“Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America…”

While I often shared a good howl with my Siberian Huskies (and will today given the least opportunity) just seeing the word “howl” drives my mind right back to Allen Ginsberg. I read Howl in high school and thought it was both incomprehensible and edgy (they kind of go together, right? Especially when you’re 16?) but as I was already (imagine) superlatively cool I stood behind its incomprehensibility, Jewishness and sexuality. Dammit.

I didn’t even know if I liked the poem. But is there a more beautiful image anywhere than “…angel-headed hipsters” or “who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music.” Seriously. And then?

“who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes…”

If Denver is indeed lonely for her heroes, she hasn’t told me.

But I like Howl now. I love it now. Back then I preferred “America” and “Supermarket in California” but today? Howl, definitely, the first part, anyway. Beautiful. Still, I have to stand by this…

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.


When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.  

I am sitting in this crowd listening to Ginsberg who’s inside D. G. Will Bookstore in La Jolla, CA. Loudspeakers were put outside so that the immense overflow audience could hear him read.

P.S. In plumbing news, the public works guy from the city called me back yesterday and I learned I have three directions.

  • I can just leave it like it is and clean it out whenever, possibly asking my neighbors to pitch in.
  • I can dig up my pipe, disengage it from the shared pipe and go on with my life with a huge bill but a state of the art sewer line that will last 50 years.
  • I can communicate with my neighbors and we can ALL pull out the line and continue to share a line (but state of the art).

    For now I’m going with the first option. In spring I may look into the second option, but it will be at least $3500 for the line alone, then more for the fence and the concrete. I think this merits more thought.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/rdp-thursday-howl/

15 thoughts on ““Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America…”

  1. My parents decided to sell the house after the city came in and said they all had to hookup to a new sewer line at the cost of $10,000. They couldn’t afford it. The house sold and we built a new one that had city sewers already… There is never a good AND cheap solution to sewer line issues. This situation would make me howl too. (Allen Ginsberg not withstanding).

    • I’m OK now that I know what it is and what my options are. It’s NOT understanding that drives me crazy. I’m grateful the public works guy explained everything in detail. In spring I might redo my sewer line and cut myself free from my neighbors. The line will still go through my yard, but if it backs up, it will back up in their houses. That’s fine with me.

  2. These sales pitches that say, “It’ll last for 50 years!” That’s great, but I won’t be around in 50 years so why should I pay? I mean, really?! More thought, indeed.

  3. It’s always good to have choices – waiting till Spring sounds reasonable. The total cost could easily escalate with “unforeseen issues” and now is not the time for anything else that is “unforeseen.”
    I had not heard of that poem before – many layers deep. Whoa.
    I hope you had a better night’s sleep last night. ❤️

  4. Nice of the city guy to lay out your options. I like the first one. It was my approach when I had similar issues in an older home (1940s) I had purchased in the early 1990s. It took a few years for the issue to arise (a neighbor’s tree roots invading the line). Paying $50-100 for a clear-our every 6-12 months seemed more manageable than the cost of replacement. And, as it turns out, I sold the house a couple years later, disclosing (of course) the sewer pipe issue.

    Since you already know the challenges of “sharing” a line with neighbors, I wouldn’t go that route.

    Have never read Ginsberg, at least, not that I can remember, but given my age (63) I’d be surprised if one of my English teachers didn’t have us read something by him at some point!

    • I’m going with the first one for now and maybe forever. My next door neighbor puts up with barky Bear and the guy next to her has a huge Trump flag in front of his house that’s been there for months. Meantime, I’m pondering ways to do the rebuild which would be great if it weren’t so expensive and inconvenient. I just wish I could find my house deed. It’s disturbing because I have ONE place for papers like that and it’s not there. 😦

  5. As a plumber, I agree with your plan to clean it as needed. If you keep track of timing, you may even be able to clean it prophylactically just before it would clog – so it’s not an emergency but you also don’t waste $ doing it too often. If the time comes that it breaks completely or needs cleaning too often to be cost-effective, you can replace it (and start counting your 50 years from then!).
    It was Ginsberg who convinced me not to smoke cigarettes. I heard him read in a church nearly 50 years ago. People were smoking, which seemed weird. I smoked a bit then and lit one in self-defense (better to breathe fresh smoke than someone else’s stale smoke). Ginsberg looked me right in the eye, started playing his harmonium, and began chanting “Don’t smoke” to an improvised tune. Sheepishly, I put it out and never smoked again.

    • I’m very glad to have your opinion on the plumbing situation. I wasn’t able to find a better solution but wasn’t sure if it was because it’s a good solution or I’m just ignorant.

      That’s the most beautiful Ginsberg story I’ve ever read. 🙂

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