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Excerpts, Good Reads

“America” Still Relevant

When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I wont say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.

Having a poem in your head is like having a song in your head, only quieter and easier to identify. This morning I had Ginsberg’s “America” in my head, so I went to read it again. I like this poem so much that I have a copy right here, on the web.

The fun part is, that a lot of it still rings true today. Two lines that jumped out at me in particular:

I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.

Honestly, I don’t follow the news because I really don’t care about sports, or criminals. KQED keeps bringing up Scott Peterson, who is on death row. I guess his wife’s name is Lacey? I just don’t know, I just don’t care. America, why are you so insane? Or is it me.

And then, JFKerry could dig this one:

My ambition is to be the President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

Because if you are a pro-choice Catholic, your church will back the other guy, who personally ordered a war that the church opposed.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles an hour and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five thousand suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.

Always scared of China. Or is it the terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and sometimes Turkey?

And we have millions and millions in prisons, while chipping away at social welfare . . . but our attention is fixated on foreign countries. Everyone’s abuzz over what country we’ll invade next?

Five thousand suns sometimes makes me think, “is the planet getting warmer?”

When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?

I look forward to this, and I think it will actually happen some day soon, that you will go to the store, take what you want, and your RFID tag, and some biometric, quite possibly the good looks on your face, will authenticate the transaction, and you’ll settle the bill online at home.

But then, what is a strophe?

I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe

The answer:

In modern poetry, a stanza or rhythmic system of two or more lines arranged as a unit. In classical poetry, a strophe is the first division in the triadic structure of Pindaric verse, corresponding metrically to the antistrophe which follows it; also, the stanza preceding or alternating with the antistrophe in ancient lyric poetry.

A strophe is a part of a poem. A blog is a part of a well-formed thought. We’d all like to make a living with our raw words.

Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

I need to stop distracting myself with poetry . . .

I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Fortunately, I like my job.

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