To the editors of the Chicago Reader:
I was underwhelmed by Frank Melcori’s rambling non-tribute to Allen Ginsberg [Our Town, April 18]. Maybe some conservatives would consider such a self-indulgent rap about his car repairman and his unwillingness to move in with his girlfriend an appropriate farewell to the free-spirited, anti-authoritarian, protest-leading, drug-loving, cock-sucking, butt-fucking, meditating, chanting peacenik, poet, and mystic, but I saw it as small-minded and shabby. Instead of eulogizing the great mind and open heart of the good gay poet, Melcori focused on himself. Is he so afraid we might suspect him of homosexual sympathies that he feels it necessary to describe going to bed with his girlfriend, whom he seems to blame for his own narrowness of soul? This is the best memorial we get? I’d much rather read this, from Ginsberg’s own introduction to The Annotated “Howl”:
“I had a secondhand typewriter, some cheap scratch paper. I began typing, not with the idea of writing a formal poem, but stating my imaginative sympathies, whatever they were worth. As my loves were impractical and my thoughts relatively unworldly, I had nothing to gain, only the pleasure of enjoying on paper those sympathies most intimate to myself and most awkward in the great world of family, formal education, business, and current literature.”
Nothing to gain! Thank you, Chicago Reader. Thank you, Allen Ginsberg. Thank you, Frank Melcori! I’m sure, as Allen’s mind-stream hovers in the Bardo realm, he heard your sigh and your prayer, and he leaps gladly into the great emptiness with a resounding giggle; malicious, not at all.