Canto One at The Flea

August 22, 2010

Paul Stevens’ The Flea is out this weekend. The invitational issue (No. 9) includes Canto One of Huncke and much other fine matériel. Bee with The Flea.


Some Names from Paterson? If you insist….

August 6, 2010


The Lonely Street,

by William Carlos Williams

School is over. It is too hot
to walk at ease. At ease
in light frocks they walk the streets
to while the time away.
They have grown tall. They hold
pink flames in their right hands.
In white from head to foot,
with sidelong, idle look—
in yellow, floating stuff,
black sash and stockings—
touching their avid mouths
with pink sugar on a stick—
like a carnation each holds in her hand—
they mount the lonely street.

Paul Weingarten

A Meaningless Instutition

by Allen Ginsberg

I was given my bedding, and a bunk

in an enormous ward

surrounded by hundreds of weeping,

decaying men and women.

I sat on my bunk, three tiers up

next to the ceiling,

looking down the grey aisles.

Old, crippled, dumb people were

bent over sewing. A heavy girl

in a dirty dress

stared at me. I waited

for an official guide to come

and give me instructions.

After awhile, I wandered

off down empty corridors

in search of a toilet.

Dream, Paterson, Fall, 1948

Ginsberg’s Dream of Joan

August 1, 2010

William S. Burroughs, in a drunken game of William Tell, shoots his wife, Joan Vollmer, in the head. The party is over in Mexico. But Joan visits Allen Ginsberg in his dreams at a psychiatric ward in New Jersey. The premise of the following stretch from Canto Seven is inspired by Ginsberg’s Dream Record: June 8, 1955. The talking head bit is original, however, with a nod to Cocteau.

From Canto Seven


The poet Ginsberg has his memories
and dreams of Joan. “Can you still love your mortal
friends,” he asks her under garden trees
that end up shadowing her grave. “A portal
to the world of darkness might reprise
the light. What follows…is it love?” A chortle,
and the bullet hole and brow bestow
the comfort of a stone in Mexico.


Or else they ask how Kerouac is doing
(the puncture wound converses on her head
in Dada dream effect). “Well, Jack’s pursuing
his satori, digging gold in lead .”
“Retailored tailors blush at the ensuing
alterations.” “That is what he said.”
“And what of Burroughs?” “Now he writes to save
himself.” “The fugitive becomes a slave.”


The labial stigmata of the dream,
or rictus craniale, if you prefer,
is one of many visions in a stream.
No wonder Blake taps Ginsberg to confer
upon a mystic or romantic theme
from time to time. Again, the liquid blur
of cloud is consecrating Ginsberg’s space.
The ward becomes a graphic interface.

“…days that ever-faster run…”

July 27, 2010

World Trade Center in Sunlight, ca 1999, by Paul Weingarten. One in a series on lower Manhattan that registers in Canto Nine of Huncke.

The Kid from Sonic Youth

July 20, 2010

I will be the featured reader at The North Jersey Literary Series reading at Classic Quiche Cafe in Teaneck NJ, on Saturday, July 24. The reading, a monthly event, takes place in a special events/performance space off of the main restaurant. It begins at 8 pm.

My presentation will likely include Cantos Seven and Eight from Huncke, the former recreating a completely imagined performance by Thurston Moore (above), an actual reader at the real Herbert Huncke memorial. His topic is Beat Poetry. And New Jersey. And New York City. Canto Eight?—mostly about cartoons. Please come, if you can. There is an open mic, and the event, hosted by Denise LaNeve and Paul Nash, is a highlight of the monthly poetry calendar in North Jersey. Classic Quiche Cafe has a tremendous menu, and I really like the room.

The North Jersey Literary Series
Classic Quiche Cafe
330 Queen Anne Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666-3267

The Baroness of Weehawken

July 14, 2010

Canto Five takes a circuitous route to the famous Onyx Club in Manhattan, where our narrator, cozying up to Reader 4, Montana, suddenly finds himself—O peeling of the narrative banana—on a date with the famous Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. The astral and Pannonian planes converge for a performance by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Red Garland. But, wait, …is that kid in the corner old enough to drink?! Click around for some of Nica’s black and white photographs of jazz greats on line.

Fire Walk With Me

July 9, 2010

This Lynchian photograph was taken by Kat Georges from somewhere in the studio audience at the book launch last night.

I had a wonderful time with a wonderful turnout. There was solid representation from the New York poetry scene, metrical and non-, along with many friends from journalism, college, garage bands, and previous communal arrangements up and down the State of New Jersey. There was a serious Boston Red Sox fan in the house, and George Witte did me a solid at the mic. Thanks to all who attended.

Launch Date–7/8/10

July 4, 2010

A Reminder: The launch reading for Huncke takes place Thursday, July 8, at the Nightingale Lounge, 213 Second Ave (at 13th Street), NYC. Doors open at 6:00 pm. George Witte, your host, hits the stage shortly thereafter. (There is a $10 bar cover, but a hell of a bar). Hope to see you!


June 30, 2010

We first find Mick the Rodent in Canto Two with a clutch of Masons in a smoky Philadelphia coffee house, circa 1776. We don’t know what to make of it, until he shows up with an adolescent Rudy Giuliani to hear Parker and Gillespie at the Onyx in Canto Five. By then, it is all too clear.

The Heroes of Canto Four

June 26, 2010

“The newsreels interrupt the broad cartoons,
but lines are often blurry–it’s a trick
they play in theaters.”