Dinner With Slinger, Part II:
Fakos in France
(originally published in Kinesis
in a bastardized form, twice in 1996)
Look, if someone's gonna act like an asshole, and the story's a good one, I'm gonna write it. Ginsberg wasn't an asshole though - he was just a disappointment. And though I lived in Boulder for many years, I never met him until I went to France. I was staying at the "expatriate bookstore" Shakespeare and Company where I was "Writer in Residence" (meaning I had a free place to stay and translate Genet) in the midst of drug addicts, drifters and thieves - not to mention crazy old men like Friar Morgan (hopelessly in love with Princess Pia) and George Whitman, the wacky old guy who runs the joint.
(and no doubt, some of these names'll mean nothing to those who weren't there at the time - but I'm just gonna schling my story anyway)
So the Paris fall was toxic as always, and damp and gray with pollution. There was a lotta exhaust, and carbon monoxide. Walking outside was like peeling an onion. And it just kept dragging on. Winter was coming.
But suddenly - there was excitement. Cuz one day George came bounding down the stairs in his bright maroon corduroy suit - and he punched me in the chest - and he cackled:
"Ginsberg's Coming Old Boy! He'll be doing a reading! Yes, Yes! A reading from his new book by Penguin!"
and then he went dancing a jig out into the street, greeting Swedish ladies - talking charming to the Chinese - asking Germans up for tea. It'd been five years since Ginsberg read at Shakespeare - so this was an excuse to break out the rum punch, and have a Christmas party, and everything!
So soon there were flags and banners and lights - and Allen Ginsberg's guru-face was all over the place, and his books were coming in from City Lights - and everything was getting hyper as the time approached for him to come and do his reading.
Meanwhile, my publisher and I (he being another local character there - who runs the cashbox, buying rare books) were scrambling to get my manuscript ready. It was a manuscript I'd been working on for almost three years - a new translation of the poetry of Genet - so we were trying to get it together - so as to get the mighty blurb (from Ginsberg) -
cuz George one night was drunk at the till when I walked in and he jumped up and said:
"Salutations Old Boy, Salutations! What can I do for you? Just name it Old Boy, I'm putty in your hands!"
So I asked him if he'd get his buddy Ginsberg to blurb me - and "Sure thing Old Boy!" George had promised, "Ginsberg? Genet? Why Ginsberg loves Genet! Slept with him even! Yes, Yes! I'll ask him! You can count on me Old Boy!"
So that's why I was sticking around. I wasn't really too excited to see him. I mean, I'd seen him reading at the Boulder Theater - sitting down there in a straight-back chair - head wobbling around like a bobber on a spring, reading "Kaddish." It cost me ten bucks - but I wasn't impressed. I mean, there he was in front of thousands and thousands and thousands of Naropa/ University-type white people OOOOOOOOOOOing and AWWWWWWWWWWWWing as if he were God when it was clear to me that they were buying his theatrics (hook-line-and-sinker) - cuz (in fact) what really was stunning was his howling self-confidence - spouting out words with such masterful precision that envy (actually) was rising like a hardcock - butchya know what? Any cocky screamer could've screamed what Ginsberg screamed that night - and that's what I kept thinking.
These are the words which came to my mind:
Word-Charlatan! Performer! Trickster! Harlequin!
And maybe it was jealousy - but maybe it was something else. Like maybe I really could see right through him. But how could this be? I mean, he (supposedly) is "The Master;" the guy who wrote "Howl;" the only "Prophetic Poet" of the Century (so some claim). I mean, he used to run with Kerouac, and Corso, and Burroughs, and Dylan - all those guys. And he - he made a legend of himself, and he didn't even have to die to do it. And Ginsberg: he's the guy who ran ranting in the streets (at night amidst monoliths) that he had heard the Great Prophetic Voice of Blake! So who was I to think him a shyster? I mean, if I put Ginsberg down - that must mean I think I'm a better person than he is - right? But the thing is, I know I'm evil (so you don't have to tell me I'm out to destroy - cuz I know that already, I admit it) (But I'll get to that later: the reason why I'm BAD)....
So anyway, these were the thoughts I was thinking - and these were the thoughts I didn't wanna be thinking - but still, I wanted to meet him. Dreaded it even - felt that I should. And I wanted the blurb.
