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“Howl” is a groundbreaking poem written by Allen Ginsberg, a Beat Generation American poet. With its initial publication in 1956, “Howl” is a raw and potent expression of countercultural rebellion that deals with issues of societal critique, individual liberation, and the pursuit of a higher purpose. The poem became a defining piece of Beat literature and a turning point in American poetry because of its blunt language and unreserved exploration of taboo issues.
About the poet
American poet Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was a key member of the 1950s literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Ginsberg’s writing is distinguished by its candor, fervor, and examination of social and political themes. His poetry reflected his support for sexual liberation, individual freedom, and anti-establishment ideologies. Ginsberg frequently used long lines, stream-of-consciousness writing techniques, and a combination of personal narrative and social commentary in his writing. He is regarded as one of the most influential poets of the 20th century because of his contributions to American poetry, which have had a long-lasting effect.
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 illuminated,
The poem ‘Howl’ by Allen Ginsberg is a stunning expression of his experience with insanity. The poem’s first line draws the reader’s attention by claiming that the speaker, Ginsberg, has seen the “best minds of [his] generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.” The song also mentions Solomon, to whom he dedicated the poem, as well as his other acquaintances and companions throughout his life. Ginsberg went on to say in the second line that he witnessed his buddies dragging themselves around the streets in the morning “looking for an angry fix.” This poem was written during the Beat Movement, a time when poets like Ginsberg were highly influenced by African American culture, particularly jazz music. In line three, the poet uses juxtaposition by referring to his buddies as “angel headed hipsters.” Ginsberg’s pals were into jazz, African American culture, and drug usage, and they felt an angelic connection to the “machinery of night.” He compares the sky to a power plant and explains their battles with drugs, lack of sleep, smoking cigarettes, and jazz. The fifth line employs ambiguous religious imagery, such as the Hebrew name for God, and incorporates aspects from other religions. Another difference for readers is that religion arrived to these “mad” friends amid destitute settings in a bad area of town.
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war, who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull, who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall, who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York, who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,
Ginsberg is a poet who was dismissed from Columbia University for putting a negative message on his dorm room window regarding the university president. He also mentions one of his favorite poets, William Blake, and his companions who were studying among war experts. This event most likely left him with an unfavorable attitude toward organized education. Ginsberg tells how the “best minds of his generation” were arrested for bringing marijuana into America from Mexico, eating fire in pain motels, and drinking turpentine in Paradise Valley. Paradise Valley is a particular allusion to a hotel in New York City where drugs are inexpensive and people who are highly addicted to drugs frequently stay. This is one of the poem’s early references to homosexuality, as Ginsberg was openly gay throughout his life and suffered as a result of being institutionalized.
incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between, Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind, who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo, who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox, who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge, a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State out of the moon, yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement, who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,
Ginsberg’s poem offers an inner picture of a street of storm clouds, a metaphor for a dead end. He then outlines where his pals go to consume drugs, specifying Peyote solidities of halls particularly. The drugs give users a “kind of light of mind,” which contrasts with a vision of the same individuals shackled to “subways for the endless ride from “Battery to Holy Bronx.” His friends in New York suffer on this ride, and when they get out, they feel lost. Many unique language choices are made in this portion of the poem, such as the “hydrogen jukebox” at the end of line twenty. His friends may converse for hours on philosophy and nonsense. They scream, vomit, mumble, and recall significant recollections of “shocks” they suffered in hospitals. Sometimes the speaker’s companions vanish completely, leaving behind a “trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic city hall,” a reference to a New Jersey neighborhood.
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal in Newark’s bleak furnished room, who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts, who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night, who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas, who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels, who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain, who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa, who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago, who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets, who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
Ginsberg wonders where his mad friends may have ended themselves, speculating that they might be suffering from withdrawal or another sickness. His friends were intelligent individuals who studied history, literature, theology, and other subjects, and who were drawn to higher notions from an early age. In this part, he names various towns before moving on to a description of Spain, Africa, and their disappearance into the “volcanoes of Mexico.” He is always concerned about where his pals went on their trips, whether physically or psychologically, as they try to make sense of the world. Finally, his friends return to the “west coast” and include allusions to the antiwar movement, one of the numerous significant movements in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s, through the phrase “investigating the F.B.I. and beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes.” They also objected to “Capitalism” and the “narcotic tobacco haze” it produced.
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed, who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons, who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication, who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts, who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy, who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love, who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come who may, who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword, who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman’s loom,
Ginsberg’s poem portrays Carl Solomon’s hospital’s fear of communists, as well as his companions’ abuse of cops and physicians. He uses typically “obscene” words to describe his friend’s sexuality, as well as his friend’s constant screaming, sobbing, and “madness.” He also gives more particular examples of sex, such as morning and evening interactions in rose gardens and on public park grass. However, when men lost their love, women became pregnant, and the “intellectual golden threads of the craftsman’s loom” were cut, everything changed. This shows that fate had other plans for Ginsberg’s friends.
