“Something is Rotten in the Soul of America”
from Allen Ginsberg by Thomas F. Merrill, 1969
But he is right, and all of this is right
and even though he sometimes calls it phony
and sometimes calls it inspiration
and even though,
“if you want to get the plain truth,
be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
is the sickness of the mind”
and so he can’t be right
and all of this can’t be right
and I shouldn’t be thinking of right
but in this rightness i mean lightness
i mean freedom to be anyone in this kingdom
i mean it is right that there is no right,
that we are all the light inside us
the light that leads us and others
and their lights leading us
and altogether our lights are one big glow
one big blow, one big lamp
we are community
we must engage
to disengage is to die.
we must care,
because to not care is to lie.
it is impossible to not care, to not engage
while heart beats, blood bleeds, good deeds.
this is my vision, this is our generation –
stop telling me what is right and wrong!
stop telling me I am the ‘Me, Me, Me Generation’ –
the most spoiled and selfish this nation has ever seen.
stop telling me to go to college and get a job,
and that going to college will get me a good job.
IT WON’T and IT HASN’T and it is not a guarantee.
The guarantee is in me, in my will, in my actions,
in my thoughts, my wants, my wishes.
stop telling me to study engineering,
computer programming, science.
stop telling me technology is progress.
IT’S NOT. or it was for a while
but now technology has progressed so far that
it has passed humanity, and it has destroyed our sanity
as we talk to ourselves constantly,
as we talk to screens constantly,
as we talk to robots constantly,
and forget to talk to the person next to us.
stop telling me to shower every morning,
to take five minute showers.
stop telling me that there are winners and losers.
stop telling me that no child is left behind.
stop telling me that we had to drop the atomic bomb.
stop telling me that borders are necessary because in the end we only care about those we have things in common with, and we have nothing in common with those of other nations.
stop telling me that if i work really hard I will become rich and successful and live in Calabasas and drive a Mercedes and get invited to parties with famous people.
That is YOUR definition of success.
stop telling me that dropping bombs in Syria is necessary,
stop telling me that it’s not.
stop telling me that Donald Trump is an idiot, that Hillary Clinton is an idiot, that Bernie Sanders is an idiot.
stop telling me that Obama is the worst president ever.
stop telling me that women are treated more equally than ever before!
It’s not true! Perhaps in the HIS-story of the Western world, but in other cultures, women walk with pride, their wrinkles are crowns, their periods are jewels.
Today, they still tax us for tampons, they still ask us to dye our hair, shave our legs, our armpits, our VULVAS.
Today, they still ask us to wear pretty dresses and smell nice and try to look sexy and have a big butt and don’t have a big butt and plastic surgery is necessary to continue your career.
And we don’t say no. We can’t say no. To say no is to become an outsider, to become an angry-radical-feminist, to become a body that is not able to create a profit for big business and therefore not part of the popular culture, therefore to become a counterculture.
Stop telling me I need to FUCK somebody.
Stop telling me, stop telling me, stop telling me!
I have been going to school now for twenty years. TWO DECADES
of being told what to do, when this is due,
what is good, what is bad
how to live.
You made me forget that school is about life, and that life isn’t about school.
you made me cry under tables because I didn’t think I could ever get to college,
because i felt i couldn’t express myself without being ‘weird’
because i felt that, don’t worry, nobody cares
because I could not stand up for my belief that every human deserves a basic standard of living,
because because because you make me feel that my life has no meaning, no point but only to serve my government, my self, and the rich.
where are the independent businesses? Where are the entrepreneurs and innovators?
They live in big cities in pent houses away from the people.
I will tell you. No. I won’t tell you.
I will do. I will live. I will be. And I won’t let you tell me no more.
I have listened. I have learned. It is time.