No One Howls Anymore

I’ve been recently teaching my students Whitman, and introduced them to Ginsberg. While I haven’t written any poetry in a while, I really got inspired by rereading “Howl” and “America” by Ginsberg. At the same time, I have come to the conclusion that I fundamentally hate the 21st century (perhaps more on that later). Anyhow, here’s a quick poem written as a nod towards Ginsberg’s poetry and style.

 

I saw the best minds of my generation

destroyed by a billion tiny screens in silence.

Dreams, thoughts –personal fucking agency —

abandoned to the quiet cadence of mouse clicks,

rhythmic typing, fingers touching glass, searching for connection

on that cold and flawless surface.

 

I saw the young bodies of my comrades fold into themselves —

unnatural arches of the spine, heads down-turned in reverence to their

tiny gods.

 

I saw our hours consumed with raving mad images — bodies and breasts and mountains and makeup —

an unceasing scrolling tumbling river of images,

hope and sighs thrown out tinted windows at highway speeds

I don’t think they’ll be returning anytime soon.

 

No one howls anymore.

 

Our pockets contain:  lint, screens, the entirety of human knowledge

and always loneliness, crouching.

 

Where are our words?

Why don’t we use “whom” anymore?

Why did I find the best of our language outside my neighbor’s trash can, sticky and damp from the rain?

 

I want to speak with you, brothers.

I want to touch you, sisters.

Let’s tell the world we knew to fuck itself

and then take a walk in the woods.

Let’s call ourselves pirates and go build a tree house.

 

The only thing the world can’t give us is innocence.

 

Maybe it’s lying in the neighbor’s trash too.

I better go find it under the rocks in the creek,

maybe in the way you take off your clothes.

 

Oh, and my friends don’t fuck anymore.

They recline pillowed heads,

intoxicate themselves with their blue pixies instead.

500 million bedrooms are strangely quiet — it’s becoming unsettling to me.

 

I give up on you, America,

you and your blue pixies.

I’m tired of your madness cloaked in silence,

your impotent, naked demands.

 

You’ve stolen my mind.

 

I’m starting to lose it

and all I can hear is your evil touchscreen symphonies.

I’ll find it though.

You won’t keep it from me forever.

And I’m starting to get the inkling

it’s around here someplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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