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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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Written 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.

Written 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

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

Hospital Window

At gauzy dusk, thin haze like cigarette smoke 
ribbons past Chrysler Building's silver fins 
tapering delicately needletopped, Empire State's 
taller antenna filmed milky lit amid blocks 
black and white apartmenting veil'd sky over Manhattan, 
offices new built dark glassed in blueish heaven--The East 
50's & 60's covered with castles & watertowers, seven storied 
tar-topped house-banks over York Avenue, late may-green trees 
surrounding Rockefellers' blue domed medical arbor-- 
Geodesic science at the waters edge--Cars running up 
East River Drive, & parked at N.
Hospital's oval door where perfect tulips flower the health of a thousand sick souls trembling inside hospital rooms.
Triboro bridge steel-spiked penthouse orange roofs, sunset tinges the river and in a few Bronx windows, some magnesium vapor brilliances're spotted five floors above E 59th St under grey painted bridge trestles.
Way downstream along the river, as Monet saw Thames 100 years ago, Con Edison smokestacks 14th street, & Brooklyn Bridge's skeined dim in modern mists-- Pipes sticking up to sky nine smokestacks huge visible-- U.
Building hangs under an orange crane, & red lights on vertical avenues below the trees turn green at the nod of a skull with a mild nerve ache.
Dim dharma, I return to this spectacle after weeks of poisoned lassitude, my thighs belly chest & arms covered with poxied welts, head pains fading back of the neck, right eyebrow cheek mouth paralyzed--from taking the wrong medicine, sweated too much in the forehead helpless, covered my rage from gorge to prostate with grinding jaw and tightening anus not released the weeping scream of horror at robot Mayaguez World self ton billions metal grief unloaded Pnom Penh to Nakon Thanom, Santiago & Tehran.
Fresh warm breeze in the window, day's release >from pain, cars float downside the bridge trestle and uncounted building-wall windows multiplied a mile deep into ash-delicate sky beguile my empty mind.
A seagull passes alone wings spread silent over roofs.
- May 20, 1975 Mayaguez Crisis

More great poems below...

Written 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?

Written 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.

Written 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 
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 
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! 
 bodies! suffering! magnanimity! 
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent 
 kindness of the soul! 

 Berkeley 1955

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

War Profit Litany

 To Ezra Pound

These are the names of the companies that have made
 money from this war
nineteenhundredsixtyeight Annodomini fourthousand
 eighty Hebraic
These are the Corporations who have profited by merchan-
 dising skinburning phosphorous or shells fragmented
 to thousands of fleshpiercing needles
and here listed money millions gained by each combine for
and here are gains numbered, index'd swelling a decade, set
 in order,
here named the Fathers in office in these industries, tele-
 phones directing finance,
names of directors, makers of fates, and the names of the 
 stockholders of these destined Aggregates,
and here are the names of their ambassadors to the Capital,
 representatives to legislature, those who sit drinking
 in hotel lobbies to persuade,
and separate listed, those who drop Amphetamine with
 military, gossip, argue, and persuade
suggesting policy naming language proposing strategy, this
 done for fee as ambassadors to Pentagon, consul-
 tants to military, paid by their industry:
and these are the names of the generals & captains mili-
 tary, who know thus work for war goods manufactur-
and above these, listed, the names of the banks, combines,
 investment trusts that control these industries:
and these are the names of the newspapers owned by these
and these are the names of the airstations owned by these
and these are the numbers of thousands of citizens em-
 ployed by these businesses named;
and the beginning of this accounting is 1958 and the end
 1968, that static be contained in orderly mind,
 coherent and definite,
and the first form of this litany begun first day December
 1967 furthers this poem of these States.
December 1, 1967

Written 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.

Written 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 

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.

Written by Allen Ginsberg |


 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.
Central American police state, & put the planet in the drier & let it sit 20 minutes or an Aeon till it came out clean

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

Cosmopolitan Greetings

 To Struga Festival Golden Wreath Laureates
 & International Bards 1986

Stand up against governments, against God.
Stay irresponsible.
Say only what we know & imagine.
Absolutes are coercion.
Change is absolute.
Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions.
Observe what's vivid.
Notice what you notice.
Catch yourself thinking.
Vividness is self-selecting.
If we don't show anyone, we're free to write anything.
Remember the future.
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.
Maximum information, minimum number of syllables.
Syntax condensed, sound is solid.
Intense fragments of spoken idiom, best.
Consonants around vowels make sense.
Savor vowels, appreciate consonants.
Subject is known by what she sees.
Others can measure their vision by what we see.
Candor ends paranoia.
Kral Majales June 25, 1986 Boulder, Colorado

