Tuesday, November 21, 2006

he watched over me while I slept

Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems and a Biography - Books - Review - New York Times: Heck, when I sported his poster (the one where he's wearing the Uncle Sam hat) on the wall (overlooking my bed, like some garogoyle guardian angel) in my college room around 1966 or 1967, I had no idea he was "queer," as we used to call it back then. We all thought he was just sort of cool and of the counterculture, like Kerouac and Burroughs and Terry Southern. Here, in a book review, is a lot more than we ever wanted to know about him back then. He's now a piece of history, whacked out as he finally became.

"Gay, in the lotus position, with a beard, wreathed in a cloud of marijuana smoke and renowned as the author of a “dirty” poem whose first public reading in a West Coast gallery was said to have turned the 1950s into the ’60s in a single night, Allen Ginsberg embodied, as a figure, some great cold war climax of human disinhibition. Ginsberg, the hang-loose anti-Ike. Ginsberg, the Organization Man unzipped. The vulnerable obverse of the Bomb. He had the belly of a Buddha, the facial hair of a Walt Whitman and — except for the ever-present black glasses that hinted at a conformist path not taken — he was easier to imagine naked than any Homo sapiens since Adam. "

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