Saturday, January 24, 2009

My evening with Allen Ginsberg

Once upon a time I attended a reading by Allen Ginsberg. It was in a high school auditorium, of all places. I was lucky enough to be in the front row, but now that I think about it, it wasn't luck at all but just a poorly attended event.

Ginsberg, wearing a brown corduroy jacket over a dress shirt and scraggly tie, was formally introduced by a local arts community muckety-muck. He ambled up on the dais and took a position behind the podium, carrying a few papers with him.

He spoke for a while, read some poetry, and seemed to be somewhat annoyed by the tepid response he was getting from the audience.

"How about this?" Ginsberg asked. "Why don't you ask me some questions?"

None were forthcoming. Ginsberg strode from behind the podium and off the dais, coming right down to the front row and standing directly in front of some twittering young girls.

"Go ahead, ask me anything. You know I'm not shy."

His last sentence was accompanied by a wink and him loosening his tie.

Knowing his past antics, I knew what was coming.

Yup. He stripped naked right in front of everyone and stood there, unabashed.

Then, to my amazement, several other men from the audience followed suit and walked up and stood next to him!

As if having an out-of-body experience, I looked down and saw I had taken off all of my clothes except my underwear! A show of beat solidarity?

And at that point, I awoke from this very strange dream - which took place Thursday night past.


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