Allen Ginsberg’s name is synonymous with every stereotype that came from the 60s. And since Ginsberg’s disappearance in 1997 there has not been a single interview granted to any member of the media until now. Why this poet, beat, Buddhist, Jewish, homosexual, savant druggy had anything to say to me sure does leave this humbled scriptic at a loss, but hopefully the eccentric, intellectual, political and moral practitioner of everything that will save your ratched mind from bewildered apathy can continue this conversation about what makes techno-America an oversampled filth pit right where he left off that fateful April day.
He is charming, with a fluffed out orthodox beard that goes neatly with his remaining silver strands of maddened hair. Today we meet to discuss some of Allen’s favorite memories and volatile failures since becoming a known presence (now for an 8th consecutive decade).
MAEL: You’re still trying to outdistance yourself from being known as some kind of Mr. Nice Guy. What do you feel about this, and the other representations fans or friends may have of you?
AG: Honestly, I fall asleep at restaurants now when people ask me for autographs. I don’t fake it it’s a very keen Zen ability I was turned on to. Please correct me when I’m incorrect because I believe I’m first to believe this. Our government’s face scanning recognition software that I activated in my brain during an LSD sit-in I attended in 1967 allows me to do this at will, though some may just call it ignoring there is far more at play. It’s a situational skill I now have and it allows me to catch up on every hour of sleep I may have lost during my lifetime. The program knows very personal information about my life that makes me feel reassured and presumably comfortable because it has indeed labeled every aspect of our lives.
MAEL: OK so who is Allen Ginsberg in 2014?
AG: Still I am in a state of being. That’s all I ever wanted, and though I’ve been told that it’s heroic, I deny this. Hillary Clinton called asking me if I wanted to hit a club with her last week in West Hollywood and here I was on the phone and I felt like some kind of hero to tell her that I was fine exploring the effects of these mushrooms right here in my hotel room thank you very much. That’s the rebel I’ve become, that’s the hero I always wanted to be, that is an area where I am suited to lead. Under this suit, I suppose I’m a Buddhist without a permanent self. I am a beat poet, I’m Jewish, I’m gay, I’m an American, and a practicing meditator and member of the counter culture. I’ve finally become semi-normal. Our country has been under attack from the neo-conservative, theo-political, televangelists and though I said as such 20 years ago in my final interview with the BBC, this has only become more visible today. And this is as much of my so-called reality as any part of my social identity.
MAEL: You have pushed the concept of open consciousness, or expansion of one’s horizons as it may have been described in some households, in your time as a lecturer. Have you seen this perception reflecting module of learning any more accepted now than it was 50 years ago? What the hell is keeping us down and what has come as a result?
AG: I’ve been called a “beatnik-faggot-Jew-capitalist-conspirator” by the police-state rubes and those robotically conditioned fossil brains for not the last time. They are ready to match each change for a reason for staying the same. If there’s a magical potion that can aid people to take a step behind the curtains and unveil the mechanical hallucination, they will most certainly be minimally accessible and deemed demonic gateways or sold away with terrific images of fear and paranoia. There are so many ways to approach the many crosses of your own mind, but you must see the robot world first at face value, then you start to realize that you and that plant leaf are all part of one consciousness free to explore all the dreams, memories and fantasies happening all around you in the conventional world. Take a look back at those FDA hydraheads proven wrong then through our theoretical work and now with scientific method based studies to support the findings that LSD-linked chromosomal damage was nothing more than a spook tactic by the hooba stank; guys like Professor Irwin from Portland and (former head of the FDA) Dr. Goddard. I said this 40 years ago: The government needs to do the research to find a path to make psychedelics 100% fool proof and it’s not happening. Not in this political climate where the president won’t even have a discussion on pot without making disparaging remarks to one group or another and not at a time when people are more motivated by political correctness than to risk it by saying, nay, demanding what the fuck they want. Remember when I told you about how the “psychedelic R & D appropriations allocated for investigation of military uses of psychotoxic and psychedelic substances with special subapplication to domestic riot control” was reported in The New York Times! Its common knowledge but in 1997 I could see this shit coming and took a bow. I still have mystical vibrations and cosmic visions but fuck all those political trips, Mr. Mael.
MAEL: Allen, that was my intention. Fuck. Them. All. Has the acceptance of medical marijuana and homosexuality on a widespread scale in America damaged the value of your legacy? Didn’t you once say there’s a natural element of homosexuality in every man?
AG: Oh, is it accepted? I reaped the benefits of my labor writing so frankly, benefited in ways that are still illegal in many places in the world. I’ve been doing homosexual me since 1954, son, and I still smoke pot every chance I get and on occasion a beautiful man like myself is known to get a piece. In more recent times my energy has been tied up helping censors understand their folly. Twitter mocks me, and remember it was important at the time I was discussing my homosexuality that it would only take a certain finite number of bold Americans to make the point and the rest of the job would be easy. Now it’s on the heads of a select few judges to do what is the right thing. You know, by doing the right thing a great deal of myths permanently burst and with it you are staring change right in the face.
MAEL: Listen to me and reflect, if you please, Allen. I’m trying to put this as gently as I can – Indian gurus, big time poetry, exorcisms, hippies, modern-era belly aching Wall St. protestors, Hari Krishna mantras, cigarettes, exhibitionism, psycho-spiritual sexcockwonderginas, the Dalai Lama, liberalism and Detroit have all failed miserably since you were last relevant.
AG: These were dead in the water long ago. Long before the San Fernando Valley’s population of chameleons were slaughtered mercilessly by land developers 35 years ago. UFOs might be next but really this is yet another stink bomb like the protestors used to throw in police state Chicago and other failed rallies against the government. It spread from Lincoln Park to everywhere with a hot spot, MTV or a poppy. When you last saw me, in my suit and tie, shaven, speaking from a place where I could move beyond all the savagery of my youth, it was already over. And maybe I will forever feel a certain shame for snapping myself back into the mainstream but what hasn’t changed is my negotiation for success. It requires an unbroken circle (or at least a majority) of participants in order to set up mammal-vibrations strong enough to prove irresistible. I hate to admit it but the New Left had blacks and whites fucking for good and that will continue to change a society that the Birch Society, CIA, police, military industry and the NFL will stop at nothing to maintain control over. We’re speaking the number one emotionally charged issue strong enough to raise money these days.
MAEL: Did the exorcism happen in America as you recommended?
AG: More like urged with pants on fire. Ignorant armies of the night, as you’ve observed, from the comfortable beings on the right across to the new left and all their greedy impetuosity for battle, befuddled attempts for a harmonious dose of punk rock white magic. Perfect wisdom continues to get slapped from any of today’s whimsical leaders and stern daydreamers alike. How many people do you work with complain about time, quality of life and who strive to maintain their acrobatics into old age? If they get hurt they will stay hurt. It’s the byproduct of a stalled nation. How about more naked circus vibrations or magic politics? People are already pummeling news feeds with comments like “HERE COMES THE RIGHT!” Who the hell would be so stupid to still give a fucking shit? Last time this came up, I was at a Texas bar. That night I lost a friend mid-discussion. It was as if the Chicagoan in him awoke and American flags invaded his pupils. Fortunately he remembered that he had left some tools out in his garage before he took it to the next level. There’s trouble at every corner, Mr. Mael.
We are ready for battle and we are tired but we never stop expanding for our Zimzum rests for not a thing.
MAEL: Ok, last question. Where have you been? Have you been here all along?
At this point, Allen Ginsberg sips down his earthen milk tea drink, tips his head back in the hotel room lobby and begins snoring an almost recognizable melody. I can’t place it.