The Lion for Real By Allen Ginsberg

The Lion for Real By Allen Ginsberg

Flow Lion by Matei Apostolescu aka Beaucoupzero
Flow Lion by Matei Apostolescu aka Beaucoupzero

“Soyez muette pour moi, Idole contemplative …”
I came home and found a lion in my living room
Rushed out on the fire escape screaming Lion! Lion!
Two stenographers pulled their brunette hair and banged the window shut
I hurried home to Paterson and stayed two days.

Called up my old Reichian analyst
who’d kicked me out of therapy for smoking marijuana
‘It’s happened’ I panted ‘There’s a Lion in my room’
‘I’m afraid any discussion would have no value’ he hung up.

I went to my old boyfriend we got drunk with his girlfriend
I kissed him and announced I had a lion with a mad gleam in my eye
We wound up fighting on the floor I bit his eyebrow & he kicked me out
I ended masturbating in his jeep parked in the street moaning ‘Lion.’

Found Joey my novelist friend and roared at him ‘Lion!’
He looked at me interested and read me his spontaneous ignu high poetries
I listened for lions all I heard was Elephant Tiglon Hippogriff Unicorn Ants
But figured he really understood me when we made it in Ignaz Wisdom’s bathroom.

But next day he sent me a leaf from his Smoky Mountain retreat
‘I love you little Bo-Bo with your delicate golden lions
But there being no Self and No Bars therefore the Zoo of your dear Father hath no Lion
You said your mother was mad don’t expect me to produce the Monster for your Bridegroom.’

Confused dazed and exalted bethought me of real lion starved in his stink in Harlem
Opened the door the room was filled with the bomb blast of his anger
He roaring hungrily at the plaster walls but nobody could hear him outside thru the window
My eye caught the edge of the red neighbor apartment building standing in deafening stillness

We gazed at each other his implacable yellow eye in the red halo of fur
Waxed rheumy on my own but he stopped roaring and bared a fang greeting.
I turned my back and cooked broccoli for supper on an iron gas stove
boilt water and took a hot bath in the old tub under the sink board.

He didn’t eat me, tho I regretted him starving in my presence.
Next week he wasted away a sick rug full of bones wheaten hair falling out
enraged and reddening eye as he lay aching huge hairy head on his paws
by the egg-crate bookcase filled up with thin volumes of Plato, & Buddha.

Sat by his side every night averting my eyes from his hungry motheaten face
stopped eating myself he got weaker and roared at night while I had nightmares
Eaten by lion in bookstore on Cosmic Campus, a lion myself starved by Professor Kandisky, dying in a lion’s flophouse circus,
I woke up mornings the lion still added dying on the floor—‘Terrible Presence!’ I cried ‘Eat me or die!’

It got up that afternoon—walked to the door with its paw on the wall to steady its trembling body
Let out a soul-rending creak from the bottomless roof of his mouth
thundering from my floor to heaven heavier than a volcano at night in Mexico
Pushed the door open and said in a gravelly voice “Not this time Baby—but I will be back again.”

Lion that eats my mind now for a decade knowing only your hunger
Not the bliss of your satisfaction O roar of the Universe how am I chosen
In this life I have heard your promise I am ready to die I have served
Your starved and ancient Presence O Lord I wait in my room at your Mercy.

The Lion for Real By Allen Ginsberg
Paris, March 1958

America by Allen Ginsberg

America by Allen Ginsberg


     America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
     America two dollars and twentyseven cents January
          17, 1956.
     I can't stand my own mind.
     America when will we end the human war?
     Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
     I don't feel good don't bother me.
     I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
     America when will you be angelic?
     When will you take off your clothes?
     When will you look at yourself through the grave?
     When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
     America why are your libraries full of tears?
     America when will you send your eggs to India?
     I'm sick of your insane demands.
     When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I
          need with my good looks?
     America after all it is you and I who are perfect not
          the next world.
     Your machinery is too much for me.
     You made me want to be a saint.
     There must be some other way to settle this argument.
     Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back
          it's sinister.
     Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical
     I'm trying to come to the point.
     I refuse to give up my obsession.
     America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.
     America the plum blossoms are falling.
     I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday
          somebody goes on trial for murder.
     America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
     America I used to be a communist when I was a kid
          I'm not sorry.
     I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
     I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses
          in the closet.
     When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
     My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
     You should have seen me reading Marx.
     My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.
     I won't say the Lord's Prayer.
     I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
     America I still haven't told you what you did to Uncle
          Max after he came over from Russia.

     I'm addressing you.
     Are you going to let your emotional life be run by
          Time Magazine?
     I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
     I read it every week.
     Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner
     I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
     It's always telling me about responsibility. Business-
          men are serious. Movie producers are serious.
          Everybody's serious but me.
     It occurs to me that I am America.
     I am talking to myself again. 

     Asia is rising against me.
     I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
     I'd better consider my national resources.
     My national resources consist of two joints of
          marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable
          private literature that goes 1400 miles an hour
          and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
     I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of
          underprivileged who live in my flowerpots
          under the light of five hundred suns.
     I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers
          is the next to go.
     My ambition is to be President despite the fact that
          I'm a Catholic.
     America how can I write a holy litany in your silly
     I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as
          individual as his automobiles more so they're
          all different sexes.
     America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500
          down on your old strophe
     America free Tom Mooney
     America save the Spanish Loyalists
     America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
     America I am the Scottsboro boys.
     America when I was seven momma took me to Com-
          munist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a
          handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
          speeches were free everybody was angelic and
          sentimental about the workers it was all so sin-
          cere you have no idea what a good thing the
          party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand
          old man a real mensch Mother Bloor made me
          cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody
          must have been a spy.
     America you don't really want to go to war.
     America it's them bad Russians.
     Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
          And them Russians.
     The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power
          mad. She wants to take our cars from out our
     Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers'
          Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia.
          Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta-
     That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read.
          Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us
          all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
     America this is quite serious.
     America this is the impression I get from looking in
          the television set.
     America is this correct?
     I'd better get right down to the job.
     It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes
          in precision parts factories, I'm nearsighted and
          psychopathic anyway.
     America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

ginsberg America

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