Meanwhile, Larz Larsen and I were illegal aliens - painting apartments for Lady. Lady was an ex-girlfriend of George's (so he claimed) and George had gotten us the job. We'd show up at 9 and by 12 we were drunk. Lady would bring us red wine and drink it with us giggling. She'd pay us 50 francs an hour and we'd paint away. We'd paint all her walls - and sometimes her husband, Zen Lunatic - would come on in with a big wheel of cheese. So we'd paint and paint and paint and paint - and listen to my only tape: REO Speedwagon singing "Riding the Storm Out" over and over and over again (the live long version). It was ludicrous.
Larz was a goat-bearded film-maker (Northern Cally whiteboy) and I was a poet.... supposedly. He was excited to meet Ginsberg whom he kept calling "The Angelheaded Hipster," but I wasn't psyched. I was burnt-out from working - and bummed that we couldn't go running through the negro streets at dawn, laughing hysterical naked like "Le Fat Daddy" (as I called him often) - cuz we had to work! Like all artists everywhere (basically) (except, that is, Jeremy Harvitz) (prissy little rich boy! alcoholic!) - my main thesis being: Whereas "Howl" was the epic poem of the "Beat Generation," "Haul" should be the poem of ours. So Larz was joking I should write it - but I'd just shout it out instead, painting at Lady's:
"I SAW THE BEST IMAGINATIONS OF MY GENERATION DESTROYED BY STAGNANCE THOUGH WELL-FED AND 'MAKING IT,' LIVING IN LANDFILLS IN CONDOS IN TOWNHOMES - DRIVING AM/FM/CD MACHINES TO UNIVERSITIES FOR DEGREES AND CUBEROOMS IN THE CITY! - IF NOT SCRAMMING TO BEND OVER FOR SOME DUMB GRUNT JOB: SLOBBING PAINT, SWEATING GREASING SCRUBBING TORQUING WRENCHING HAULING - ALWAYS HAULING, HAULING BOXES, HAULING PIANOS, HAULING APPLIANCES, AND ICE CREAM, AND CORNDOGS, AND COCAINE! KURT COBAIN! HAULING, HAULING, HAULING! - THE MOBIUS STAIRWAYS - BY THE HOUR, FOR THE DOLLAR, HAULING GRASS, HAULING ASS - HAULING WITH A COLLAR...."
and on and on and on like that. Each time I screamed it it came out different.
But then one day in the midst of the hype, I met him face to face. I was walking and talking - eating falafel (as was my habit: migrate/masticate/memorize) - and I was heading down these pee-smelling stairs at St. Michel, over toward the Beat Hotel (or what used to be the Beat Hotel) and suddenly, there he was: "The Great Ginsberg!" Though he didn't look like I thought he would look - I mean: shaggy beard and plump and stuff (to tell the truth: "a trim little fag" is the first phrase which popped in my mind) but it was him. Yep, definitely him. Cuz as I took him in - that thin Jewish nose, those thick liver-lips, everything Ginsberg about him - I saw him stop and watch my reaction. I mean, he saw everything I saw the instant I saw it: he saw me seeing these things (PING! PING! PING!), he saw them register in me - and then he even saw me see the shock on my own face (inside my own head) (as it hit me) so he paused - waiting for me to say what I had to say.... but I wouldn't. Nope. I wasn't gonna kiss his gilded ass, No Way! So I glanced at his golden boy beside him instead. Golden Boy, also, was waiting for me to say what I had to say (I must have had my mouth wide open) but still, I wouldn't. I just shifted my glance back at him, and stood there staring at him. But what's he gonna do - just stand there all day? Hell no! He keeps on walking.
So I had to say something. I mean - I couldn't just meet him like this on the street and not say nothing. I'd kick myself for the rest of my life. So I shout out the first thing that comes to my head:
"PERT BUTTOCKS UPRAISED FOR MY MASTERFUL RAPE WHICH WERE MEANT FOR A PRIVATE SHIT IF THE ARMY WERE ALL!!"
(a line of his which lodged itself inside my mind like a piece of corn between the teeth the day I first read it - so used to shout it out on the phone when solicitors called)
But Ginsberg just kept walking.
