After The Flood

Steven Taylor, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. Photo by Saul Shapiro

 
 

APRÈS LE DÉLUGE

(Fragment)

 

“…Sourds, étang, — Écume, roule sur le pont, et par-dessus les bois ; — draps noirs et orgues, — éclairs et tonnerre, — montez et roulez ; — Eaux et tristesses, montez et relevez les Déluges.

Car depuis qu’ils se sont dissipés, — oh les pierres précieuses s’enfouissant, et les fleurs ouvertes ! — c’est un ennui ! et la Reine, la Sorcière qui allume sa braise dans le pot de terre, ne voudra jamais nous raconter ce qu’elle sait, et que nous ignorons.”

 
 

_________________________________________________________

 
 

…”Rise, pond: – Foam, roll over the bridge and under the trees: – black drapes and organs – thunder and lightning rise and roll: – Waters and sadness rise and raise the Floods again.

Because since they abated – oh, the precious stones burying themselves and the opened flowers! – It’s wearisome! And the Queen, the Sorceress who lights her fire in the pot of earth, will never tell us what she knows, and what we are ignorant of.”

 

Arthur Rimbaud

Poem from Illuminations

Ode to The Onion

Nude With Onions, Robert Lavigne, 1954.

Peter Orlovsky met Allen Ginsberg while working as a model for the painter Robert Lavigne in San Francisco in December 1954. The two fell together almost instantly, and remained a couple for three decades.

 
 

ODE TO THE ONION

Onion,
luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
happened
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
make you,
onion
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
upon
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.

Pablo Neruda

The Only People For Me

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

Jack Kerouac
On the Road

 
 

Portrait of Jack Kerouac on Fire Escape, Allen Ginsberg, New York, 1953

In Music I Trust

James Joseph Marshall

 
 

“I love all the musicians – they’re like family. Looking back I realize I was there at the beginning of something special, I’m like a historian. There’s an honesty about this work that I’m proud of. It feels good to think, my God, I really captured something amazing.”

 

Jim Marshall (1936-2010) was born in Chicago and moved to San Francisco with his family when he was only two years old. There in the City by the Bay he remained during his lifetime. A Brownie camera was one of his first toys. Later he bought a Leica when he was in high school. After coming back from the serving in the Air Force, Marshall met John Coltrane. One day, while he was photographing backstage at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco in 1960, Coltrane asked him for directions to Berkeley. “He asked me for directions to a club,” Marshall said later. “I told him I’d pick him up and take him there if he’d let me take his picture.” This way the visual linkage between Marshall and the best jazz and rock performers was strengthened.

 
 

John Coltrane

 
 

Thelonious Monk & Allen Gingsberg

 
 

Ray Charles

 
 

Miles Davis

 
 

63 marshall

Miles Davies & Steve McQueen

 
 

The Beatles

 
 

The Rolling Stones

 
 

Jimi Hendrix

 
 

Janis Joplin

 
 

Grace Slick

 
 

Jefferson Airplane

 
 

Jim Morrison

 
 

Led Zeppelin

 
 

Alice Cooper

 
 

The Who

 
 

Bob Dylan

 
 

Johnny Cash & June Carter

 
 

John Lennon

The Same Rediscovery of Individual Soul’s

“The influence was that originality of taking the materials from your own existence rather than taking on hand-me-down poetic materials, speech units, rhythmic units and trying to adapt your life to them – you articulate your rhythm, your own rhythms. The concept of that led, in the ‘forties, to Abstract Expressionist painting and (Willem) de Kooning and (Franz) Kline, it led, in music, to Ornette Colman and all, and uh.. who was a teacher there? – the guy who died two [actually, four] years ago – John Coltrane. It was the same rediscovery of individual soul’s impulse that led into Coltrane.”

Allen Ginsberg
In Partisan Review, in 1971, (speaking of William Carlos Williams)

 
 

Patti Smith photographed by Danny Clinch, 2000

 
 

To watch a documentary short chronicling the influence John Coltrane has had on other musicians, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

Bob Dylan photographed by Allen Ginsberg

 
 

I’ve seen love go by my door
It’s never been this close before
Never been so easy or so slow

I’ve been shooting in the dark too long
When something’s not right it’s wrong
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

Dragon clouds so high above
I’ve only known careless love
It always hit me from below

But this time around it’s more correct
Right on target, so direct
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

Purple clover, queen Anne Lace
Crimson hair across your face
You could make me cry if you don’t know

Can’t remember what I was thinkin’ of
You might be spoilin’ me too much, love
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

Flowers on the hillside, bloomin’ crazy
Crickets talkin’ back and forth in rhyme
Blue river runnin’ slow and lazy
I could stay with you forever and never realize the time

Situations have ended sad
Relationships have all been bad
Mine’ve been like Verlaine’s and Rimbaud

But there’s no way I can compare
All them scenes to this affair
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

You’re gonna make me wonder what I’m doin’
Stayin’ far behind without you
You’re gonna make me wonder what I’m sayin’
You’re gonna make me give myself a good talkin’ to

I’ll look for you in old Honolulu
San Francisco, Ashtabula
You’re gonna have to leave me now, I know

But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass, in the ones I love
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go

Bob Dylan

From the album Blood On The Tracks (1975)

 
 

To listen to Miley Cyrus’s version of this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

The Rimbaud Complex

Paul Verlaine (far left) and Rimbaud (second to left) in a painting by Henri Fantin-Latour, 1872

 
 

Perhaps the best model to explain the artistic ideals of both the jazz musicians and the Beat writers would be the late 19th-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Rimbaud’s attitudes towards the artist’s duty to create was quite similar to that of the jazz musician and the typical Beat poet (though it is likely that the Beat poet would purposefully imitate Rimbaud while the jazz musician would be unaware of any similarities).

