Who Doesn’t Love Half Centuries of Angelheaded Hipsters?

I’m swamped and frazzled, so I’ve got nothing for you, except this: this year is the 50th anniversary of “Howl.”

They say that the best art continues to feel immediate and relevant, no matter how much time has passed.

I read

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

And I don’t know how to hear that with anything but fresh ears.  I just can’t make myself see Mohammedan angels as fifty year old ghosts.   I can’t believe the scholars of war are dead.  I can’t hear Ginsberg talking to anyone but me right now, right here, wondering “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?”

America, how can you not love poetry?  I for the life of me don’t understand it.  Why you don’t walk around with “Howl” stuffed in a back pocket so that you can pull it out and read it to your co-workers at lunch, argue with your buddies about it at the bars at night, I just don’t know.

4 thoughts on “Who Doesn’t Love Half Centuries of Angelheaded Hipsters?

Comments are closed.