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

When The Light Appears


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

Written 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.
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

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

Crossing Nation

 Under silver wing
 San Francisco's towers sprouting
 thru thin gas clouds,
 Tamalpais black-breasted above Pacific azure
 Berkeley hills pine-covered below--
Dr Leary in his brown house scribing Independence
 typewriter at window
 silver panorama in natural eyeball--

Sacramento valley rivercourse's Chinese 
 dragonflames licking green flats north-hazed
 State Capitol metallic rubble, dry checkered fields
 to Sierras- past Reno, Pyramid Lake's 
 blue Altar, pure water in Nevada sands' 
 brown wasteland scratched by tires

 Jerry Rubin arrested! Beaten, jailed,
 coccyx broken--
Leary out of action--"a public menace.
persons of tender years.
immature judgement.
pyschiatric examination.
" i.
Shut up or Else Loonybin or Slam Leroi on bum gun rap, $7,000 lawyer fees, years' negotiations-- SPOCK GUILTY headlined temporary, Joan Baez' paramour husband Dave Harris to Gaol Dylan silent on politics, & safe-- having a baby, a man-- Cleaver shot at, jail'd, maddened, parole revoked, Vietnam War flesh-heap grows higher, blood splashing down the mountains of bodies on to Cholon's sidewalks-- Blond boys in airplane seats fed technicolor Murderers advance w/ Death-chords Earplugs in, steak on plastic served--Eyes up to the Image-- What do I have to lose if America falls? my body? my neck? my personality? June 19, 1968

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

Nagasaki Days

 I -- A Pleasant Afternoon

 for Michael Brownstein and Dick Gallup

One day 3 poets and 60 ears sat under a green-striped Chau-
 tauqua tent in Aurora
listening to Black spirituals, tapping their feet, appreciating
 words singing by in mountain winds
on a pleasant sunny day of rest -- the wild wind blew thru
 blue Heavens
filled with fluffy clouds stretched from Central City to Rocky
 Flats, Plutonium sizzled in its secret bed,
hot dogs sizzled in the Lion's Club lunchwagon microwave
 mouth, orangeade bubbled over in waxen cups
Traffic moved along Colefax, meditators silent in the Diamond
 Castle shrine-room at Boulder followed the breath going
 out of their nostrils,
Nobody could remember anything, spirits flew out of mouths
 & noses, out of the sky, across Colorado plains & the
 tent flapped happily open spacious & didn't fall down.
June 18, 1978 II -- Peace Protest Cumulus clouds float across blue sky over the white-walled Rockwell Corporation factory -- am I going to stop that? * Rocky Mountains rising behind us Denver shining in morning light -- Led away from the crowd by police and photographers * Middleaged Ginsberg and Ellsberg taken down the road to the greyhaired Sheriff's van -- But what about Einstein? What about Einstein? Hey, Einstein Come back! III -- Golden Courthouse Waiting for the Judge, breathing silent Prisoners, witnesses, Police -- the stenographer yawns into her palms.
August 9, 1978 IV -- Everybody's Fantasy I walked outside & the bomb'd dropped lots of plutonium all over the Lower East Side There weren't any buildings left just iron skeletons groceries burned, potholes open to stinking sewer waters There were people starving and crawling across the desert the Martian UFOs with blue Light destroyer rays passed over and dried up all the waters Charred Amazon palmtrees for hundreds of miles on both sides of the river August 10, 1978 V -- Waiting Room at the Rocky Flats Plutonium Plant "Give us the weapons we need to protect ourselves!" the bareheaded guard lifts his flyswatter above the desk -- whap! * A green-letter'd shield on the pressboard wall! "Life is fragile.
Handle with care" -- My Goodness! here's where they make the nuclear bomb triggers.
August 17, 1978 VI -- Numbers in Red Notebook 2,000,000 killed in Vietnam 13,000,000 refugees in Indochina 1972 200,000,000 years for the Galaxy to revolve on its core 24,000 the Babylonian Great Year 24,000 half life of plutonium 2,000 the most I ever got for a poetry reading 80,000 dolphins killed in the dragnet 4,000,000,000 years earth been born Summer 1978