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Best Famous Allen Ginsberg Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Allen Ginsberg poems. This is a select list of the best famous Allen Ginsberg poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Allen Ginsberg poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Allen Ginsberg poems.

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by Allen Ginsberg | |

Complaint of the Skeleton to Time

Take my love, it is not true,
So let it tempt no body new;
Take my lady, she will sigh
For my bed where'er I lie;
Take them, said the skeleton,

But leave my bones alone.
Take my raiment, now grown cold, To give to some poor poet old; Take the skin that hoods this truth If his age would wear my youth; Take them, said the skeleton, But leave my bones alone.
Take the thoughts that like the wind Blow my body out of mind; Take this heart to go with that And pass it on from rat to rat; Take them, said the skeleton, But leave my bones alone.
Take the art which I bemoan In a poem's crazy tone; Grind me down, though I may groan, To the starkest stick and stone; Take them, said the skeleton, But leave my bones alone.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Wild Orphan

Blandly mother 
takes him strolling 
by railroad and by river 
-he's the son of the absconded 
hot rod angel- 
and he imagines cars 
and rides them in his dreams, 

so lonely growing up among 
the imaginary automobiles 
and dead souls of Tarrytown 

to create 
out of his own imagination 
the beauty of his wild 
forebears-a mythology 
he cannot inherit.
Will he later hallucinate his gods? Waking among mysteries with an insane gleam of recollection? The recognition- something so rare in his soul, met only in dreams -nostalgias of another life.
A question of the soul.
And the injured losing their injury in their innocence -a cock, a cross, an excellence of love.
And the father grieves in flophouse complexities of memory a thousand miles away, unknowing of the unexpected youthful stranger bumming toward his door.
- New York, April 13, 1952


by Allen Ginsberg | |

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit- 
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees 
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam- ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons? I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel? I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.
) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage- teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


More great poems below...

by Allen Ginsberg | |

In The Back of the Real

railroad yard in San Jose 
I wandered desolate 
in front of a tank factory 
and sat on a bench 
near the switchman's shack.
A flower lay on the hay on the asphalt highway --the dread hay flower I thought--It had a brittle black stem and corolla of yellowish dirty spikes like Jesus' inchlong crown, and a soiled dry center cotton tuft like a used shaving brush that's been lying under the garage for a year.
Yellow, yellow flower, and flower of industry, tough spiky ugly flower, flower nonetheless, with the form of the great yellow Rose in your brain! This is the flower of the World.


by Barry Tebb | |

LETTER TO MICHAEL HOROVITZ

 It is time after thirty years

We had our Poetry Renaissance

Rise, Children of Albion, rise!

It is time after nightmares of sleep

When we walked the streets of inner cities

Our poems among the burnt-out houses

And cars, whispering compassion

To the addicts shaking and the homeless

Waking and those who have come apart

In the nowhere of today

Begging in stations

Sleeping in boxes.
It is time to find Our lost, those children I taught three decades ago To paint on ceilings With sticks of incense Rainbows of silence For John Cage To write on walls In luminous paint Pink haiku For Allen Ginsberg.
It is time to awaken and emblazon the sky With symphonies of sorrow, To draft the articles of war.
Poets of the Underground The doors have opened The ghost of Walt Whitman Grey-bearded, in lonely anguish Walks with us.


by David Lehman | |

May 8

 700 francs will get you $109.
91 on this muggy May afternoon which is good to know since I just found 700 francs in my wallet while Dinah Washington was singing "My Old Flame" I was thinking of where I was with Glen when Allen Ginsberg died and if I could relax for one hour if I knew what that felt like it would seem like a very long time to me so I'll have to settle for the next best thing warm rain on a cool May evening on Charles Street, turn left on West 4th, cross Sixth and turn right on MacDougal quick: make a sentence that has Spike Lee Son of Sam and Leonardo di Caprio in it Bob Dole says Viagra is a great drug that's the news, the weather I've already given you, and then I want to go into the bedroom and find your naked body in my bed you've stayed up waiting for me and I'm going to make it worth your while


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Who Runs America?

