REWORK OF "HOWL" BY ALLEN GINSBERG

AJ Lilian Menashe (Stony Point, New York)

Author’s Note: I got this idea from the reworking of Niemoller's "First they came..." poem for the 2016 election.

What I saw in Israel.

Z Mohiuddin D62 47.JPG

I saw among the best minds of Judaism some destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, dragging themselves through Jerusalem's streets looking for a homeland, a refuge, a release from shamefearagonytrauma through an angry fix, angelheaded chosen ones burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo by way of the machine-gunnery of night, 

who bare their brains to Heaven, to HaShem, but don't see Mohammedan angels staggering on formerly owned roofs and pathways, illuminated, bewildered... just as they once were not long ago...

who pass daily through a holy land with radiant cool eyes, hallucinating a homeland built on insecurities posing as strength and survival, abuses posing as self defense, 

who routinely expel those from the synagogue those who do not look... uh...Jewish, their global siblings, Jewish so called non Jews, a rainbow array with countless melodic expressions of our faith, Jews who choose to be Jews minute by minute from the womb to the tomb or from the inner calling to the beit din, or somewhere in between these, 

some of the best minds among all Jews who, looking to the left and to the right and to the horizon yet blind to all that God has given us - love, belonging, unity - already invented

rather, some among us cower in rooms of miraculously appeared houses that waited for them and them alone, listening to the Terror through the wall, a tragic scene borne from the scholars of wars.

whole intellects and believers disgorged in total recall on the seventh day, meat for the synagogue, living the prior six days with brilliant eyes and having been in the world but not of the world

who lounge hungry and lonesome throughout Israel for human connection and not seeing other wanderers because they're strangers!, for the shamefearagonytrauma defines who is human and who is not.
 

II (minimally changed)

What sphinx of cement and aluminum [settlements] bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways [and] 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 crossbones soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!

Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!

Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose [construction dust] and [drones] crown the cities!

Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!

Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch!...

They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees [over forgotten villages], radios, tons! lifting Moloch['s idea of holy] to Heaven, where it [already] exists, and is everywhere about us!
 

III

Israel, I’m with you in Palestine
where you’re madder than I am

I’m with you in Rockland County, NY
where you must feel very strange

I’m with you in Palestine
where you imitate the shade of the one true God

I’m with you in Palestine
where, goaded by legends of the twelve tribes, you’ve murdered your ideals  

I’m with you in Palestine
where you laugh at this but it's not funny

I’m with you in Palestine
standing on one foot

I’m with you in Palestine
where your condition remains serious, Palestine's remains irredeemable and is reported as such by the media, 

I’m with you in Palestine
where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses

I'm with you in Palestine
where you drink guilt and greed from the bottle of the global communities 

I’m with you in Palestine
where you pun on the bodies of the lives you've destroyed, your own and your neighbors'

I’m with you in Palestine
where you scream in a straightjacket that you’re losing the game of global communal recognition

Israel! I’m with you, and we're in Palestine
 

Credit:  Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” from Collected Poems, 1947-1980.
Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg.
Source: Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Harper Perennial, 2001)