Ginsberg, Commas, and Supporting Prints…

I remember first running into the poetry of Alan Ginsberg back in high school (that’s when every geeky young punk rocker does that, right?). It was a revelation of it’s own kind, I was enthralled by the long almost endless rhythms of the words, both droning and frantic like the viola lines of those early Velvet Underground songs.
ginsberg_rally

The opening stanza of “In the Baggage Room at Greyhound” by Allen Ginsberg will forever resonate in my brain with its seemingly infinite string of commas and phrases. I always try to read it without taking a breath…

In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal
sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky
      waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart
worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in
      the night-time red downtown heaven
staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering
      these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty
      of our lives, irritable baggage clerks,
nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the
      buses waving goodbye,
nor other millions of the poor rushing around from
      city to city to see their loved ones,
nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop
      by the Coke machine,
nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last
      trip of her life,
nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar-
      ters and smiling over the smashed baggage,
nor me looking around at the horrible dream,
nor mustached negro Operating Clerk named Spade,
      dealing out with his marvelous long hand the
      fate of thousands of express packages,
nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden
      trunk to trunk,
nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown
      smiling cowardly at the customers,
nor the grayish-green whale’s stomach interior loft
      where we keep the baggage in hideous racks,
hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and
      forth waiting to be opened,
nor the baggage that’s lost, nor damaged handles,
      nameplates vanished, busted wires & broken
      ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete
      floor,
nor seabags emptied into the night in the final
      warehouse.

I think this is why I love designing my supporting prints, those designs where no element takes priority, everything melds together to produce and impression, a meaning, but one not born of a particular emphasis, but the accumulation of the totality. These prints aren’t showy, they just are; rather than capture an instant they speak more of the ubiquity of being.

If I could get away with never again designing a feature print I would; they always seem so self-important to me. I prefer the seemingly infinite catalogue of supporting prints stitched together like phrases by Ginsberg’s commas.

Perhaps someday…

-t

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One Response to Ginsberg, Commas, and Supporting Prints…

  1. 1
    Jane B says:

    The brilliant sadness of the poverty described by this poem is what I admire. Beauty from such sadness.

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