Oil brown smog over Denver 
Oil red dung colored smoke 
level to level across the horizon 

blue tainted sky above 
Oil car smog gasoline 
hazing red Denver's day 

December bare trees 

sticking up from housetop streets 

Plane lands rumbling, planes rise over 

radar wheels, black smoke 

drifts from tailfins 

Oil millions of cars speeding the cracked plains 
Oil from Texas, Bahrein, Venezuela Mexico 
Oil that turns General Motors 

revs up Ford 
lights up General Electric, oil that crackles 

thru International Business Machine computers, 

charges dynamos for ITT 
sparks Western 
Electric 

runs thru Amer Telephone & Telegraph wires 

Oil that flows thru Exxon New Jersey hoses, 
rings in Mobil gas tank cranks, rumbles 

Chrysler engines 

shoots thru Texaco pipelines 

blackens ocean from broken Gulf tankers 
spills onto Santa Barbara beaches from 

Standard of California derricks offshore.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

A Western Ballad

 When I died, love, when I died
my heart was broken in your care;
I never suffered love so fair
as now I suffer and abide
when I died, love, when I died.
When I died, love, when I died I wearied in an endless maze that men have walked for centuries, as endless as the gate was wide when I died, love, when I died.
When I died, love, when I died there was a war in the upper air: all that happens, happens there; there was an angel by my side when I died, love, when I died.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Homework

 Homage Kenneth Koch


If I were doing my Laundry I'd wash my dirty Iran
I'd throw in my United States, and pour on the Ivory Soap,
 scrub up Africa, put all the birds and elephants back in
 the jungle,
I'd wash the Amazon river and clean the oily Carib & Gulf of Mexico,
Rub that smog off the North Pole, wipe up all the pipelines in Alaska,
Rub a dub dub for Rocky Flats and Los Alamos, Flush that sparkly
 Cesium out of Love Canal
Rinse down the Acid Rain over the Parthenon & Sphinx, Drain the Sludge
 out of the Mediterranean basin & make it azure again,
Put some blueing back into the sky over the Rhine, bleach the little
 Clouds so snow return white as snow,
Cleanse the Hudson Thames & Neckar, Drain the Suds out of Lake Erie
Then I'd throw big Asia in one giant Load & wash out the blood &
 Agent Orange,
Dump the whole mess of Russia and China in the wringer, squeeze out
 the tattletail Gray of U.
S.
Central American police state, & put the planet in the drier & let it sit 20 minutes or an Aeon till it came out clean


by Allen Ginsberg | |

An Eastern Ballad

 I speak of love that comes to mind:
The moon is faithful, although blind;
She moves in thought she cannot speak.
Perfect care has made her bleak.
I never dreamed the sea so deep, The earth so dark; so long my sleep, I have become another child.
I wake to see the world go wild.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Refrain

 The air is dark, the night is sad,
I lie sleepless and I groan.
Nobody cares when a man goes mad: He is sorry, God is glad.
Shadow changes into bone.
Every shadow has a name; When I think of mine I moan, I hear rumors of such fame.
Not for pride, but only shame, Shadow changes into bone.
When I blush I weep for joy, And laughter drops from me like a stone: The aging laughter of the boy To see the ageless dead so coy.
Shadow changes into bone.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Kissass

 Kissass is the Part of Peace
America will have to Kissass Mother Earth
Whites have to Kissass Blacks, for Peace & Pleasure,
Only Pathway to Peace, Kissass.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Father Death Blues (Dont Grow Old Part V)

 Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going

Father Death, Don't cry any more
Mama's there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store

Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans

O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest

Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body's gone
Father Death I'm coming home

Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues

Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we'll work it through

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.
July 8, 1976 (Over Lake Michigan)


by Allen Ginsberg | |

In Back Of The Real

 railroad yard in San Jose 
 I wandered desolate 
in front of a tank factory 
 and sat on a bench 
near the switchman's shack.
A flower lay on the hay on the asphalt highway --the dread hay flower I thought--It had a brittle black stem and corolla of yellowish dirty spikes like Jesus' inchlong crown, and a soiled dry center cotton tuft like a used shaving brush that's been lying under the garage for a year.
Yellow, yellow flower, and flower of industry, tough spiky ugly flower, flower nonetheless, with the form of the great yellow Rose in your brain! This is the flower of the World.
San Jose, 1954


