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The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: Allen Ginsberg on the Stand

So he projected from his own desire and from his own unconscious a sexual urge which he felt was normal to the unconscious of most people, though forbidden for the most part to take part.

I’ll go into the bedroom silently and lie down between the bridegroom and the bride.”

He projected as he did in another poem, orgy, City of Orgies, as he called New York, he projected physical affection even to the sexual—or his phrase is “physical affection and all that is latently implied” between citizen and citizen as part of the Adhesiveness which would make us function together as a community rather than as a nation “among the fabled damned of nations,” which was his phrase in the essay “Democratic Vistas.”

Walt Whitman is one of my spiritual teachers and I am following him in this poem, taking off from a line of his own and projecting my own actual unconscious feelings of which I don’t have shame, sir, which I feel are basically charming actually.

THE COURT: I didn’t hear that last word.

THE WITNESS: Charming….

BY MR. WEINGLASS:

[Mr. Foran having completed his investigation of the connection between the poet’s sexual and spiritual interests, Mr. Weinglass then commenced his redirect examination.]

Q: Do you have a poem before you entitled “Howl”?

A: No, I don’t have that. It is in another book than this one.

Q: Can you recall that poem without reference to the other book?

A: I can’t recite it all. I know fragments of it, yes.

Q: Could you recite to the Court and jury the fragments that you can recall?

A: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro
   streets at dawn looking for an angry
   fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the
   ancient heavenly connection to the
   starry dynamo in the machinery of
   night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-
   eyed and high sat up smoking in the
   supernatural darkness of cold-water
   flats floating across the tops of cities
   contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven
   under the El and saw Mohammedan
   angels staggering on tenement roofs
   illuminated,
who crossed through the United States,

cross country seventytwo hours to
   find out if I had a vision, or you had
   a vision or he had a vision to find
   out Eternity,

who were expelled from the academies
   for crazy & publishing obscene odes
   on the windows of the skull,

who broke down crying in white
   gymnasiums naked and trembling before
   the machinery of other skele-
   tons,

who were dragged off the roof waving
   genitals and manuscripts,

who screamed with delight in police-
   cars for committing no crime but
   their own wild cooking pederasty
   and intoxication,

who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars
   boxcars racketing through snow
   toward lonesome farms in grandfather
   night,

who moved through universities with
   radiant cool eyes among the scholars
   of war hallucinating Arkansas and
   Blake-light tragedy,

who coughed on the sixth floor of
   Harlem surrounded by orange crates
   of theology,

who protested the narcotic tobacco
   haze of Capitalism,

who chained themselves to subways for
   the endless ride from Battery to
   holy Bronx on benzedrine until the
   noise of wheels and children brought
   them down shuddering battered
   bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
   in the drear light of Zoo…

What sphinx of cement and aluminum
   bashed open their skulls and ate up
   their brains and imagination?

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans
   and unobtainable dollars! Boys
   sobbing in armies! Children screaming
   under the stairways! Old men weep-

ing in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Mol-
   och! Moloch the loveless! Moloch
   the heavy judger of men!

Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse
   and Congress of sorrows! Moloch
   whose buildings are judgement! Mol-
   och the vast stone of war! Moloch
   the stunned governments!

Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
   Moloch whose blood is running
   money! Moloch whose soul is electri-
   city and banks!

Moloch whose smokestacks and anten-
   nae crown the cities!
Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless
   hydrogen! Moloch whose name is
   the Mind!

Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch
   in whom I am a consciousness with-
   out a body! Moloch who entered
   my soul early! Moloch whom I
   abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light
   streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments!
   invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries!
   demonic industries! monstrous
   bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch
   to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios,
   tons! lifting the city to Heaven
   which exists and is everywhere about
   us!
Dreams! adorations! religions! illumina-
   tions!
Ten years’ animal screams and suicides!
Real holy laughter in the river! They
   saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy
   yells! They bade farewell! They
   jumped off the roof! to solitude!
   waving! carrying flowers! Down to
   the river! into the street!

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