So I went to Hell - or rather "Enfer" - which is the oldest porno section in all of France, hidden in the bowels of the Bibliothèque Nationale - where I study "The Galley" (Genet's third known poem) for the ten millionth time, and eventually head back to Shakespeare - where I find my publisher there - so ask him if Victor Hugo came on in, and:
"Yes," he says, "as a matter of fact, he just came in with his little Adonis. And as always, he stood there and looked all around, then asked where his books were."
"So then what?"
"I told him, 'We don't stock your little books anymore. There's no demand for them anymore.'"
So I laugh - then go upstairs to see George - who's 80-something years old, but jumping all around:
"You just missed him Old Boy!" George tells me, "He just came by! Came by for lunch!"
I look on the table. My manuscript's there - right next to the beer.
"Didjya get it?" I ask.
"Didn't get drunk enough Old Boy!" George tells me - and socks me in the chest again.
I go back down.
And then more hype, more energy rising - as the famous day approaches. George is putting up posters from ten years back: Michael McClure doing poetry in Frisco. Gary Snyder giving a lecture. Diane di Prima! Anselm Hollo! It was looking like a Beat convention.
And suddenly George wasn't sick anymore. Before that week he'd been coughing and hacking. But now, he's glowing - and taking those big ridiculous emu-steps all over the place - and constantly, he's dining with "girlies." And his chin's up high and he's wearing his new favorite bright-red pajamas (and not just around in the bookstore, but all over town - at the bank and the market) and every morning there's a knock on my door. And every morning, there's a girlie standing there with a big tray of breakfast - cuz George is sending down fruit, and oatmeal, and big loaves of bread so huge I take em and eat em all day. George is treating me like a king. He never treated me this way before.
"It's because you're his Poet," my publisher told me, "and he's intending on presenting you to Ginsberg."
But George didn't have to. Cuz one day I was down there in the Rare Book Room (which was my room, where I slept and wrote) and I was working with a German translator - when I looked out the window. And there he was. And Golden Boy too. Both of em standing there, and leaning way back, looking way up. Regarding the building as if it's the Past.... but now he's back.
So I rush out to talk to him. I tell him:
"PERT BUTTOCKS UPRAISED FOR MY MASTERFUL RAPE WHICH WERE MEANT FOR A PRIVATE SHIT IF THE ARMY WERE ALL!" again - and await his response.
"Now wait a second," Ginsberg tells me, "say that again would you?"
So I say it again - but before I'm even half-way through, he raises his hand and signals to cease:
"Slower," he tells me (as if I'm so star-struck I'm outta control), "Slower, slower...."
So I say it again. Slower.
"Hmmmmmm," Ginsberg says. "Not 'Pert,' I wouldn't have used Pert. Pert? No. Not Pert."
"Yes," I tell him, "Yes Pert."
"Hmmmmmmm," Ginsberg says, "No.... not Pert. No, definitely not Pert. Perhaps Stern, but not Pert. I wouldn't have used Pert. No. Not Pert."
"No.... not Pert."
The argument goes nowhere. Golden Boy backs away. Ginsberg looks at me - asks:
"So.... I hear it's George's birthday today. How old is he anyway?"
(and I don't know how he knows I know George - when I'm just some guy who approached him one day. This is still a mystery to me. But I answer him anyway:)
"82 or 84," I tell Ginsberg, "he won't tell us exactly."
"Well he called me this morning and told me to come by and wish him a happy birthday."
"It is...." I tell Ginsberg, "....his birthday."
We fall into silence. I don't give a rat's ass for him and he doesn't give a shit about me. He wanders over to the 10 franc books and I go back to translating.
But I can't - not with Ginsberg out there. I look out the window again, he's heading into the store. So I rush out and follow him in. Everyone gathers around. It's a big big scene, flashbulbs going off all over the place - people crowding in. And George, in the center, is eating his dinner (big globs of butter) ordering girlies "Go Get This person! Go Get That Person!" - and everyone's waiting for Ginsberg to say what he's gonna say - and then he (the man whose greatest accomplishment - according to himself - was bringing Zen Buddhism to America) says it:
"Your diet is shit old man."
