Allen Ginsberg Back to Wuppertal 1983
"Back to Wuppertal" is the title of the poem Allen Ginsberg scribbled into the guest-book of the Forum for International Poetry one hour after his arrival in Wuppertal, Germany, on February 16, 1983, where the final performance of a three-month tour through Northern Europe was to take place. Joachim Ortmanns & Wolfgang Mohrhenn's video records a few select moments from that visit.
"Back to Wuppertal in a car through snowy forest, Belgium to Köln / and the highway filled with trans-European trucks,/ Peter bare-footed, toes on the dashboard/ I was humming bass thump part for "Airplane Blues",/Steven reading Lennon's last conversation in a book,/Jurgen Schmidt in his silk foulard sparkled with sequins, driving/ and thinking "Netherland fields pass by, I stay/I pass by, and Netherland fields remain" - and threw up his right hand, remembering - "I just thought that!"
Following on from "Gospel Noble Truths", Allen recites his celebrated poem, "America", in its entirety, tweaking it occasionally, as was his practice, to include topical or geographically-resonant references (hence "German Trotskyites", "Lutheran Lord's Prayer", "Hamburg is the next to go.."). Allen here camps up the famous last line - "America, I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel"
Footage of Allen and Peter and Steven in the streets (Allen eating cake) - audio (and eventually video) of Allen reading (again locally-resonant) "Ruhr Gebiet" ("Zu viel industry/zu veil essen/zu viel bier/zu viele zigaretten.." - "Too much industry/too much eats/too much beer/too much cigarettes"…"All the German gold/will save the nation/Build a gold house/ to bury the Devil")
Peter performs his poem, "Good Fuck With Denise" accompanying himself with a variety of theatrical gestures (and likewise slips in a little local acknowledgement - "Good Fuck Mit Denise".."schlafen"..
Also footage here of entry and exit. The film begins with chanted mantra (against a backdrop of photos) and Allen (cigarette in mouth) signing the book, and ends with a crazy and spirited drive, post-performance, back to the airport.