carl-solomon

Carl Solomon in his Prince Street apartment several years after residence with me on sixth floor ward, New York State Psychiatric Institute, afterwards working mid-town at his uncle’s Ace Books Publishers, where he edited Wm. S. Burroughs’ Junkie paperback first edition. New York, 1953.

Only in America and from America came the slogan: Freedom.
The slogan freedom meant white supremacy and the suppression of
every movement for human hope on the face of the planet. So the
cold war began.
The men, like Franco of Spain, whom we had been taught to hate
we were now told were our allies in a struggle against the ‘‘Eastern
Bloc.’’
Men like Dimitrov of Bulgaria who had had the courage to defy
fascism during the Thirties, we were now told were our enemies, a
group of cowardly tyrants.
Who knows what his opinions are amid such nonsense.
—  Carl Solomon, I Was a Communist Youth
who ate fire in paint hotel or drank turpentine in Paradise Valley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night with dreams, with drugs, with walking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls, imcomparable blind streets of shudderring cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illumintating all the motionless world of Time between.
—  Allen Ginsberg
Yawn, by 'Beige' Larry Blumstein

I heard something happening to the best minds of my generation through the walls of my new-build flat,

But I didn’t check to see what it was,

It was raining that day,

Heavily for the time of year,

December.

***

Angel-headed hipsters walking down Portland Street,

Were they going to Underachievers?

It has moved to Gulliver’s,

Or perhaps they were looking for a kebab,

I often like one on nights such as this,

Drunk on an empty stomach,

It makes one gassy,

But then so does fatty food.

***

Who unwrapping cellophane CDs burn onto willing hard drives,

Organising iTunes libraries,

Isn’t Steve Jobs a genius,

Is it not a shame he died?

***

Who baring noggins to the night point out constellations,

But they don’t look much like what they’re meant to depict,

What’s going on?

Why were the Greeks like that?

***

Who stand in line at Starbucks,

“A medium Americano please!”

The sugar is on the counter, leering like powdered soap,

The coffee wakes you up, and keeps you regular,

You put milk in to stop it staining your teeth,

If you are vegan the soy seperates,

You have to keep stirring,

Or so they say,

Stir like angels with the hum of washing machines.

***

Who do their laundry,

But not in such good time as to still have underwear clean,

In my building you must buy tokens for the machines,

I don’t want to use the dryer because it will cost more,

So damp rags sit dripping at all times in low-cielinged rooms,

Where amazon wishlists are constructed with dim logic based on what it is thought one ought to read.

***

Who stare open-mouted at cat gifs,

Chuckling,

It is falling off the cushion,

Let’s re-tweet,

Re-tweet if you love god,

Re-tweet if you respect females,

Re-tweet if you’ve ever been hurt by someone who you loved,

Re-tweet if there is no such thing as geometry anymore,

Hash-tag Sometimes men,

Hash-tag things chicks do,

Hash-tag why I’m still single,

Hash-tag Bieber fans want Greece to default,

Hash-tag Shoggoths I have known,

Hash-tag disastrous Antarctic expeditions I have been on.

***

Who came to Slough,

Who died in Slough,

Who came back to Slough and got drunk in Slough and excused themselves to go outside to smoke in Slough,

Who signed on in Slough and got a job in Slough,

Who claimed housing benefit in Slough and were fired in Slough,

And signed on again in Slough,

And remained in Slough,

And moved back in with their parents later to Newbury so they didn’t have to pay rent.

***

Who retired to boys in Basingstoke,

To Nuneaten gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

To cultivate a Toblerone habit in Worcester,

To set fire to old bits of dust in Shrewsbury,

To Harrogate, to work in Betty’s Tea Rooms,

To still more obscure suburbs,

Where bus services increasingly atrophy.

***

Who listen to The Archers,

And know what’s going on and who all the characters are,

Who quite enjoy the work of Marcus Brigstoke,

Who find Jeremy Hardy hysterical,

Who genuinely find Sandi Toksvig interesting as a human being,

Who chuckling at Radio 4 sitcoms feel at one with the manna provided to salve bourgeois quiche of brains,

Who have memorised the order of the shipping forecast,

Who describe a Sunday with Radio 4 and Green Tea as “bliss.”

***

Who car adverts,

Mobile phone acoustics strum,

We can now contact all our friends at all times,

Through astonishing tubes that blaze fantastic and make infrastructure of reality,

But all we can think to do is lie mastarbating to the sound of our own voices,

Recorded on the voicemails of friends.

***

What I got out of Marx was that people should just be nicer to each other,

Wouldn’t that be nice?

END

‘Beige’ Larry Blumstein, famously described by the literary critic George Earley as “easily the dullest of the beat poets,” presented 'Yawn’, his best-known work to the circle of San Francisco beats at a well-frequented city art space in July 1956. It was not a success.