Poems of New York      

Allen Ginsberg

I am a Victim of Telephone

When I lay down to sleep dream the Wishing Well

it rings

"Have you a new play for the brokendown theater?"
When I write in my notebook poem it rings
"Buster Keaton is under the brooklyn bridge on
Frankfurt and Pearl . . ."

When I unsheath my skin extend my cock toward
someone's thighs fat or thin, boy or girl

Tingaling—"Please get him out of jail . . . the police are
crashing down"

When I lift the soupspoon to my lips, the phone on the
floor begins purring

"Hello it's me—I'm in the park two broads from Iowa . . .
nowhere to sleep last night . . . hit 'em in the mouth"

When I muse at smoke crawling over the roof outside
my street wisdom

purifying Eternity with my eye observation of grey
vaporous columns in the sky

ring ring "Hello this is Esquire be a dear and finish
your political commitment manifesto"

When I listen to radio presidents roaring on the
convention floor

the phone also chimes in "rush up to Harlem with us
and see the riots"

Always the telephone linked to all the hearts of the
world beating at once

crying my husband's gone my boyfriend's busted
forever my poetry was rejected

won't you come over for money and please won't you
write me a piece of bullshit

How are you dear can you come out to Easthampton we're
all here bathing in the ocean we're all so lonely

and I lay back on my pallet contemplating $50 phone
bill, broke, drowsy, anxious, my heart fearful of

the fingers dialing, the deaths, the singing of

telephone bells

ringing at dawn ringing all afternoon ringing up
midnight ringing now forever.

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    Excerpted from Poems of New York, edited by Elizabeth Schmidt. Poem copyright by Allen Ginsberg. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.