The Poet Community

Letter of Psychosis to Allen Ginsberg | A Poem by Jesse Hoefling

I’ve written suicide notes before. Like long letters to the future
of skulls. But it’s difficult to condense life to a paragraph. One
word on a typewriter from Thompson, Elliot Smith missing misery with the knife. Hemingway writing these final words before the sound of a gun. And Van Gogh, unable to escape through another starry night. The ecstasy, the agony, the lust, the life, the alcohol, the therapy.

But I’m thinking of you now, Allen Ginsberg, in the insane asylum
that is still full.
I’m with you here, in the madhouse breathing in the heat — drenched in reality.
I’m with you here, where the best poetry is written in handcuffs;
In America, where the best photography is mug shots;
At the edge of America, asking for holy water and getting Coca-Cola;
Spontaneous, burning in the dynamo machinery of night and living a
full life every time I read “Howl.” Then reading it all over
I’m with you here, with psychic bondage around the next door, the
air cut with a scream from down the hall.
I’m with you here, with reality closed, only opened to the sound of
the third world war.
I’m with you here, both my shoulders useless.

Was this what Lincoln wanted? Our two greatest inventions to be the
nuclear bomb and standardized multiple choice test? And our greatest outsourced commodity powerful erection pills?
The doctors now stroll in, the nurses stroll in, the patients stroll.
Everyone is serious. Everything here is serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am “the mentally insane”
The incapable of escaping the high inner walls.
The incapable of freedom — still only real in the desire.
The incapable of lying in NA every Thursday night.

The doctors leave, and give me a pill that pulls me through the decay.
Like manufactured reality, like manifested air, like manufactured
Ginsberg, it was “Howl” that was perfect, and not this.
I’m with you here, Allen Ginsberg, thinking of eternity and how God
too must be caught up in eternity’s game of forever.


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