Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aimless Reading: The G's, Part 9.3 (Allen Ginsberg)

Ginsberg, Allen
Collected Poems 1947-1997

I think I found this in a box of donated books at Just Buffalo and brought it home with me.

I used to have a friend in New York, D, who was a little bit on the loopy side. He came to New York without any education or known artistic ability in any field and immediately set about trying to make himself famous. He bought a guitar one day and the same night got up at an open mic to play and sing a song he wrote that afternoon. He took acting classes for years in hopes he might make it in that arena, but he found he could only act if he were not acting from a script but from a scene he'd written for himself -- about himself. In my last years of contact with him, he and his then-wife decided to become filmmakers. They spent two years and all of their money producing, writing and directing a film that was, from what I heard, painful to watch. Then he joined the marines and eventually ended up divorced, remarried, with a child, and working on Wall Street.

He also had an obsession with famous people and felt no qualms about walking up to them on the street and starting a conversation. He had run-ins with Lou Reed, David Lee Roth, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones (on separate occasions from Stummer), and, for purposes of this entry, Allen Ginsberg.

His first encounter with Ginsberg came when he decided to attend an open audition for the part of Sal Paradise in what was going to be Francis Ford Coppola's version of On The Road. D showed up at the audition at a church near Lincoln Center fifteen minutes after the all-day open casting had wrapped up. He somehow snuck in a side door of the church and found himself standing in front of Coppola and Ginsberg. Coppola told him to go home, that the audition was over. He pleaded with the director, saying, Someone must have given you a break. Can't you just give me a chance. Coppola replied that he had had all day to audition and that he should have come eight hours earlier. D further pleaded that he'd had to work all day and couldn't make it. Finally, Ginsberg interrupted to scold D, saying: This is what is wrong with your generation -- you are too selfish. You could never play Jack Kerouac. He was angelic in a way that you will never be.

Some time later, D came to a reading by Ginsberg at the Dia Center. Afterward, he approached and asked if he could talk to him. Ginsberg acted as if he recognized him and apologized if he'd forgotten. He then handed D his card and said to call if he wanted to get together for coffee. D called and called, leaving hundreds of unreturned messages on the answering machine. Over time, I think he became fixated on the perceived injustice of this and started to say nasty things into the answering machine. Amazingly, Ginsberg never called the police on him.

from Collected Poems 1947-1997

My Team is Red Hot

My dick is red hot.
Your dick is diddly dot.

My politics red hot.
Your politics diddly-plot.

My President's red hot.
Your President's diddly-blot.

My land is red hot.
Your land is diddly-knot.

My nation's red hot.
Your nation's diddly rot.

My cosmos red hot.
Your cosmos diddly iddly squat.

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