Bohemian Nightfall



Bohemian Nightfall

when night fell on bohemia
the streets were set ablaze
in black light
in strobe light

it was tie-dyed psychedelia
when night fell on bohemia

jack and neal were on the road
ridin’ with the fire-whores
of angst and indignation
like combustin’ carnal fireballs
when night fell on bohemia

allen was howlin’
pal’n with corso
and long’n for peter

hunter, groin deep
in the brain-drug flesh festival
…hunter was fearful
and loathing it all
when night fell on bohemia

bill, stark naked
was lunchin’ with the devil
jelly-rollin’ in a demon’s fire
when night fell on bohemia

gary headed for cold mountain
to watch it all from sourdough
electric bob went subterranean

when night fell on bohemia
ken and tim
gathered up the faithful
on the magic bus
and stole off with the future

like pranksters

ever further

• • •

rob kistner © 2008


collage above entitled: “Bohemian Nightfall” — by: rob kistner © 2008

• • •



~ by Image&VerseToo on June 6, 2008.

17 Responses to “Bohemian Nightfall”

  1. For the strangest reason, I think of the Beatles ~ Abbey Lane and Sergeant Pepper. This almost sounds psychedelic! Intriguing!


  2. Just enough spice and flavor to know what’s going on, yet you don’t. Fun!

  3. dont get it. *my bad english :(*

  4. Latree –

    Here is a bit of background to help you, and others who were not a part of the ‘peace & love’ 60’s generation, “get it” – with regard to Bohemian Nightfall… 😉

    • bohemia = beat generation of writers

    • tie-dyed psychedelia = 60’s rock & roll generation

    • jack and neal = Jack Kerouac & Neal Cassady — Jack is author of “On The Road”, Neal was inspiration for the Dean Moriarty character in “On The Road”

    • allen = Allen Ginsberg — writer, author of the famous ‘beat’ performance poem “Howl”

    • corso = Gregory Corso, Allen’s life-long friend and frequent writing collaborator

    • peter = Peter Orlovsky, Allen’s life-long lover

    • hunter = Hunter S. Thompson, father of Gonzo journalism and author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

    • bill = William S. Burroughs, author of “Naked Lunch”

    • jelly-roll = slang for heroin, which was a strong element in “Naked Lunch”

    • gary = Gary Snyder, beat poet who became deeply involved with nature and the environment in his writing and his life

    • cold mountain = reference to Cold Mountain Poems, which is a translation by Gary Snyder, of the ancient poems of Han-Shan – an undertaking inspired by Gary’s affinity for Zen Buddhism

    • sourdough = reference to two Snyder poems, “Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout” and “August on Sourdough, a Visit from Dick Brewer”

    • electric bob = Bob Dylan, after he ‘plugged in’ at the Newport Folk Festival — to the horror of his original folk fan-base. Dylan was influenced by Kerouac and Ginsberg.

    • subterranean = Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, his homage to Kerouac’s “The Subterraneans”, a novel published by Jack in 1958 about the Beats

    • ken and tim = Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary – both writers. Ken was the cultural link between the Beat Generation of the 1950’s and the Hippies of the 1960’s. Tim was the LSD ‘guru’. He coined and popularized the catch phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

    • magic bus = a reference to Kesey’s bus, named “Further”, aboard which he and his psychedelic troupe of “Merry Pranksters” traveled the United States – whose escapades were chronicled by Tom Wolfe in his book, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”.

  5. Am I the only reader who understood this without your explanation? Was I also the only one who was sad that night had indeed fallen on Bohemia? There was a tremendous amount of idealism as well as other aspects of that era.

    Your blogs are a constant pleasure. This one was no exception.

  6. Thanks for the explanation. I followed it so far and started to lose it. I thought I knew about this era, but this was an education.

  7. Stan –

    Given I’m 61, I was a bit self-indulgent with this piece. After writing it I realized it would have meaning for those around the ‘baby boom’ generation, but perhaps not beyond — so the audience would be narrow… which is not always wise when creating poetry. But it felt good writing it, so here it is. 😉

    The explanation above was to allow for some understanding among a broader group.

  8. I felt good that I’d caught at least half of the references, but I didn’t feel the need to know all the background to appreciate the poem. As for the collage – I love that! Thanks, Rob!

  9. Damn, I got it. Guess that tells you how old I am! I really enjoyed it along with your collage!

  10. I’m a thriver/survivor of the 60’s and got it without those wonderful notes you put up here. Thank you so much. And your collage is fabulous, too. I’m reminded, oddly, of the ending of an e.e. cummings poem in which after addressing past and future, he says (forgive if I misquote, but I’m pretty sure I have the meaning down) “we steal off even further into now.” Same difference I think, between yours and his lines: Freedom….

  11. your collage is ripping — the verse is haunting when you came of age in those times – wonderful post!!!

  12. Reads like a song!


  13. it’s like… magic… those days appeared like a sudden comet.. long gone.. thou greeat to recall.. yr photo collage is a journey in itself.. recognizing faces, words and events past by..

  14. I absolutely loved this poem, it was so surreal, magickal. Simply amazing writing!

  15. I guess I am old enough that I understood it all. Great look back for me.

  16. intense very well done

  17. sex drugs and rock’n’ Roll ……….
    real living……..

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