Frank O' Hara, 'Mayakovsky'
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes
on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in
wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall
William Blake, 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'
As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of
Genius, which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of
their Proverbs: thinking that as the sayings used in a nation, mark its
character, so the Proverbs of Hell, shew the nature of Infernal wisdom better
than any description of buildings or garments.
Ginsberg, discussing his reading experience of Blake
So anyway, what I had been doing that week—I’d been in a very solitary state, dark night of the soul sort of, reading Saint John of the Cross, maybe on account of that everybody’d gone away that I knew. I was graduating from school and had nowhere to go and the difficulty of getting a job. So finally there was nothing for me to do except to eat vegetables and live in Harlem. So, in that state therefore, of hopelessness, or dead-end, change of phase, you know—growing up—I came with a Blake book on my lap—and suddenly, heard a very deep earthen grave voice in the room, which I immediately assumed, I didn’t think twice, was Blake’s voice;
What I was seeing was a visionary thing, it was a lightness in my body . . . my body suddenly felt light, and a sense of cosmic consciousness, vibrations, understanding, awe, and wonder and surprise. And it was a sudden awakening into a totally deeper real universe that I'd been existing in.
So anyway—there I was in my bed in Harlem … jacking off. With my pants open, lying around on a bed by the window sill, looking out into the cornices of Harlem and the sky above. And there was a couple of girls living next door and I crawled out on the fire escape and tapped on their window and said, “I’ve seen God!” and they banged the window shut. Oh, what tales I could have told them if they’d let me in!