09 March 2008

On Seeing Allen Ginsberg

We had come over the Great Divide, down the Front Range into Boulder, to Fred’s for food and jazz guitar. Just as a table emptied and we moved to take it, Allen Ginsberg came out with a friend. This was a moment of awe, like seeing a president or famous movie star. I owned every book he had published. I thought I should go over and talk to him,

“Hello, Mr. Ginsberg…”

No, you don’t call Allen Ginsberg “Mr. Ginsberg.”

“Hello, Allen, I’m a poet too…”


“Hello, Allen, I’ve read everything you’ve ever written…”


“Hello, Allen, would you autograph my karma?”

Think that already happened.

“Hello, you son of a bitch. You screwed me up for years.”

Truth, but he probably wouldn’t understand.

“Hello, Allen, I finally learned how to forget about you.”

I never said anything. I just let him drift away into the crowd, eating his ice cream cone. I don’t remember what I had for supper but Fred played his guitar very well that night.

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