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Howl and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg

City Lights, November 1, 1956

Who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steam whistles.

Like the mad cry of wolves in the deepest black of night, this book should be read out loud, should be screamed out loud, like shrill jazz squeaks atop every sad rooftop of every sad building in every sad and pathetic city around the world. It should be torn up into poetic sheet-pieces and lit on fire while sitting naked on sidewalks. You should stick it into the ripped pockets of everyone you ever hated or loved in your life. It should be underlined with a red marker, a red crayon, red lipstick or a flaming knife. You should fill it with every angry and unfair moment in your sad and horrible history. Every day that left you raging at every insult and injustice that ever passed your way. This poem is a celebration of life with all its deficiencies. A wondrous and murderous world filled with pity and marked with unfairness and loathing, but, hey “isn’t it just great to be alive?” Alive and pumping boiling blood beneath the hard marrow stars underneath a crazy universe. It’s a celebration of the body and soul with all its imperfections. It’s about the hungry and the lonesome. All the degenerates and the disoriented and the disengaged. It’s all the sad long armies of the night we call the human race. Shout it out. Scream it out! Pity the masses whose brightest minds are destroyed by madness.  Sing it out loud above the stars. Shout into the night. We are all alive and dying!