Rimbaud drank heavily, wrote poetry at a young age, and “burned out” much like a number of drug-using jazz musicians. Rimbaud’s dedication to his art was so fervent that, around the age of 21, he arrived at the point where he could do no more. Beats claimed Rimbaud as another “Secret Hero,” much like Charlie Parker or Miles Davis. The “Rimbaud complex” was an attitude that both the jazz musicians and the Beats shared.

Many Beats used heroin, Benzedrine and other drugs in adulation of the jazz musicians which used them, hoping that the drugs would do for them what they supposedly did for greats like Parker. Jack Kerouac wrote his most famous book On the Road, frequently heralded as the definitive prose work of the Beat era, on a three-day stretch fueled by a Benzedrine binge. William S. Burroughs used his dependency on heroin as an inspiration for books such as Junky and Naked Lunch. This is a tale with no moral, nevertheless, we know the high price they had to paid for getting into “artificial paradises” that later became “a season in hell”.

We Are an Observer

Basquiat smooches his last girlfriend, Kelle Inman, in 1987 in his studio. Inman and Basquiat met when she was working as a waitress at Nell’s; two days later, she was living with him.

 
 

COSMOPOLITAN GREETINGS

(Fragment)

“…Advise only yourself.

Don’t drink yourself to death.

Two molecules clanking against each other requires an observer to become
scientific data.

The measuring instrument determines the appearance of the phenomenal
world after Einstein.

The universe is subjective.
Walt Whitman celebrated Person.
We Are an observer, measuring instrument, eye, subject, Person.
Universe is person.

Inside skull vast as outside skull.
Mind is outer space.
“Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound.”
First thought, best thought.

Mind is shapely, Art is shapely…”

Allen Ginsberg

The Weight of The World is Love

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Photo  by Allen Ginsberg, December 1987

 
 

SONG

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
constructs
a miracle,
in imagination
anguishes
till born
in human–
looks out of the heart
burning with purity–
for the burden of life
is love,

 
 

Jean-Michel Basquiat with an earth globe on his shoulder. Photo by Christopher Makos, May 29, 1984

 
 

but we carry the weight
wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love–
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
–cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

–must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye–

yes, yes,
that’s what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

Allen Ginsberg

Remember The Future

“Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions. Notice what you notice. Observe what’s vivid. Catch yourself thinking. Vividness is self-selecting. If we don’t show anyone, we’re free to write anything. Remember the future.”

Allen Ginsberg

 
 

Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg in Paris’s Place St Germain-des-Prés. Photograph by Harold Chapman, 1956

To The Rhythm of Jazz

Bebop en Cave Vieux Colombier, photo by Robert Doisneau, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, 1951.
After the Second World War, this Parisian neighborhood became the center of intellectuals and philosophers, actors and musicians. Existentialism co-existed with jazz in the cellars on the rue de Rennes.

 
 

Bebop or bop is a style of jazz characterized by a fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on the combination of harmonic structure and sometimes references to the melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. This style of jazz ultimately became synonymous with modern jazz, as either category reached a certain final maturity in the 1960s.

As the Beat movement was getting underway, bebop was already going strong, especially in New York City, where 52nd Street was bustling with activity in jazz clubs up and down its length. Bebop was an innovative style of jazz which saw its heyday in the ’40s, characterized by smaller combos as opposed to big bands and a larger focus on virtuosity. Bebop’s renaissance came about in the heart of New York City, where musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Miles Davis were ushering in a new era for jazz music.

Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and friends spent much of their time in New York clubs such as the Red Drum, Minton’s, the Open Door and other hangouts, shooting the breeze and digging the music. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis rapidly became what Allen Ginsberg dubbed “Secret Heroes” to this group of aesthetes.

Why did jazz suddenly become such a driving force behind the writings of the Beat authors? What similarities can we find between jazz musicians and the Beats? Perhaps the most obvious comparison we can make is indicated by the very word “beat.”

“The word ‘beat’ was primarily in use after World War II by jazz musicians and hustlers as a slang term meaning down and out, or poor and exhausted”. Kerouac went on to twist the meaning of the term “beat” to serve his own purposes, explaining that it meant “beatitude, not beat up. You feel this. You feel it in a beat, in jazz real cool jazz”.

The Beat authors borrowed many other terms from the jazz/hipster slang of the ’40s, peppering their works with words such as “square,” “cats,” “nowhere,” and “dig.” But jazz meant much more than just a vocabulary to the Beat writers. To them, jazz was a way of life, a completely different way to approach the creative process. In his book Venice West, John Arthur Maynard writes:

 

Jazz served as the ultimate point of reference, even though, or perhaps even because, few among them played it. From it they adopted the mythos of the brooding, tortured, solitary artist, performing with others but always alone. They talked the talk of jazz, built communal rites around using the jazzman’s drugs, and worshipped the dead jazz musicians most fervently. The musician whose music was fatal represented pure spontaneity.

 

Thus, without the Beats, the jazz movement would probably have rolled right along. But, as we have seen, the Beat movement relied heavily upon the genius of great such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis for the inspiration that produced such valuable works like Kerouac’s On the Road and Ginsberg’s Howl. How fortunate that the two movements coincided at just the right time.

Everything Is Holy

Photo by Robert Doisneau

 
 

FOOTNOTE TO HOWL

“Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand
and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is
holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an
angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is
holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is
holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy
Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs
holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering
beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks
of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop
apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana
hipsters peace & junk & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy
the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the
mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the
middle class! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebell-
ion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria &
Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow
Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the
clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy
the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the
locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucina-
tions holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the
abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent
kindness of the soul!”

Allen Ginsberg

Berkeley 1955