enter the ginsberg

I’m not sure how or when I got it into my head that Allen Ginsberg was a titan of 20th Century American Literature who had moved mountains with his “Howl” (“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”). The way it is put to us, he is an icon, end of story. But when “Irwin Garden” walks into Desolation Angels in “Passing Through: Mexico,” and starts babbling on about Samsara, I just want to grab him by the necktie and tell him to shut the hell up, I’m more interested in junky Old Bull Gaines’ junky cough (ke-he) or little dark eyed Tristessa’s “luvv.” Duluoz likes Garden, sure, he’s an interesting character in a postwar world of “crewcuts and sullen faces in Pontiacs,” but all of Ginsberg’s Samsara, Dionysus blah blah blah — it hasn’t aged well. I keep coming back to what Keith Richards called Ginsberg in Life — “a pontificating windbag.” Ha! There’s some real poetry. Anyway, it’s not that I don’t like you, Ginsberg (“Stop the machine!” You can’t stop the machine”) It’s that I don’t believe you.

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