Allen Ginsberg

“A Supermarket In California”

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, 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 families shopping at
night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! –-and you, García 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
Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close in a 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 of the lost America of love past blue automo-
biles 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

Allen Ginsberg

A Brief Guide to the Beat Poets

Abstract “Beat Poet” Foto by L. K. Thayer

© 2011

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry
dynamo in the machinery of night . . .

–Allen Ginsberg, “Howl”

Beat poetry evolved during the 1940s in both New York City and on the west coast, although San Francisco became the heart of the movement in the early 1950s. The end of World War II left poets like Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gregory Corso questioning mainstream politics and culture. These poets would become known as the Beat generation, a group of writers interested in changing consciousness and defying conventional writing. The Beats were also closely intertwined with poets of the San Francisco Renaissance movement, such as Kenneth Rexroth and Robert Duncan.

The battle against social conformity and literary tradition was central to the work of the Beats. Among this group of poets, hallucinogenic drugs were used to achieve higher consciousness, as was meditation and Eastern religion. Buddhism especially was important to many of the Beat poets; Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg both intensely studied this religion and it figured into much of their work.

Allen Ginsberg’s first book, Howl and Other Poems, is often considered representative of the Beat poets. In 1956 Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s press City Lights published Howl and Ferlinghetti was brought to trial the next year on charges of obscenity. In a hugely publicized case, the judge ruled that Howl was not obscene and brought national attention to Ginsberg and the Beat poets.

Besides publishing the Pocket Poets Series, Ferlinghetti also founded the legendary San Francisco bookstore City Lights. Still in operation today, City Lights is an important landmark of Beat generation history. Several of the surrounding streets have been renamed after Beat poets as well, commemorating their important contribution to the cultural landscape of San Francisco.

Other Beat poets included Diane di Prima, Neal Cassady, Anne Waldman and Michael McClure. Although William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac are often best remembered for works of fiction such as Naked Lunch and On the Road, respectively, they also wrote poetry and were very much part of the Beats as well; Kerouac is said to have coined the term “Beat generation,” describing the down-and-out status of himself and his peers during the post-war years.

For further information, read “This is the Beat Generation” by John Clellon Holmes from The New York Times, The Beat Book edited by Anne Waldman, and The Portable Beat Reader by Ann Charters.”

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2011

“Waiting For Jack” Rap Up… by Stevie Kalinich


“The people tonight were really amazing. It was an alive needed vital evening of poems and entertainment.
Jill Jarrett was sensational with her camera, as a photographer she captures the whole scene beautifully.

First let me say
all the touches, the saxophone player in the beginning
the trumpet the voice over,
it keeps coming more and more alive.
Michael C Ford and Rex Weiner kept the ball rolling as MC’s
with the provoking witty dialog and setting the pace.
This show is alive in the now
and no one is doing anything like this.
This is so much fun to be involved with.
Everyone should see it many times.

S.A. Griffin as Laurence Ferlinghetti was sensational, fun & marvelous.
Always an interesting intriguing performer
full of energy
he knows how to move and play to a receptive crowd.

Eve Brandstein was sexy, funny,
her poems by Diane DiPrima were very sensual and they rolled
off her tongue
like her delivery of the “Kisses” poem.
She had me from the start.
Kenneth Patchen’s poem as usual delivered by our friend Herbert T. Schmidt, Jr.
moved everyone in the house.
He read it from the heart and with great conviction
waited for the response of people
and built a tension in the air
What a great timeless sincere poem

What is the Beautiful? (Pause, and begin again)

If we all could live that poem
the world might be different
kinder sweeter.
Susan Hayden as Bobbie Louise Hawkins was charmer a sweet and lovely being.
She infused her poem wit, compassion and love,
it got to me.
She allowed the rhythm of the evening to flow.