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness, who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake, who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver—joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses’ rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung-over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices, who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steam-heat and opium, who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion, who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery, who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music, who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts, who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology,
Ginsberg’s poems explore the power of sex and heterosexuality as a replacement for conventional social practices. He used slang terminology and exaggeration to describe female genitalia. Ginsberg and his pals went to prostitutes, and he was smitten with Neal Cassady, whom he referred to as the “Adonis of Denver-joy.” Sex appeared pleasant in the earlier sentences, but it changed to something more terrible when the guys awoke and drove to a drug field. They contemplate suicide yet continue to suffer, cry, live cheaply, eat awful food, and listen to horrible music. They eventually “sat in boxes, breathing in the darkness under the bridge.” Ginsberg’s mad friends are also sick, and not only destitute and drug-addicted.
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish, who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom, who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg, who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade, who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were growing old and cried, who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality, who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer, who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steamwhistles, who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each other’s hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation, who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity,
Ginsberg’s friends compose poetry and other creative works, but when they view them in the morning, they realize they are nonsense. This is in contrast to a vegetarian who consumes decaying meat. The guys finally attempt suicide, not because they are sad, but because they believe they are becoming old and crying. They entered a new reality characterized by advertising and corporate avarice and attempted to resist by acting out, killing themselves, breaking things, and more. They go through routes from the past, spending hours in the car, seeking to learn about “Eternity.” Despite their difficulties, they remain on the lookout for significance.
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes, who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other’s salvation and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a second, who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz, who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave, who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung jury, who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy, and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & amnesia, who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia, returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East, Pilgrim State’s Rockland’s and Greystone’s foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon, with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 A.M. and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination—
Again, the city of Denver is mentioned in this poem. The men stayed there. But they were usually depressed when they departed. Ginsberg describes the guys as opposing colors of light and black once they met criminals and went to prison. The men carried on in this fashion until they retired. They traveled and indulged in their insanity even back then. They sought the mountains of North Carolina for “Buddha,” traveled the southern Pacific, and accused the radio of “hypnotism.” Despite understanding that the rest of the world is insane, they were the ones labelled as insane.
The poet cites the City College of New York as well as the Dada art movement. The students hurl potato salad at their lecturer, displaying a reactive and anti-structure mode of expression important to the Dadaism, anti-art movement. The author incorporates other references to insanity and the harsh treatment that men in psychiatric facilities, including Sandberg and Carl Solomon, to whom the poem is dedicated, underwent.
Then they tipped over their ping-pong tables, which are popular in mental institutions, in protest of what they had to undergo. They then fall quiet, experiencing a state of catatonia. Finally, when they are released from the hospital, they are bald and scarred from potentially invasive therapy such as lobotomies. In this statement, he makes explicit references to three separate psychiatric facilities. The hospital where Ginsberg and Carl Solomon first met, the hospital where Ginsberg’s mother and Solomon both received treatment and the hospital where Ginsberg’s mother died. Ginsberg argues in these words that the world is breaking apart.
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you’re really in the total animal soup of time— and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipsis catalogue a variable measure and the vibrating plane, who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head, the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come after death, and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America’s naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.
Carl Solomon is in danger, and no one is immune from the “total animal soup of time.” Ginsberg discusses poetry, Solomon’s circumstances, and how the poet has created ‘Howl’ so far as a catalog of events and descriptions. He claims that poetry has magical characteristics and that it is essential to life. Poets compose to discover the “beat” of the “mad man bum and Angel.” Writers hope that their poetry will be read by future generations and that they will be remembered. The poem’s final line implies that poets produce poetry and, in doing so, remove a part of themselves. The mad friends are creators who are making a difference in the world.
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men! Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities! Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!
The second section of ‘Howl’ begins with a question. It is followed by a long sequence of exclamations and the repeating of the term “Moloch,” which denotes ugliness and all of the world’s ugliest elements (many of which are mentioned in this section). The unusual term is used repeatedly as if the speaker is frantic to get his thoughts out there. The second part is based on the speaker’s investigation into what caused his companions to go insane in the first section of the poem. He specifically blames the enigmatic “Moloch.” It is constructed of cement, aluminium, and other modern materials. He believes that this “sphinx of cement and aluminium” shattered his friends’ heads and ate their brains and imaginations.