All hell breaks lose. Pia pisses a puddle of perfumed pee. Roy and Morgan sway in time. George jumps ten feet in the air. Ted Joans guffaws. Flashbulbs flash -
* * * * *
FLASH: here's the dope on Ted Joans: Ted Joans is a poser and his poser history goes way back to his bongo playing days when he used to rent himself out as "a negro" for parties - according to numerous Beat anthologies which he was able to get himself into. Ted Joans is always saying he's a friend of Baraka's or the #6 Beat or something like that. Why just last week he told a Boston Globe reporter how he and Kerouac used to be best pals - and she actually "dug it," so sent this to press. Cuz Ted Joans is the kinda guy who's always sticking his head into pictures - but I know him mostly through Shakespeare where he's always showing up in fashion hats, and fashion pants, quite consciously coordinated with his female companion (both of em looking like the same exact person) - and then they go around smiling their big cheese-grins - and shaking hands and laughing loudly - always presiding over every situation up in the Sylvia Beach - always Smiling Smiling Smiling: "Hi, I'm Ted Joans! Hi, we're Ted Joans!" - cuz they're part of the Jim Haynes butt-sucking club (Felchez-moi, mon frere!) who erect Monuments! to themselves - striving to make their names known as the Intellectually Elite Expatriates of Paris by publishing books about themselves, for themselves, by themselves - (so they don't die unknown) which is Handshake Press - which puts out books like Duck Butter Poems (by Ted Joans), like the flimsy copy upstairs (in George's apartment) - in which Ted Joans inscribes his thanks to George, for all the WOMEN he's met here at Shakespeare: Black WOMEN, white WOMEN, nymphos, nuns, "And even a witch!" All sorts of WOMEN! WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN! - before going on to note how he's done more readings here than anyone else, and how he (alone) brought Black History to France.... and Blah Blah Blah. Though lately, most people know Ted Joans for the same tired poem he keeps repeating whenever he gets the chance to perform it (which I'll repeat shortly - for the ten millionth time) (cuz he muscled it in at the reading) -
* * * * *
But back to the Mayhem, the Chaos: the bookstore going apeshit. Even the lights are flashing on and off. It's like there's a kettle drum going or something - it's like giant gongs are reverberating:
"THE KING HAS RETURNED!!
WELCOME BACK KING!!
THE KING IS BACK!!
THE KING IS BACK!!"
And I can't stand it - can't stand the phoniness, the glory for the sake of glory (the same sorta glory with which Khomeni was welcomed back to Iran) (Senseless Nationalism! Religious Convictions!) - the treating of an individual as if he were God - when, in fact, we all take dumps, and we all have evil/selfish/ not-nice thoughts. Cuz no one's a god! And no one's a rock star - not even rock stars! I mean, it's the hype - not the artist - which people react to. It's so fucking stupid, it's so fucking lame....
And then I see Beauty, rolling her eyeballs, and pushing through the crowd. Beauty is my gal. We go scramming off. We scram to Lady's.
* * * * *
Lady lets me use this flat whenever I wanna spend the night with Beauty. The ceilings are high and the rafters are ancient - 15th century wood in fact. And there's a bed and it's clean, and no roaches, no bedbugs - the whole place smells like fresh paint.
So we take off our clothes and we get in the tub. Beauty has small breasts. I love her. I don't know why I love her - maybe it's cuz she loves me. We drink red wine, talk about "Fakos" -
like all those Fakos putting on shows down at Shakespeare - and over at Handshake - and Everywhere! And loving it, the attention! And Beauty's surprised - surprised to hear me say "I don't ever wanna be that way!" and glad to hear it also. Her cheekbones ride high as she smiles in the tub, and tells me how she's been worried.... worried I wanted to live that way - by tricking others into thinking I'm hotshit - so as to rub elbows with Fakos. Fakos among Fakos. Fakos trying to impress each other with their divine genius.
"Hell no!" I tell Beauty - and it's true: "I don't wanna hang out with Fakos. Getting backslaps from dickwads and dorkheads who parade their selfish selves around, seeking affirmation from each other.... so they don't die in fear of what they fear most. Cuz all that, that's bullshit! That's not real. Ginsberg's Holy Ass! - that's not real. Yucking with Ted Joans! - that's not real. Whatta buncha crap that is! I mean, you, you're real. And I would rather hang with you, beautiful you. Beautiful beautiful not fake you...."
