Truth, Beauty and a Harmonium

In 1969 my friends and I piled ourselves into a car and drove from West Philly to the 92nd St Y in Manhattan to see and hear Allen Ginsberg. The poet sat on the floor playing a harmonium, hypnotizing us with truth and beauty. I love his passionate, poetic  version of “The Emperor Has No Clothes”:  “Howl.” In it, he cries out against the ego’s inventions and misshapen imaginary creations. Poetry, science fiction, music, art, and story are some of the many ways to get fly under the ego’s defense system and help us reclaim our magnificent essence.

From “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg

What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls
and ate up their brains and imagination? Moloch! Solitude!
Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars!
Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies!
Old men weeping in the parks! Moloch! Moloch!
Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch!
Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison!
Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows!
Moloch whose buildings are judgment!
Moloch the vast stone of war!
Moloch the stunned governments!

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