Editor’s Note: Because this weekend is the occasion of the annual Howl! Festival in New York City, it seemed like a fitting time to publish this piece (which just came over the transom this morning).


Dedicated to the late Allen Ginsberg


It’s midnight, somewhere in the Village.

It’s a different time, a younger era

America is booming, even as it cowers in fear

of those pesky Reds overseas — as well as

the ‘secret’ ones in their hometowns.


It’s midnight, somewhere in the Village.

Amidst the bland conformity of white picket-fence

corporate America

This is an enclave — a place for the rejects,

the outcasts, and the visionairies.


Inside the tenements and the low-rent living quarters

Their minds, hands, and bodies are working in holy harmony

Not merely following their muses, but seducing them —

Throwing them to the bed and showing them who’s boss.


It’s in the fertile wombs of these muses — those glorious,

translucent naked angels — where art is born.


It’s midnight, somewhere in the Village.

A young poet named Allen is listening to

Charlie Parker on the stereo.

And just as Charlie must blow, Allen must howl.

His prose is raw, pure, and varnished with truth.


It’s actually true that Allen took off his clothes

when doing his readings.

He was as naked as his poems, as perfect in form

as the words flowing from his mouth.

But there was more purity in him — that lone nude poet

Than in one hundred suburban businessmen, each one

trapped in the three-piece suit that he lets define him.


So howl on up in Heaven, Allen —

Light up the night sky with your prose.

And until we meet in that big coffee shop in the sky

All we can do is howl on

Howl on through the night, naked and perfect

Howl on until the dawn breaks.


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