Beauty naked in the tub....
Beauty naked wet with suds....
She's so real. She's my gal - actually wants me to call her "My gal." "I'm your gal," she tells me, "Call me 'Your gal.'" "You're my gal," I tell her.
She's the sweetest gal on the planet - has a nose like a rabbit's. It scrunches up funny when she smiles in the tub (and it looks like a grimace - but it's not). Over the last few months I've loved this nose, as well as the woman behind it.
Then, somehow, the subject changes. I don't know how, or why - but I remember exactly what she says. She says:
"If you can love somebody in spite of your differences.... then that's the most important thing.... I think."
And I am blowed away. I didn't know she could be.........so beautiful.
It's the most intelligent thing I've heard all day, all week, all year - maybe in my life. And I want her forever - to hog for myself, and nobody else - cuz she's True (in the truest sense of "Being True," the cliché). And honest. And beautiful.
And then the word "softwife" comes to mind.
I want Beauty for my softwife.
* * * * *
Then comes the day of the fabulous reading - when George comes running up - and grabbing my arm - he leads me through the various bookrooms - saying:
"I'm sorry Old Boy, I apologize, Apologize! Very very sorry Old Boy! I asked him.... I asked him but he said No. No No No! Absolutely No! He won't do any work in Paris! No No No No No!"
"That's alright George," I tell him.
"I don't know why he's like that!" George says, "He used to be a real nice guy, used to help young writer guys all the time! Used to help them all the time!"
"That's okay George," I tell him. "I don't want his blurb anymore anyways."
George looks at me askewly. He doesn't believe me. Then:
"Come on Old Boy!" he says, "We've got work to do!"
George swings me through the Tumbleweed Hotel (the second floor of the bookstore) - we're linked by the elbows. He's shouting at girlies to "Clean this!" and "Scrub that!" And then he makes me grab the amp - till we're down in the Antiquarian Shop - where he begins to practice his speech:
(and note - most of the following comes from a tape. Cuz my tape recorder was running from this point on to the end of the reading)
"Something Something Something...." George says, "....similar to the publication of Leaves of Grass.... in 1956 when 'Howl' was first published.... Allen Ginsberg.... Allen Ginsberg.... can you hear me Old Boy?"
"Yeah yeah George, I can hear ya."
So he practices and practices and practices. And me, I adjust the knobs on the amp. It squelches, it squeaks - but I find the right place. The dials are all touchy. It takes a long time. But I crank it up as loud as it goes, and George jokes away, laughing his ass off - both of us goofing - having a great time (in act, the best time we ever both had) (together, that is).
But I'm wondering: why is George so jolly? Cuz usually we're so used to each other that we just do our own thing, and never stop to play. Like cold afternoons in the Rare Book Room when George does the books and I translate away - neither of us saying nothing. For hours and hours, notta ding-dang word passing between us (except, that is, when he has a big division problem - so then we'll work it out together, comparing our figures) - but we hardly ever play. But now - now we're playing. And then I find out why: we're on stage: we're performing.
Cuz turning around, I see two or three hundred people staring through the window at us (the window I repaired last year - but cracked). Hundreds of people: looking at us. And standing on things - trying to get a glimpse of us - waiting for Ginsberg.
And then (the next thing I know), Ginsberg arrives - so George is rushing me outside - and I'm setting up the amp - and then the show is suddenly going. And I am standing next to Ginsberg, and George, on stage - cuz now my role is the role of.... Little Amp Boy!
And Goddammit! I am feeling like an idiot. I mean, I never intended on being here - crammed in next to Ginsberg - and George - hundreds of people ogling us. The three of us. And everyone knowing who they are - but no one knowing who I am - so figuring (I'm sure) that I must be a butt-boy. What the hell is this shit?