While many of these lines are difficult to break down into their constituent parts, it is evident from the poet’s instances of repetition and references that he believes modern American culture has devastated the young and clever whom he considers his friends. The section’s lyrics are sometimes presented as an explanation for why the poem is titled as it is. The speaker’s rage and fury, his “howl,” are audible and strong. Ginsberg claims that the mind has become hellish as a result of what Moloch, a metaphor for modern American culture, has done to the “best minds of [his] generation.”
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch! Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky! Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs! They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us! Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river! Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit! Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time! Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!
The next lines include multiple examples of exclamations in which the speaker describes Malik’s presence in his life. It crept into his spirit at a young age, and no matter what he accomplishes, he “wakes up in Moloch.” He is troubled by government policies, society’s intolerance of sex, particularly homosexuality, capitalism, and the country’s political system. In line 89, “they” in American society broke their backs, raising this form of civilization. It may be found “everywhere about us.”
Capitalism, violence, and the unaccepting nature of American culture are all negatives in general. Dreams, adjustments, illuminations, and “religions” are among the excellent things the earth has to give, according to the poet. The poet’s previously presented “river” is on its way to a waterfall. The world has reached the point when “new loves” are being pulled over a massive waterfall and crashing “on the rocks of Time.” The speaker says that the only wonderful things in society will end up here, bruised and shattered. The “best minds” are described as being on the waterfall’s brink, and when their situation worsens, they “bade farewell” and plunge over as well. This suicide reference is an important part of the poem. They throw away their lives, and their “solitude,” and journey down the river.
Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland where you’re madder than I am I’m with you in Rockland where you must feel very strange I’m with you in Rockland where you imitate the shade of my mother I’m with you in Rockland where you’ve murdered your twelve secretaries I’m with you in Rockland where you laugh at this invisible humor I’m with you in Rockland where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter I’m with you in Rockland where your condition has become serious and is reported on the radio I’m with you in Rockland where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses
The third part of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ is considerably different from the first two. Here, he employs Walt Whitman-inspired tactics such as anaphora and repetition to produce an extremely rhythmic, jazz-like pattern of words. He specifically says “I’m with you in Rockland” more than fifteen times. He addresses his comments directly to Carl Solomon. He informs Solomon that he is with him in Rockland, a mental hospital that neither of them visited but, as Ginsberg himself observed, was rhythmically more intriguing than the reality. Solomon, like Ginsberg’s mother, was institutionalized with other “great writers” who were all suffering from the same issues. “I’m with you in Rockland” becomes a chant for him, something he repeats over and over.
Ginsberg also gives readers a few examples of Solomon’s seeming craziness throughout the poem. This includes his “invisible humour,” his conviction that he murdered his “twelve secretaries,” and other things. His situation is critical enough that it has been “reported on the radio.” This last phrase is certainly exaggerated.
I'm with you in Rockland where you drink the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica I’m with you in Rockland where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the harpies of the Bronx I’m with you in Rockland where you scream in a straightjacket that you’re losing the game of the actual pingpong of the abyss I’m with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse I’m with you in Rockland where fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a cross in the void I’m with you in Rockland where you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha
In the following portion of the poem, the speaker refers to Solomon’s caretakers as “herpes,” refers to the preceding sections’ “ping-pong” game, and portrays Solomon hammering on the “catatonic piano.” Ginsberg also mentions the electric shock therapy that individuals like Solomon endured within these lions. He implies that the man was never the same after it. That his spirit “will never return…to its body again from its pilgrimage to a void cross.” The medications had no effect on Solomon. In fact, Ginsberg seemed to imply that they exacerbated his position.
I’m with you in Rockland where you will split the heavens of Long Island and resurrect your living human Jesus from the superhuman tomb I’m with you in Rockland where there are twentyfive thousand mad comrades all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale I’m with you in Rockland where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets the United States that coughs all night and won’t let us sleep I’m with you in Rockland where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls collapse O skinny legions run outside O starry-spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here O victory forget your underwear we’re free I’m with you in Rockland in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night
Solomon also appears to have suffered from hallucinations, paranoia, and the delusion that the hospital was filled with communists. Ginsberg also refers to a possible romance the two had in which they hugged and kissed “the United States under our bedsheets.” Line 111 is extremely long, sometimes occupying three visible lines on a page. He informs Solomon that he is with him in Rockland, where they are electrified “out of the coma” by our “souls’ airplanes.” Ginsberg imagines a future in which the downtrodden have the potential to rise to the society that has placed this horrible captivity on them in these words. In the future, when the hospital becomes a battleground, the patients, or “skinny legions,” are freed and given the ability to fight back. The poem concludes with another lengthy line in which Solomon goes with tears in his eyes from a long “sea-journey” over the highway of America to Ginsberg’s home in the “western night.” But it’s all a dream, and the two are reunited.