-in under thirty seconds, television commercials were, 2-3 minutes, now they’re, 3 – 10 seconds, almost, subliminal; time is now for a new Howl, a, Howl, for these times, a, Howl, that is quick to read, one page, and is easy to read, not too many big words, obscure references, or images, one track for the 21st Century Mind, to be read, and understood, and passed on, and, I’m, just the, Poet to do it.

Let us, cease living in the past, let us now, move forward, into the, Twenty-first Century, let us, stop pretending that we have already, let us go-go-go-baby-daddio!

 

Howl (ing)
For the 21st Century
[Another Mother Tongue]

w/a tip ‘o’ da hat & a nod to, A. Ginsberg
04/25, 26/14

I’ve seen great, gay minds
of generation wasted,
lost, and wandering,
amid culture’s wreckage,
spoused-het’mo’d, example set.

Genocide’s victims
seek roots history buried,
goddess dieties
in ashes lay at man’s feet,
patriarchetypical.

Brother’s images,
injection-plastic molded,
reality camped,
social framework – pigeonholes –
confine – restrict, Ken’s, movements.

Sister’s visage,
blue-jean-print-landscape designs –
hips – breasts – butts squozed in
arboretum boundries,
hand holding – strolling pathways.

Holy erected,
corporate ad-ministers
popular unset,
mass media – underground
disinterns, Mother Culture – – –

Mother Culture, rise,
spread wide, gossemer embrace,
multi-coloured wings – – –

 

Howl (ing)
Epilogue

04/25, 26/14

Only in hindsight
do we see forward movement,
trail of features lost –
natural evolution –
cultural change ongoing – – –

Cultural change ongoing,
as wasted generation
is social wreckage,
lifestyle purchased regrets –
forward – only in hindsight – – –

 

Lament for, Nouns Past – Present
04/30, 05/02/14

There will be, no more, Morrison Poems,
or, Ginsberg Epics, or, Bukowski Poetry,
or, Kerouac Stories, or, Kesey Novels – – –

There will be, no more, Cassidy Wanderings,
or, Nash Wonderings, or, Dickenson Hymns,
or, Guest Rhymes, or, Steinbeck’s Perceptions – – –

No more, hitch-hiking across, America,
or, breakneck driving on the road,
or, hopping freights, boxcars locked – – –

No more arrests, or, obscenity trials,
or, Custom’s Quarentines, or, bannings,
or, plain brown wrappers – – –

There will be, no more, Powers Hosting,
or, Blue Improv’ing, or, Frank Depressing,
or, Coop Translating, or, or, Weiners Featuring – – –

There will be no more
for, they’re no more,
passed on to the great garret in the sky – – –

Memory’s influence remains,
body of inspiration entombed
between, Poet’s, back pages – – –

Dead rise like zombies
from musty shelves,
and roam, seeking brains – – –

Lay down, allow to be consumed,
digested, into literature,
to rise – renewed – reborn –

     There will be more – – –

 

Benediction for Nouns Past – Present
Reincarnation

05/02/14

There will be more – – – raised
voices – celebrating, Potes,
reborn within, Pomes,
metaphor echoes – singing –
silver syllables ring out – – –

Silver syllables
ring out unto etheral,
butterfly winged plaine –
colors – notes – shapes form – boogie –
bop – froog – there will be more – – – raised – – –

 

Illustration © James Conant
Illustration © James Conant

 


D.A. Da Butcha” Boucher
is heavily influenced by, Jim Morrison, Pete Townshend, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac Novels, William S. Burroughs Novels, and Allan Ginsburg’s short Poems. He enjoys reading, Emily Dickenson live, accompanied by a band ripping punk riffs.

 

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Poem by Doug Holder

Eating Grief at Bickford’s
For Allen Ginsberg

There are no places anymore
Where I can sit at a threadbare table
Pick at the crumbs on my plate
And wipe
The white dust
From my pitch
Black shirt.

The old men
Who used to spout
Marxist
Rants from
The cracked porcelain of their cups
Are gone
The boiling water
Ketchup soup
The mustard sandwich
They used to relish
All that so lean
Cuisine.

Oh, Hunchback
In the corner
Your lonely reflection
In the glass of water—

And Tennessee Williams’ Blanche
Eyes me through her grilled cheese
“Pass the sugar, sugar”
She teases.

Maynard
The queer
Late night
Security guard.
His policeman’s hat
Draped on his head
Looking like a
Sacrilegious rake
His countless
Renditions
Of defending his honor
In the amorous, crazed embraces
Of muscular young men
How he protests…
Too much…too much.

The discarded men
Blue blazers
Shedding their threads
Outcasts with newspapers

Stains of baked beans
On their lapels
Fingering a piece
Of passionless cod

Lulled by their
own murmur.

 

Illustration © Stacy Esch
Illustration © Stacy Esch

 

Doug Holder has worked as a counselor at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. for over 30 years, and for many of those years has run poetry groups for psychiatric patients. His own work has appeared in the Endicott Review, Arts Around Boston, Stuff at Night, The Boston Globe, Compost, The Boston Poet, 96inc., and elsewhere. He teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. He is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville, Mass. The poem above is an excerpt from his new collection Eating Grief at 3 A.M. from Muddy River Books.

Stacy Esch lives and works in West Chester, Pennsylvania, teaching English at West Chester University. Digital art and photography are the twin passions that compete alongside her interest in writing, reading, songwriting, and gardening. She has previously published work at Turkshead Review and wordriver literary review. She is currently selling a calendar through Spruce Alley Press.