Allen Ginsberg: In Back of the Real


Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – 1997) was one of the best American poets to “follow Walt Whitman’s beard…”

Ginsberg’s role in the Beat Generation and subsequently in the counterculture of the 60s and 70s was incomparable. His consistently confessional and political poetry will stand among the best of the 20th C.

In Back of the Real

railroad yard in San Jose

I wandered desolate

in front of a tank factory

and sat on a bench

near the switchman’s shack.

A flower lay on the hay on

the asphalt highway

—the dread hay flower

I thought—It had a

brittle black stem and

corolla of yellowish dirty

spikes like Jesus’ inchlong

crown, and a soiled

dry center cotton tuft

like a used shaving brush

that’s been lying under

the garage for a year.

Yellow, yellow flower, and

flower of industry,

tough spiky ugly flower,

flower nonetheless,

with the form of the great yellow

Rose in your brain!

This is the flower of the World.

— San Jose, 1954

via Ordinary Finds

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One thought on “Allen Ginsberg: In Back of the Real

  1. ralph lichtensteiger says:

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