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Feb. 29 1958

 Last nite I dreamed of T.
S.
Eliot welcoming me to the land of dream Sofas couches fog in England Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows curtains on his windows, fog seeping in the chimney but a nice warm house and an incredibly sweet hooknosed Eliot he loved me, put me up, gave me a couch to sleep on, conversed kindly, took me serious asked my opinion on Mayakovsky I read him Corso Creeley Kerouac advised Burroughs Olson Huncke the bearded lady in the Zoo, the intelligent puma in Mexico City 6 chorus boys from Zanzibar who chanted in wornout polygot Swahili, and the rippling rythyms of Ma Rainey and Vachel Lindsay.
On the Isle of the Queen we had a long evening's conversation Then he tucked me in my long red underwear under a silken blanket by the fire on the sofa gave me English Hottie and went off sadly to his bed, Saying ah Ginsberg I am glad to have met a fine young man like you.
At last, I woke ashamed of myself.
Is he that good and kind? Am I that great? What's my motive dreaming his manna? What English Department would that impress? What failure to be perfect prophet's made up here? I dream of my kindness to T.
S.
Eliot wanting to be a historical poet and share in his finance of Imagery- overambitious dream of eccentric boy.
God forbid my evil dreams come true.
Last nite I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg.
T.
S.
Eliot would've been ashamed of me.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Psalm IV

 Now I'll record my secret vision, impossible sight of the face of God:
It was no dream, I lay broad waking on a fabulous couch in Harlem
having masturbated for no love, and read half naked an open book of Blake
 on my lap
Lo & behold! I was thoughtless and turned a page and gazed on the living
 Sun-flower
and heard a voice, it was Blake's, reciting in earthen measure:
the voice rose out of the page to my secret ear never heard before-
I lifted my eyes to the window, red walls of buildings flashed outside,
 endless sky sad Eternity
sunlight gazing on the world, apartments of Harlem standing in the 
 universe--
each brick and cornice stained with intelligence like a vast living face--
the great brain unfolding and brooding in wilderness!--Now speaking 
 aloud with Blake's voice--
Love! thou patient presence & bone of the body! Father! thy careful 
 watching and waiting over my soul!
My son! My son! the endless ages have remembered me! My son! My son!
 Time howled in anguish in my ear!
My son! My son! my father wept and held me in his dead arms.
1960


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Haiku (Never Published)

 Drinking my tea
Without sugar-
 No difference.
The sparrow shits upside down --ah! my brain & eggs Mayan head in a Pacific driftwood bole --Someday I'll live in N.
Y.
Looking over my shoulder my behind was covered with cherry blossoms.
Winter Haiku I didn't know the names of the flowers--now my garden is gone.
I slapped the mosquito and missed.
What made me do that? Reading haiku I am unhappy, longing for the Nameless.
A frog floating in the drugstore jar: summer rain on grey pavements.
(after Shiki) On the porch in my shorts; auto lights in the rain.
Another year has past-the world is no different.
The first thing I looked for in my old garden was The Cherry Tree.
My old desk: the first thing I looked for in my house.
My early journal: the first thing I found in my old desk.
My mother's ghost: the first thing I found in the living room.
I quit shaving but the eyes that glanced at me remained in the mirror.
The madman emerges from the movies: the street at lunchtime.
Cities of boys are in their graves, and in this town.
.
.
Lying on my side in the void: the breath in my nose.
On the fifteenth floor the dog chews a bone- Screech of taxicabs.
A hardon in New York, a boy in San Fransisco.
The moon over the roof, worms in the garden.
I rent this house.
[Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624 Milvia Street, Berkeley 1955, while reading R.
H.
Blyth's 4 volumes, "Haiku.
"]


by Allen Ginsberg | |

A Desolation

 Now mind is clear
as a cloudless sky.
Time then to make a home in wilderness.
What have I done but wander with my eyes in the trees? So I will build: wife, family, and seek for neighbors.
Or I perish of lonesomeness or want of food or lightning or the bear (must tame the hart and wear the bear).
And maybe make an image of my wandering, a little image—shrine by the roadside to signify to traveler that I live here in the wilderness awake and at home.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Five A.M.

