A Particular Form of Insight

Excerpted from Variations On A Generation by Gregory Corso, ©1959:

–But what do you think about the Beat Generation?–

–A certain style, when you look back on it, old photos, Fitzgerald in Paris, 1920, high society, prohibition, jazz; that’s more what characterized a generation than what they believed in. The fundamental facts are always the same, the style changes, but the facts, my boy, the facts remain.–

–Are you beat?–

–Well I’m not a square, you see a square is some guy who forces himself arbitrarily into a square auto-life mold, because squareness is not a shape that any living creature occurs in. There are varieties of squares in America. Take for instance a sharecropper, only thing he’d share would be his manure, now that’s kind of square, ain’t it?–

–You’re beat, then?–

–Beatness may result from any sort of fundamental experience, a particular form of insight whereby you realize that nine tenths of everything that moves and operates people is _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _!–


They could have taken the time to write a really good song.  Instead, they wrote this one. 😀

Full lyrics HERE, but trust me– there’s no subtle nuance you’re missing.

Spring 66

The little one is me.  It was 1966, and I was three years old.    I’m sitting on the back porch steps in Marion, Ohio.  Beside me is a little jar of solution for blowing soap bubbles.

Grampy is sitting beside me.  I don’t think anyone, not even my parents, ever loved me as much as he did.  He was retired from the Erie Lackawanna Railway.  When he started they were all still steam engines, but by the time he left they had switched to diesel.  The railway doesn’t exist anymore.

I was aware, even at that young age, of how much trouble he had breathing.  A lifetime of smoking Lucky Strike unfiltered had left him with emphysema. I don’t think they had portable oxygen back then.

He would die of a heart attack a year later.  My aunt Helen found him in the kitchen.  My Mom didn’t know how to break the news to me, so she said “He’s with the angels now.”  I understood.  “I guess he won’t have trouble breathing anymore,” I replied.

The dog in front of me was named Tootsie.  He won him in a pool game, coming home that night with the tiny puppy peaking out from his jacket pocket.  The perspective makes him look a little bigger than he really was.  He was a tiny, tiny little dog.

I can’t remember his voice, but I remember Grampy’s hugs.  I can see him, spreading his arms wide, inviting me in.  I remember the roughness of his unshaved face against mine.

I remember his smile.


I heard a Fly buzz – when I died
By Emily Dickinson

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

I’m reading The Portable Beat Reader, edited by Ann Charters ©1992, and it says the poem above was Allen Ginsberg’s favorite. This poem is credited as the reason he used dashes instead of more conventional punctuation in his poem Kaddish.

All of Emily Dickinson’s works are in the public domain and may be downloaded from Project Gutenberg, HERE. (None of Allen Ginsberg’s work is in the public domain, but I don’t think you’ll have to search too hard to find them.)

Lucid Moments

“Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.” ~Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

I have no idea who Mr. Heine was referring to.  Who immediately came to your mind?

Points the Way

The man pulling radishes
points the way
with a radish

~Kobayashi issa


(via Draw & Wings)

Everyone Will Understand

“I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down.”  ~Jack Keouac (source)


“I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.”  ~Allen Ginsberg

Not “doctors,” “Germ Warriors!”

Can America do anything without couching it in military jargon?  Donald Trump is not a “war president” fighting an “invisible enemy.”

He has a health crisis, and he’s floundering.

Nothin’s ever gonna be alright no-how

“I’ll never get out of this world alive” sounds more like Jim Morrison than Hank Williams, but there you go.

Full lyrics HERE.

So Do I

Keeping The Issues Alive

We were so many,
We were working as one,
We were miles of moiling wheat
In a sizzling summer’s heat.
But now we are scattered
and flung far apart,
But you and I still live as one
Through coals in the heart.
And if anything is left
of the coal in the soul,
Oh, flash it to me…

~Ed Sanders, Keeping The Issues Alive