NOTE: This poem was published in the October 21/28, 1996 "election" double issue of THE NEW YORKER magazine. Everything published in this issue - reviews, cartoons, etc. - pertains in some way to American electoral politics, election rhetoric, etc. Ginsberg's poem, "Is About," is no exception.
Dylan is about the Individual against the whole creation
Beethoven is about one man's fist in the lightning clouds
The Pope is about abortion & the spirits of the dead...
Television is about people sitting in their living room looking at their things
America is about being a big Country full of Cowboys Indians Jews Negroes & Americans
Orientals Chicanos Factories skyscrapers Niagara Falls Steel Mills radios homeless Conservatives, don't forget
Russia is about Czars Stalin Poetry Secret Police Communism barefoot in the snow
But that's not really Russia it's a concept
A concept is about how to look at the earth from the moon without ever getting there. The moon is about love & Werewolves, also Poe
Poe is about looking at the moon from the sun
or else the graveyard
Everything is about something if you're a thin movie producer chain-smoking muggles
The world is about overpopulation, Imperial invasions, Biocide Genocide, Fratricidal Wars, Starvation, Holocaust, mass injury & murder, high technology
Super science, atom Nuclear Neutron Hydrogen detritus, Radiation Compassion Buddha, Alchemy
Communication is about monopoly telivision radio movie newspaper spin on Earth, i.e. planetary censorship.
Universe is about Universe.
Allen Ginsberg is about confused mind writing down newspaper headlines from Mars--
The audience is about salvation, the listeners are aBOUT SEX, Spiritual gymnastics, nostalgia for the Steam Engine & Pony Express
Hitler Stalin Roosevelt & Churchill are about arithmetic & Quadrilateral equations, above all chemistry physics & chaos theory--
Who cares what it's all about?
I do! Edgar Allen Poe cares! Shelly cares! Beethoven & Dylan care.
Do you care? What are you about
or are you a human being with 10 fingers and two eyes?
Document URL: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/ginsberg-is-about.html
Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:25:59 EDT