Elkanah Burns as poet Frank O’Hara was right on the money, delivering his thoughtful poem with tenderness and heart as Frank O’Hara would’ve himself, it seemed like he was there last night.
Lisa K. Thayer’s Ann Waldman was a killer.
The way she moves her body
the way she makes the poems live.
Lisa is entertaining, funny, poignant, and uses visual textures,
showing us that the poem is an experience,
a living breathing thing.
John Difusco as poet Lew Welch was mesmerizing and John Densmore playing bongos for him was a wonderful, fun,
happening occurrence.
John Densmore from The Doors, was so into his  character, and the choice of poems and the way he read them as poet Gary Snyder, captured me and made  me smile.
He spoke them in such a simple a manner,
he made them seem easy. He brought a sense of fun and a beat to the evening and has a humility that none of my drummer friends or partners ever had most of the time.
I like him more and more every time I see him perform.
The way he cares about getting it right the way he focuses on what he will say and takes it on as a responsibility and still has fun with it.

Doug Knott as Bukowski brought the house down. He has so alive and becomes Charles B. and takes you on ride.
He is great, funny and I can relate to his weakness
and his appeal his attraction and why Bukowski
still lives stronger in death
perhaps than in life.

Eric Trules blew me away as Allen Ginsberg and got everyone going.
He has a great sound a wonderful voice
like a Rabbi or an evangelist with depth.
he cracked the stillness open
with his sense of timing  and getting the audience to participate.
He really gets into the Ginsberg mold and I believe he channeled Alan G.
for a few moments.

Theida Salazar as Bob Kaufman, was amazing.
The poem which he chanted from memory says so much. He was a wonderful addition.

Bill Duke as Leroi Jones was a powerful presence.
That large beautiful frame
his demeanor that can frighten you speaks the lines
in such a caressing a manner,
in the moment of expectation brings a soft tone and gradually builds the poem
so you can experience every word. Bill Duke taught me last night
you do not always have to shout these poems
they shout themselves
they sing their own music.
He rises and the fever expands by the end of his words
he has crept into you in a subtle way. Bill gets himself out of the way and lets the words come alive within him. At least that is how I experienced it.

It was wonderful and this evening at many points lets people into the play
involves and engages the audience and maybe it could even go more in this direction.

I only know this show was one of the best I have ever been to and I love these poets and the people inhabiting them.
It is an experience of collaboration and community and brings people together in an important and vital way.”

– Stephen John Kalinich

L. K. Thayer adds…
“Stephen Kalinich is a brilliant poet in his own right, who takes care with wit and reverence to every word

Jack Michelin wrote and delivers it with humor and grace, touching the audience with his soul and the soul of the poet.

The sold out crowd in the loft art gallery said it all. People are hungry for this experience and the words of these beat poets that are timely, especially now. Their words and passion ring true and will live on through this one-of-a-kind show

~”Waiting For Jack”~

– L. K. Thayer


Jack Kerouac “Bowery Blues”

The story of man
Makes me sick
Inside, outside,
I don’t know why
Something so conditional
And all talk
Should hurt me so.

I am hurt
I am scared
I want to live
I want to die
I don’t know
Where to turn
In the Void
And when
To cut

For no Church told me
No Guru holds me
No advice
Just stone
Of New York
And on the cafeteria
We hear
The saxophone
O dead Ruby
Died of Shot
In Thirty Two,
Sounding like old times
And de bombed
Empty decapitated
Murder by the clock.

And I see Shadows
Dancing into Doom
In love, holding
TIght the lovely asses
Of the little girls
In love with sex
Showing themselves
In white undergarments
At elevated windows
Hoping for the Worst.

I can’t take it
If I can’t hold
My little behind
To me in my room

Then it’s goodbye
For me
Girls aren’t as good
As they look
And Samadhi
Is better
Than you think
When it starts in
Hitting your head
In with Buzz
Of glittergold
Heaven’s Angels


We’ve been waiting for you
Since Morning, Jack
Why were you so long
Dallying in the sooty room?
This transcendental Brilliance
Is the better part
(of Nothingness
I sing)


Jack Kerouac