Sunday, May 1, 2011

First of May

America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they 
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the 
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the 
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party 
was in 1935....” (Allen Ginsberg - from "America" (1956))

Allen sings robustly here his 1986 poem "Fifth Internationale"("Arise ye prisoners of your mind-set/Arise Neurotics of the Earth"), a "parasong", as his friend Tuli Kupferberg might have described it, written to the tune of the original "Fifth Internationale", and performed, on stage, in 1995, at Megatripolis club-night, at the Heaven night-club, in London's West End.

May 1 also reminds us that Allen was at one time "King of May". As something of an annual ritual, we once again post this extraordinary footage - and this, a reading of "Kral Majales" at City Lights, shortly after his expulsion from Czechoslovakia.

Our friend Patrick Warner also alerted us to this additional important source - the "Allen Ginsberg issue" of the Massachusetts Review (from 1998) and Andrew Lass's interview.


  1. Reading Bill Morgan's I Celebrate Myself, I realize that there is a bit of a gap in 1971. After the trip to India, AG came to New Orleans, new Shiva Trident in hand and freshly shorn of his beard. I spent nearly a week with him then (Oct. 1971), heard the Blake songs, listened to chants and the harmonium he carried, and visited the French Quarter, the bars and the bathhouse with him. We had meals with W.S. Merwin and talked about everything from Viet Nam to Buddhism and Blake to Timothy Leary and Whitman. Here's a commentary I wrote a few years back. Glad to share my many photos and remembrances of this great man and poet--

  2. Thanks for filling us in on that bit of history jack! It seems Mike Schumacher skips over that trip as well. I guess it was a busy month for Allen and there's only so much a biographer can include. I've seen photos from the Tulane reading, but never had the exact date on those. Would love to see any other shots you have. email: Cheers, Peter