Pho to by Alic ia Da n ie l Allen Ginsberg at the Observer On July 20, the Observer sponsored a reception in Austin for poet Allen Ginsberg. Below are excerpts from his remarks., delivered from the front porch of the Observer building. Austin I’M SUPPOSED to be a specialist on the ’60s, which I think was a minor era compared to the ’40s the really crucial era of breakthrough of consciousness in America. I’m constantly asked what happened to the ’60s. Allen Ginsberg and John Henry Faulk. I think it actually got absorbed into the body politic, and new consciousness did get co-opted by the middle class, that is, in the sense of everybody making love with their eyes open or realizing that the earth is a spaceship or that we’re in a vast place here under the sky, and the sky is much larger than America or the planet; in fact, it is a black hole at the center of the galaxy so that everything is free from now on. .. . What happened in the ’60s is an interesting study in specific government sabotage of the movement toward a political consciousness that was more gentle. It’s a little better known now in the case of John Lennon, which you’ve heard about in the last half year. The government intended to bounce him out of the country for his political activities. . . . Government sabotage of independent and decentralized intellectual and emotional activity from the ’60s to the ’70s was on a much larger scale than people ever realized. .. . We don’t have to be ashamed of our own sense of humor; we don’t have to be ashamed of our own spirit; we don’t have to be ashamed of our own humane aspirations. We don’t have to be ashamed of the world of our own imagination. It isn’t a failure by itself; it takes hundreds of millions of dollars and lots of CIA and FBI to put a wet blanket over it publicly. Whatever there is left of our imaginations, which is the whole imagination, returns anyway. So it’s really not that great a tragedy that what appears to be an esprit de corps of an earlier decade comes or goes. What actually is of more importance is our own recognition that our own desires and our own imaginations are ours. Our own desires are all we’ve got, in the sense of unworldly love that cannot it’s a line of William Carlos Williams “unworldly love that has no hope of the world and that cannot change the world to its desire.” Imagine being in Nazi Germany thinking that. Or Russia. Unworldly love that has no hope of the world and that cannot change the world to its desire. So what’s that? That’s us, actually, or everybody out there, for that matter. What’s left when cancer deathbed nuclear bomb comes, there’s still what is left of us. what is left. What’s basic, what’s most basic to our natures. Which is what everybody knows in his bed at night. .. . I actually read the Texas Observer. I get it in New York. and I find it a good source of local information. I had a lot of friends that were around here. Jeff Nightbyrd, among them, was in and out editing papers. So, I get a lot of local information, specific political information from the Observer, as from, in former years, a lot of decentralized sources of information that were most reliable. This was the underground press in the United States, in the sense that they had the time and the room to cover particularities and specificities of local situations which larger newspapers where I am in New York don’t get. So, if you actually want to know what’s happening in New Waverly or what’s happening in Boston, it requires that you actually go out and get something besides the New York Times or NBC. I’m grateful for your support of the Observer and also for the Observer’s existence in educating me where I am in my corner of the Universe. Pho to by Al ic ia Dan ie l SIXTY MILES southeast of El Paso, IH-10 leaves the Rio Grande and heads due east for Van Horn. At that point the land becomes as desolate as a moonscape. Short, rust-colored mountains the Quitman and Finlay ranges Sierra Blanca peak at 6900 feet. The desert in all directions is gray, gray stone and sand, gray brush growing to a height of no more than three feet. Just past Esperanza, the last marked settlement on the Rio Grande for the next 100 miles, where the highway parts company with the green strip along the river, past the site of old Fort Quitman, the road begins to climb heading east. It is July and hot. Every rock, every pebble reflects the sunlight. Then, ten miles past Esperanza, at the foot of a rust-colored mountain, there is a small stone building covered in green. Trumpet vines wind around the stone pillars of the terrace and provide a shady arbor. Inside, a bar and cafe. The building is a maze of small concrete rooms, each built as if an afterthought to the room in front of it. In one room are cases upon cases of Coca-Cola. This is an oasis of Coca-Cola in the desert. In another room two pool cues are AFTERWORD Travelogue Marfa’ s Lesser Lights By Geoffrey Rips 30 AUGUST 17. 1984
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