If All Poems Were Limericks: “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg (continued)

Read Part 1 here.

The hipsters, like tygers, burn bright
for a link to the gears of the night.
They contemplate jazz,
and their poverty has
raised them over the rooftops in flight.

They’ve opened their skulls to the sky
beneath where the El trundles by,
while angels on junk
or just staggering drunk
cross campus with radiant cool eyes.


Happy birthday to Allen Ginsberg, who would have been 95 today.

Read the rest of “Howl” here. (These limericks cover roughly lines 3-6.)

Poetry Crisis Valentines 2021

This year’s Poetry Crisis Valentines:

Roses are red,
Mushrooms are crude.
I saw your great mind
starving, mad, nude.

Roses are red,
violets are blue;
This is the oppressor’s language,
but I need it with you.

Some roses are red,
Some roses are pink;
We’re surrounded by water
With nothing to drink.

Roses are fed
by insects and worms.
Does Man love Art?
Man visits, but squirms.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I told not my Love
& how my Love grew!

Roses are dead,
Violets are through.
I told you my love.
I no longer love you.

Roses are red,
Shakespear’s a hack.
The hair on your head
Is under attack!

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Competent leadership
should not seem so new!

Click here to see Poetry Crisis Valentines from past years.


American Ginsburg Gothic

May her memory be a blessing.

ALLEN GINSBERG: And tho’ I am the King of May
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Dissent speaks to a future age. It is not simply
GINSBERG: The Marxists have beat me upon the street / kept me up all night in police station
GINSBURG: to say “My colleagues are wrong, and I would do it this way,”
GINSBERG: Followed me through springtime Prague, / detained me in secret and deported me from our kingdom by airplane.
GINSBURG: But the great dissents do become court opinions.
GINSBERG: Thus I have written this poem on a jet seat in mid heaven.



Poets Answer an Age-Old Question: Why did the chicken cross the road? (part 2)

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Allen Ginsberg

I saw the best hens of my generation destroyed by butchers, roasted, rotisserie-basted,
wandering across the street at dawn looking for a bawdy cock.


Elizabeth Bishop

The art of crossing isn’t hard to master–
when asphalt’s hot, it helps if you cross faster.

Gertrude Stein

The road
is a road
is a road
is a road
to cross
like a boss
and eat moss.


Click here for part 1 (featuring Dickinson, Whitman, and Shakespeare).

Allen Ginsberg calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, how may I help you?
CALLER: I saw the best minds of my generation …
COUNSELOR: Are you sure? I mean, how can you tell?
CALLER: …destroyed by madness…
COUNSELOR: That is sad. Mental health issues can be very difficult.
CALLER: …starving…
COUNSELOR: Hunger is also a bigger problem than most people realize.
CALLER: …hysterical…
COUNSELOR: No, sir, I don’t find it at all amusing.
CALLER: …naked…
COUNSELOR: And I don’t care who you’ve seen naked.
CALLER: …dragging themselves through the negro streets…
COUNSELOR: Excuse me?
CALLER: …at dawn…
COUNSELOR: I wasn’t asking when; I just–I don’t know where to start with that. First off, the term is African American–
CALLER: …looking for–
COUNSELOR: –unless you’re talking about the streets themselves. Then it’s OK to say blacktop.
CALLER: –an angry fix…
COUNSELOR: Sometimes it’s appropriate to be angry; it’s not always the anger that needs to be fixed.
CALLER: …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,
COUNSELOR: Well why didn’t you say so? Transferring you to the Stream of Consciousness Desk.



Read the original here.