love and friendships entwined through poetry

In my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the 
door of my cottage in the Western night.
-from Howl, by Allen Ginsberg

Sending energy vibrations through the walls of a madhouse, Ginsberg sings a triumphant song of rebellion to Carl Solomon, his friend and comrade in Rockland N.Y. Psychiatric Hospital.  Those were riotous times.
Together they penned letters to TS Elliot signed "Shirley Temple and Dagwood Bumpstead (who affixes his name under protest)."  Ginsberg got out; Solomon returned.   And so this third movement of Howl dedicated to Solomon echoes throughout the piece. When confronted with the reality of one’s partner slipping, losing their grip on what we affirm is reality, there’s fear and disbelief. It’s impossible not to wonder if we could have done anything to "save" them.
 Movement three of Howl speaks from a space beyond these temporal fears: Ginsberg meets his comrade where he is and joins him in a celebration of himself and his radiant and transcendent spirit which will not be bound:  "I’m with you in Rockland/ where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof." In Ginsberg’s words:  "I’d thought the poem a gesture of wild solidarity, a message into the asylum, a sort of heart’s trumpet call, but was mistaken in my diagnosis of his "case". Ginsberg states that as the poem Howl gained momentum, gathering force on an ever-widening scale, "I came to regret my naïve use of his name."  The invocation of Solomon’s name on so many reader’s lips summoned his friend from obscurity, and made him a Hero--a Hero who preferred to remain unsung.  In Traces, too, our main character implicates herself in her partner's dilemma and faces a disconnect:   she finds that in her partner’s recovery she is no longer needed.  She struggles to come to terms with this rift between them but it is not until she brings herself back to nature and into the woods that she glimpses a celestial space beyond her apparent grasp and surrenders to it. She looks to the great lovers Tristan and Isolde: "from Isolde’s grave a rose tree sprung, and from Tristan’s a vine entwined the rose tree."  Their love flourished in the soil, its Ph altered by their body’s decomposition.  From the soil transformed in their deaths their love took root.

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