Howl 2: The Next Generation

For Allen Ginsberg

Dear Allen,

I’ve seen how the most promising minds of my generation,

thrown onto American shores through the windshield of the crashing USSR in the late ’80s & early ’90s,

broke their skulls against the hard Brooklyn pavement,

drunk to death, struggled to survive through the endless chain of odd and meaningless jobs,

grew anxious about piling medical bills and insane New York rents,

jumped down onto the subway tracks, renounced cruelty of their drug dealers from the rooftops,

shouted poetry to the deaf and exhibited to the blind,

suffered from solitude or deranged lovers in the basements & attics,

took life-affirming walks through quiet Bensonhurst cemeteries along Ocean Parkway in snow storms,

talked philosophy with homeless Socrateses of Brighton Beach and Greenwich Village,

drowned in the bottomless pit of obscure literary zines and doomed art projects,

lost all hope to be heard, to matter,

grew disillusioned with America and briefly traveled to indifferent Mother Russia, where they made babies, complimented local skinheads, got outdrunk by Moscow poets, and taught Russians to love Putin,

then came back to be baptized in Delaware river by the Anarchist of Lordville,* joined Masonic lodges,

moved through Buddhist temples, yoga regiments, and Orthodox churches toward the angry glow of Soviet nostalgia,

and experiencing mysterious cases of chakra closings, succumbed to the mounting pressures of approaching middle age,

feasted on Internet conspiracies, found naked truth in the New Chronology,

enrolled in virtual fan clubs of the faschizoid gurus of Russian nationalism,

indoctrinated themselves with geopolitical nonsense and outlandish paranoia,

until, finally, turned into conceited fools

who dared from a safe distance of four thousand miles to lecture, edify and cajole Ukrainians to go back to the Russian fold,

raging on about false hopes, failed states, lack of civility, and naive Russian Americans,

all along imagining that they talk about anything but themselves,

dimming shards of the old broken world that can not be restored.

2015, 2019

* Тhe Anarchist of Lordville — notorious Russian-American poet and anthologist Konstantin K. Kuzminsky (1940-2015), who arrived in the U.S. in 1975. Kuzminsky was known for his extravagant lifestyle and eccentric views. In the late 90s, he settled in Lordville, a hamlet in the Town of Hancock in Delaware County, New York, and spent the rest of his life there.

*

Born in 1969, Igor Satanovsky is a bilingual Russian-American poet, translator, publisher, curator, and visual artist, who authored one poetry book in English, and several poetry collections in Russian. Igor is a Senior Designer at Sterling Publishing, and a Chief Editor of Novaya Kozha, Russian-language almanac of arts and letters. He organized the New York DADA Poetry Centennial (2016), and contributed notes to A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (by Richard Kostelanetz. Routledge, 2018).

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