Remembering Allen

This piece is a reflection on my youth. I wrote the original 10 years ago. This is an update, written earlier this year.

I post this piece, in the wee hours of this dark, cold morning, from the home of a dear friend, who shared much of my wild and wonderful youth with me — and who remains a part of my life, still today.

I am here with others who are his friends — because we love him… and because he needs, right now, to know how much he’s loved!





Remembering Allen

(for Allen Ginsberg, upon the 10th anniversary of his passing)

I was there

you and Jack
suckling life’s sweet underbelly
in the quaking
neon zoo

in my plastic-handled-Roy-Rogers-two-gun glory
running fast as I could
to catch the bad guys

to outdistance the abandonment
the alienation
that already knew me by my first name

altogether too damned familiar

oh I was there

separated only by time and space
the chronological happenstance of conception

you and Jack and Neal
groin deep in human wallow

swilling full the brain-drug flesh festival

spewing forth to fill
in latter years
my fertile ears
with the siren song of sacred dissatisfaction

your fingers burned
from dancing with the fire-whores
of truth
and indignation

swollen with the sting of banishment


the outcast bastard
unaccepted by my peers

frightened child
fleeing to a world within

yet vibrating with virgin vision

naive imagination

foolhardy faith
that somewhere
something must be better

oh I was there
though none yet aware
but there I was

coming over that hallowed hill of pubescent predilection
fast and hard as holy hell

crashing in
just as night fell on bohemia

the streets now new ablaze
in a black-light
tie-dyed lightshow

I was on the road
I was on the bus
I was on my way

howling mad
and mind-expanded

I came in a rolling demon’s fire
lighting the night

dancing with every devil I could find


a combusting carnal fireball


for all of life’s deliciousness

ferocious appetite


longing to consume
every forbidden morsel and crumb

to gorge the smorgasborgadelic mindfeast
succulently set
by Neal, Jack, you, Tim, and Ken

I was there

thundering in your shadows
warmed by your light
though just beyond

though just beyond

each light burned so brightly
then each burned out

all flames are gone

I remember


all you crazy bless-ed bastards
I remember

you marvelous magic maniacs

madder men than you
the world will not soon see

but you’ve departed

there’s only me

rob kistner © 3/27/07


Photo of Allen Ginsberg by Cynthia MacAdams.



~ by Image&VerseToo on November 24, 2007.

22 Responses to “Remembering Allen”

  1. Very touching. Sometimes we are the only one left…

  2. Those sound like amazing times. I often feel I was born at the wrong time. All the idealism and social consciousness of the sixties gave way to the reactionary backlash of Reagan era conservatism that is still with us today.

    I was just watching No Direction Home, the Martin Scorsese film about Bob Dylan, which featured interview clips of Alan Ginsberg. What a remarkable poet. Rob, I do believe you keep his spirit alive in your wonderful writing.

  3. What a tribute to times and those gone by. Powerful words with a fresh rawness that makes one realize how quickly time goes…

  4. words that matter, friends forever a part of realizations and dreams that continue to burn in different ways remembered… and love shared so that none forget…

  5. I’ve always mourned my having been born 20 years too late. I don’t know whether I would have soared or crashed and burned, but I would have cherished the chance to find out.

  6. I forgot to add that your friend will be in my thoughts. I hope knowing how loved he is will help.

  7. that was wonderful rob.. one of the best pieces i have read here.. definitely… i could feel the angst.. it left me with a knot in my throat and an ache in my heart…..

  8. What a tribute – he is loved.

  9. WOW! What a tribute, indeed.

  10. I love the juxtaposition of your emotional experience as a child and what was going on artistically for Ginsberg and others. Wonderful, rich piece … JP/deb

  11. swollen with the sting of banishment…..those words travelled to a really familiar place.

    thanks for touching me with your smorgasborgadelic words (LOVE that!)

  12. Gautami –

    Thank you.

    Yes, slowly but surely going to visit friends is a trip to the cemetery — if one lives that long.

  13. Herb –

    You are so very gracious my friend… thank you, as always. 😉

  14. Tumblewords –

    We do keep slipping, slipping, slipping — into the future… 😉

    Yes — it is a tribute to those “who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space”… may their words forever resonate down the alleyways of our dreams, through the forests of our minds — as echoes of their bless-ed madness.

    *Italicized quote from Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “Howl”.

  15. Lea –

    Yes… what you said… 😉

  16. Robin –

    I both soared and crashed… but worse, I did not hold firm and resolute to the ideals I once championed — that I deeply regret, every time I look at the world around me. 😦

    We were suppose to lead the world to the new horizon of possibility. Instead, it sinks deeper and deeper into Dark Ages fundamentalism.

  17. Robin –

    Thank you for your concern. My friend has an ordeal to face, but it appears he will live.

  18. Paisley –

    Wow… I am pleased it touched and moved you.

    Thank you for the wonderful compliment! 😉

  19. Liza –

    Thank you… yes he is!

  20. SA Mama –

    You are kind… 😉

  21. JP (Deborah) –

    The comparative nature of the piece seemed to take hold almost from the moment I began to write it. It worked because my life overlapped theirs, and in the end, we lived the same contemporary reality. It was an exciting write… and thank you! 😉

  22. Jennifer –

    My childhood was not easy, but it was still full of wonder — perhaps more so because the cold facts were too difficult to assimilate.

    I LOVE making up words. If you haven’t yet, read my piece entitled “Nightmare”. It’s part of my “Dreams” — the yin & yang post.

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