Monday, July 14, 2008

all one / odor and mortal taste

Allen Ginsberg at the trial of the Chicago Eight:

WEINGLASS. At approximately 10:30 that evening what was happening in the park?

GINSBERG. There were several thousand young people gathered, waiting. It was dark; there were some bonfires burning in trash cans. Everybody was standing around not knowing what to do. Then, there was a sudden burst of light in the center of the park and a group of policemen moved in fast and kicked over the bonfires.

WEINGLASS. What did you do when you observed the police doing this?

GINSBERG. I started the chant “Ommmmm.”
Ginsberg was also asked to read some of his poetry:

GINSBERG. “The Night-Apple.”

Last night I dreamed
of one I loved
for seven long years,
but I saw no face,
only the familiar
presence of the body;
sweat skin eyes
feces urine sperm
saliva all one
odor and mortal taste.

FORAN. Could you explain to the jury, having said that, what the religious significance of that poem is?

GINSBERG. I could, if you would take a wet dream as a religious experience. It is a description of a wet dream, sir.

COURT. You are shouting at the Court.

KUNSTLER. Oh, Your Honor.

COURT. Shouting at the Court the way you do.

KUNSTLER. Everyone has shouted from time to time, including Your Honor. This is not a situation. …

COURT. Make a note of that. I have never. …

KUNSTLER. Voices have been raised.

COURT. I have never shouted at you during this trial.

KUNSTLER. Your Honor, your voice has been raised.

COURT. You have been disrespectful.

KUNSTLER. It is not disrespectful, Your Honor.

COURT. And sometimes worse than that.

GINSBERG. Ommmmmm.

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