George goes into his speech:
George: "Something Something Something Something.... similar to the publication of Leaves of Grass.... in 1946 [sic] when 'Howl' was first published.... Allen Ginsberg.... Allen Ginsberg, he lived with.... uhhhh.... Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs in the Beat Hotel.... The Beat Hotel. Just three doors down the street from Shakespeare and Company.... Allen Ginsberg.... he was a habitué of our library upstairs.... and one day.... one day Allen Ginsberg.... decided he wanted to give a poetry reading here in the bookstore.... but he was a little bit shy.... had to have a few drinks before he faced the audience...."
Ginsberg: "I never drink."
(the audience laughs)
And I'm proud of George. George is my hero and this is his moment. He's been waiting five years for this exact moment. And now it's that moment. So he's belting it out with his little old man voice. He's belting it out and it's hard on him - it's draining him, I can tell. George has to yell real real loud even though the amp is doing its best.
Then Ginsberg! He reaches right over, starts messing with the knobs - he screws it all up, he turns off the volume. And suddenly, George is howling out nothing. His great great speech, which I listened to him perfect and memorize - is nothing. Nothing! No one can hear him. Except, that is, for Ginsberg and me and my tape recorder:
George: "And ummmmm.... in those days our bookstore was just a hole in the wall, not a third of the size it is today.... but now of course.... Allen Ginsberg is entitled.... uhhhh.... accustomed to facing customers all the way from Peking to Prague...."
(the crowd laughs. They're laughing at Ginsberg - who, still, is messing around with the dials. And wiggling his ass at the audience. Fiddling away, fucking it up. There's feedback, distortion. And then he puts the knobs right back where I had em in the first place)
George: ".... And ....And we all of us welcome him back.... to read.... in our bookstore in Paris where he.... [* garble ~ garble @ garble *] ....gave his first.... very very first poetry reading!"
Ginsberg: "Okay. Now can you hear in the back? Yeah. What's the best way? Direct? Straight on like this? Yeah. Okay...." [long dramatic pause....] ..
Then George takes off - so I'm standing up there next to Ginsberg. I don't know why I'm standing there next to Ginsberg. I mean, I'm not even his Little Amp Boy anymore - cuz he decided he was the audio expert.
Ginsberg: "Cosmo.... uhhhh.... do you know the association with the word 'Cosmopolitan'?.... uhhh.... it was uhhh Stalin's characterization of Jews.... 'úte les cosmopolitans'...." [or something like that] "....as you may remember. So these are Cosmopolitan.... Yiddish.... Greetings. You see, I was invited to Macedonia to receive a golden wreath at their evening of poetry, and they asked for some sort of...."
So why am I here?(I'm asking myself) Why am I standing up here like some moron next to him and smiling this stupid appropriate grin?
And then he goes into his poem:
Ginsberg: "Stand up against Governments, against God
Say only what we know, and Imagine
Absolutes are Coercions
Change is Absolute...
Ordinary Mind includes Eternal Perceptions
Observe what's Vivid
What we notice..."
And on and on and on like that - slow simple syllables - none of that howling fury from way back when in the days of adolescent passion - Nope! Cuz now he's chanting mantras, pulling New Age haikus - being abstract, uncolorful.... Boring!
And he's reading in that sorta curvy way - that rising happy jovial way - ending each line on an upward crescent - like he did on that Dharma Bums tape I got from the library (and listened to at the plastic factory) - which he slaughtered! Yes! Ginsberg slaughtered Kerouac's prose - with that same stupid senseless Zen Joy tone - which now (I know) would've made Kerouac barf up his guts. I mean he (Kerouac) never wrote in a tone that wasn't his own - and therefore, since he (Kerouac) never found the "glee" which Ginsberg is affecting now, he died a sad sick alcoholic.
And then (of course) Ginsberg goes on to equate himself with Walt Whitman - but that (of course) is standard. Like condescending to the audience:
Ginsberg: "Uhhhh.... Creely uhhhhh.... anybody here know Creely's work?"
(and of course no one goes raising their hand - as would some eager kindergarten kid who knows the name of a color)
Ginsberg [disappointed in crowd]: "Not so many people here know Creely huh? Come on. Okay.... Robert Creely, major American poet.... early poem 1950s called.... 'the Conspiracy Goes.... send me your poems I'll send you mine'...."