 Elan that lifts me above the clouds
into pure space, timeless, yea eternal
Breath transmuted into words
 Transmuted back to breath
 in one hundred two hundred years
nearly Immortal, Sappho's 26 centuries
of cadenced breathing -- beyond time, clocks, empires, bodies, cars,
chariots, rocket ships skyscrapers, Nation empires
brass walls, polished marble, Inca Artwork
of the mind -- but where's it come from?
Inspiration? The muses drawing breath for you? God?
Nah, don't believe it, you'll get entangled in Heaven or Hell --
Guilt power, that makes the heart beat wake all night
flooding mind with space, echoing through future cities, Megalopolis or
Cretan village, Zeus' birth cave Lassithi Plains -- Otsego County
 farmhouse, Kansas front porch?
Buddha's a help, promises ordinary mind no nirvana --
coffee, alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, marijuana, laughing gas?
Nope, too heavy for this lightness lifts the brain into blue sky
at May dawn when birds start singing on East 12th street --
Where does it come from, where does it go forever?

 May 1996


by Allen Ginsberg | |

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 Cas- 
 sady 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! 

 Berkeley 1955


by Allen Ginsberg | |

When The Light Appears

 Lento


You'll bare your bones you'll grow you'll pray you'll only know
When the light appears, boy, when the light appears
You'll sing & you'll love you'll praise blue heavens above
When the light appears, boy, when the light appears
You'll whimper & you'll cry you'll get yourself sick and sigh
You'll sleep & you'll dream you'll only know what you mean
When the light appears, boy, when the light appears
You'll come & you'll go, you'll wander to and fro
You'll go home in despair you'll wonder why'd you care
You'll stammer & you'll lie you'll ask everybody why
You'll cough and you'll pout you'll kick your toe with gout
You'll jump you'll shout you'll knock you're friends about
You'll bawl and you'll deny & announce your eyes are dry
You'll roll and you'll rock you'll show your big hard cock
You'll love and you'll grieve & one day you'll come believe
As you whistle & you smile the lord made you worthwhile
You'll preach and you'll glide on the pulpit in your pride
Sneak & slide across the stage like a river in high tide
You'll come fast or come on slow just the same you'll never know
When the light appears, boy, when the light appears


 May 3, 1987, 2:30 AM


by Allen Ginsberg | |

First Party At Ken Keseys With Hells Angels

 Cool black night thru redwoods
cars parked outside in shade
behind the gate, stars dim above
the ravine, a fire burning by the side
porch and a few tired souls hunched over
in black leather jackets.
In the huge wooden house, a yellow chandelier at 3 A.
M.
the blast of loudspeakers hi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles Beatles Jumping Joe Jackson and twenty youths dancing to the vibration thru the floor, a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlet tights, one muscular smooth skinned man sweating dancing for hours, beer cans bent littering the yard, a hanged man sculpture dangling from a high creek branch, children sleeping softly in their bedroom bunks.
And 4 police cars parked outside the painted gate, red lights revolving in the leaves.
December 1965


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Fourth Floor Dawn Up All Night Writing Letters

 Pigeons shake their wings on the copper church roof
out my window across the street, a bird perched on the cross
surveys the city's blue-grey clouds.
Larry Rivers 'll come at 10 AM and take my picture.
I'm taking your picture, pigeons.
I'm writing you down, Dawn.
I'm immortalizing your exhaust, Avenue A bus.
O Thought! Now you'll have to think the same thing forever! New York, June 7, 1980, 6:48 A.
M.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Making The Lion For All Its Got -- A Ballad

 I came home and found a lion in my room.
.
.
[First draft of "The Lion for Real" CP 174-175] A lion met America in the road they stared at each other two figures on the crossroads in the desert.
America screamed The lion roared They leaped at each other America desperate to win Fighting with bombs, flamethrowers, knives forks submarines.
The lion ate America, bit off her head and loped off to the golden hills that's all there is to say about america except that now she's lionshit all over the desert.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

An Asphodel

 O dear sweet rosy 
 unattainable desire 
.
.
.
how sad, no way to change the mad cultivated asphodel, the visible reality.
.
.
and skin's appalling petals--how inspired to be so Iying in the living room drunk naked and dreaming, in the absence of electricity.
.
.
over and over eating the low root of the asphodel, gray fate.
.
.
rolling in generation on the flowery couch as on a bank in Arden-- my only rose tonite's the treat of my own nudity.
Fall, 1953