Since industrial and mechanical diction – and the imagery it evokes – heavily conveys the environmental message running throughout Allen Ginsberg’s poem, . Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra” is definitely a poem of crisis and recovery. Ginsberg’s sunflower suggests an America that has been. Returning this week to the trove of recorded material currently available in the Stanford Archives, we focus today (perhaps somewhat arbitrarily) on a reading.
I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look for the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery. The only water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank alleb top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he ginserg, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then! The grime was no man’s grime but death and human locomotives. A perfect beauty of sufra sunflower! How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of your railroad and your flower soul?
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower! And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not! So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter. America America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, I can’t stand my own mind. America when will we end the human war? Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me. I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind. America when will you be angelic? When will you take off your clothes? When will you look at yourself through the grave? When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites? America why are your libraries full of tears? America when will you send your eggs to India? I’m sick of your insane demands. When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks? America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me. You made me sunflowed to be a saint. There must be some other way to settle this argument. Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Howl and Other Poems – Wikipedia
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke? I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession. America stop pushing I know what I’m doing. America the plum blossoms are falling. I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies. America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry. I smoke marijuana every chance I get. I sit in my house for days on end and suunflower at the roses in the closet. When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid. My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble. You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right. I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer. I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations. America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine? I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. I read it every week. Sutrw cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library. It’s always telling me about responsibility.
Business- men are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me. It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again. Asia is rising against me. I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance. I’d better consider my national resources. My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that goes miles an hour and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns. I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
James Preller’s Blog
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic. America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood? I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America when I was seven momma took me to Com- munist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sin- cere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.
Ginsberg’s Sunflowers | The Walt Whitman Blog / Transnational Poetry
America you don’t really want to go to war. America it’s them bad Russians. Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take sunflowe cars from out our garages. Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers’ Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta- tions. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set. America is this correct? I’d better get right down to the job. It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
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