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In The Baggage Room At Greyhound

Written by: Allen Ginsberg | Biography
 | Quotes (15) |
 I

In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal 
sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky 
 waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart 
worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in 
 the night-time red downtown heaven 
staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering 
 these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty 
 of our lives, irritable baggage clerks, 
nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the 
 buses waving goodbye, 
nor other millions of the poor rushing around from 
 city to city to see their loved ones, 
nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop 
 by the Coke machine, 
nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last 
 trip of her life, 
nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar- 
 ters and smiling over the smashed baggage, 
nor me looking around at the horrible dream, 
nor mustached negro Operating Clerk named Spade, 
 dealing out with his marvelous long hand the 
 fate of thousands of express packages, 
nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden 
 trunk to trunk, 
nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown 
 smiling cowardly at the customers, 
nor the grayish-green whale's stomach interior loft 
 where we keep the baggage in hideous racks, 
hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and 
 forth waiting to be opened, 
nor the baggage that's lost, nor damaged handles, 
 nameplates vanished, busted wires & broken 
 ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete 
 floor, 
nor seabags emptied into the night in the final 
 warehouse. 

 II

Yet Spade reminded me of Angel, unloading a bus, 
dressed in blue overalls black face official Angel's work- 
 man cap, 
pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with 
 black baggage, 
looking up as he passed the yellow light bulb of the loft 
and holding high on his arm an iron shepherd's crook. 

 III

It was the racks, I realized, sitting myself on top of 
 them now as is my wont at lunchtime to rest 
 my tired foot, 
it was the racks, great wooden shelves and stanchions 
 posts and beams assembled floor to roof jumbled 
 with baggage, 
--the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily 
 flowered & headed for Fort Bragg, 
one Mexican green paper package in purple rope 
 adorned with names for Nogales, 
hundreds of radiators all at once for Eureka, 
crates of Hawaiian underwear, 
rolls of posters scattered over the Peninsula, nuts to 
 Sacramento, 
one human eye for Napa, 
an aluminum box of human blood for Stockton 
and a little red package of teeth for Calistoga- 
it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked 
 in electric light the night before I quit, 
the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep 
 us together, a temporary shift in space, 
God's only way of building the rickety structure of 
 Time, 
to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our 
 luggage from place to place 
looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity 
 where the heart was left and farewell tears 
 began. 

 IV

A swarm of baggage sitting by the counter as the trans- 
 continental bus pulls in. 
The clock registering 12:15 A.M., May 9, 1956, the 
 second hand moving forward, red. 
Getting ready to load my last bus.-Farewell, Walnut 
 Creek Richmond Vallejo Portland Pacific 
 Highway 
Fleet-footed Quicksilver, God of transience. 
One last package sits lone at midnight sticking up out 
 of the Coast rack high as the dusty fluorescent 
 light. 

The wage they pay us is too low to live on. Tragedy 
 reduced to numbers. 
This for the poor shepherds. I am a communist. 
Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much, 
 hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built 
 my pectoral muscles big as a vagina.

 May 9, 1956



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