I think about Ginsberg, I think about his poems. How they ain't complex with rhythm no more.... how they ain't got no fire inside em no more.... but rather, how they're these quaint little sing-song things.... these little ditties. With dates and times written right after. As if recording the moment when divinity hit him - and always riding that "First word, Best word" wave - which is a lie. Cuz if not in theory (and practice) - then at least in legend - where something is not genuine. I mean, when Ginsberg says "First word, Best word" - what he's actually saying is "Kerouac Christ." Cuz, in essence, he's using a myth to found his religion (Kerouac being his Jesus), thus - providing illusion: the illusion that On the Road was actually written in two or three weeks. So let's get this straight: On the Road took many years to write. It wasn't just whipped up on a big roll of paper - there were plenty revisions. And if you don't believe me, just read Ginsberg's own words (in a book called Heart Beat by Carolyn Cassady) - where Ginsberg has this to say about an early draft of the "Beatific Bible:"
"...a lot of meaningless bullshit I think page after page of surrealist free association that doesn't make sense to anybody except someone what has blown Jack."
So "First word, Best word," My Ass! That's what I got to say about that.
But anyway: I listen and listen and listen - all these people looking at me. Why the fuck are they looking at me? I don't like em looking at me. I don't even like his poems no more. I think they're dumb. And he's a Fako. Fuck this Shit!
So I go away.
I go to the periphery - drink red wine with Beauty - smoke blackhash with friends. And then, when the reading's finally over - Ted Joans jumps in - gets right next to Ginsberg - then drops his trademark poem for the ten millionth time:
"If you should see
Walking down the street
Talking to himself
Do Not Turn
And run away
In the opposite direction
For this man
Is A POET
And you have nothing to fear
From A POET
[big long dramatic pause....]
(Lots of applause - the young and naïve, the stupid and impressionable, join together clapping for brilliance)
"BULLSHIT!" I hear somebody shout from the crowd, "TOTAL BULLSHIT!"
(then realize it's me)
Gotta get outta here!I figure.
But first I've gotta be Responsible Guy - get the chords and amp inside, lock the bookroom up, get my gear - then scram off with Beauty.
So I go in the room - and haul the stuff in - and grab my dirt-green duffel bag (over-packed with all my stuff: my sleeping bag and dirty socks, dictionaries and idiom books) - but then when I turn to leave - someone slaps a green bench down, barring my way. Then Ginsberg sits down - and Ted Joans slides in next to him. The crowd moves in like a mob. A table appears - as piles of books are piled on top. It all happens in less than two seconds.
So now I'm standing there, and trapped there - with a hundred pounds crushing me down - and Ginsberg, and Ted Joans, and 400 people waving their books like swords in the air. So I get aggressive:
I take my big black boot and I stick it in there - I jam it in there - right between Ginsberg and Ted Joans. They squeal. I hoist my bag above my head (like a big side of beef) and yell: "BOMB THREAT!" and go lurching out into the crowd, smacking people right and left. Piles of books go tumbling down. I crush people's feet, knock people down. The crowd parts, they laugh in my wake:
"Bomb Threat!" they chant, "Bomb Threat! Haaawwww! Haaawwww!"
And then I find Beauty, and she takes my hand. And we go running off to Lady's - to spend together my last night in France.
* * * * *
Beauty is bleeding so much she can't make love. She's apologetic and she hates her tampon. But we get naked anyway, and Beauty sucks me off instead.
Then I go down on her, licking her tender red flesh. I tug on the string, I probe with my tongue - bury my face in the soft of her sex. Beauty quirks, Beauty jerks - she sighs as waves pass through her. Her menstrual salt, like wine in my mouth. She comes.
And then, of course (the next day) I'm kicking my way across Paris. I'm on my way to Charles de Gaule - after having left George some hogwash about how I won't be showing up for my reading he scheduled that evening:
"....cuz words"I wrote, "aren't meant for the stroking of egos.... words are meant for revolutions. But thanks for the space to stay and scrawl...."
(Like I said: "Hogwash")
Then I'm boarding a plane, and I'm reading Céline, and I'm flying back to New York City cuz I can't afford to stay with Beauty - so I left her. I left Beauty - and that's when I became officially evil.
END OF STORY
P.S. Dorn never squeezed Mona Groan's boobs. Only in your imaginations.