Allen Ginsberg

I nearly bought a second-
hand copy of The Fall of
America by Allen Ginsberg
because I thought it would
help me

I didn’t buy it though, it
was twenty Euros which
was probably fair but a bit
much for me right now.
Though later I spent more
money than that getting
drunk with my boyfriend.

At the bar I bought a
woman a glass of wine and
told her I was a waitress/
poet. Her fourth-language
tick was to say
yesyesyesyesyesyesyes all
inaline once she had
translated into German the
words I was using to spin
my bullshit.

My priorities are all

Instead I bought a book of
Boris Pasternak’s writings
published before the wall
fell for four Euro. I liked
the cover, on which there
was a quote, “…the only
thing in our power is to
avoid distorting the voice
of life which sounds within

My lover from a year ago
drew a line around her
bedroom to protect it from
me, it’s boyish
mattressonthefloor, her
jeans tight on her tender. I
didn’t love her enough to
HalobyBeyonce her. She
didn’t stay over at my
place the first time, which
my best friend said was

I am trying to
learntowritepoetry because
my lover from a year ago
wrote poems about me,
using my words, and I felt
I don’t know I felt like…

I felt that she nailed my
terrible and not my tender.

Instead I want revenge.

Anne Carson: ‘As if anger
could be a kind of vocation
for some women. / It is a
chilly thought.’

The “voiceoflife” which
sounds within me.

Allen Ginsberg is one of
those poets I suspect may
not be perfect yet he
me inordinately. The
queer yet regressive
socialist type (I can’t help
myself). Because before I
decided to think harder
about not
failinguniversity, I was a
waitress/poetess. Before,
also, I saw that all the
other poetesses stand up

before one another to read
out loud, serious-voiced,
hand gestures wild and
rippling bodies. Which I
found shockingly

Once I tried to smoke
opium with a poet
whose number one hit
poem was about
the streets of our city
burning. The streets are on
fire, he’d shout, or The city
is burning, I don’t recall,
and all the others at the
bar hearing this would
whoop while I felt the
presence of every cell jam
up in my body. We didn’t
get high because the
opium was made poorly
from a hippie friend’s

His eyebrows were like
McDonald’s arches and his
mission was romance.

I slept over but chastely
and he said when I awoke
he said I wanted to wake
you up with oral. Oh.
I don’t know. He bought
me a mango. I took a
photo of him in bed
blackandwhite in his
undies but never
got the film developed.
Poetry was fun.

Instead of me he got with
an artist whom he thought
I’d love and I did in fact I
was lustful but afraid of
women then.
I saw her at the gym her

The story was that she’d
scream so loud when they
screwed that the
neighbours thought
murder. I mean the things
other women’s boyfriends
tell you once they think
you are oneofthem.

What can I say. I never
loved any of you.

My lover from one year
ago is a great poetess. I
think her poems are funny.
My boyfriend thinks
they’re sad. But in a good
way. Maybe he is jealous, I
mean what if I
fallforawoman again. They
say in tv shows and the
like that it’s ‘about the
person’ but truly women
are totally different. Better
and worse at the same
time. I like how imprudent
guys are. They say ‘you can
hook up with girls if you
want to’ then when you do
they flip out. It’s pathetic,
which means it’s both
touching and couldkillyou.

The truth is I am averse to
narratives of pure romance
in the way that I am averse
to the avant-garde. In the
sense that I am averse to
that which is removed
from its context. Poetry is
often this. So is
social theory. Sorry.

On the news today I saw
the body of a gunman.
Supine mass of sinew.
Warm blood almost
stillnow in its veins, a
journalist gazing hawklike
from above. Watching this
I stretched my right
forearm to ease the
delicate tendon within.
Things outside the closed
glove of language. Like
slow-moving blood. Like
looking from above.

Amiri Baraka said that art
is the endless expression of
birth. Revolution is matter
transformed by
consciousness. Things like














He said these things in
such a way I felt compelled
to set fire to my

I did not set fire to my
apartment. But I gave
myself over again to the
saint life of asceticism. No
more straightjacket
metaphors. No more
superego shadows cast
over. Confidence in art to
drink blood, no, struggle.

This is selfish but. I wish
sometimes that I could get
fucked up all the time.
Like just start drinking at
lunch and not stop till I
pass out at six. This is not
the kind of thing you tell
your therapist. If I had a
therapist I would not tell
her that. Instead I’d
impress her with self-
interrogation. Recover a
childhood moment after
which anything I did,
______ would hate me still.
You’d make a great
therapist, she’d say. And
I’d run home to empty out
another wine bottle. Hide
the empty in. The oven.

You’d be surprised how
unscathed I really am. Like
a seal.

I have begun
again to
nicotine gum.



Ellena Savage ( is a writer from Melbourne. Her essays, stories and poems have been published widely. Most recently: Chart Collective, Literary Hub, Cordite Poetry Review, and The Best of The Lifted Brow: Volume Two. She is a former editor of The Lifted Brow, and writes a column there about reading books. She lives in Athens at the bottom of a hill with her sweetheart and an almost-finished Ph.D. thesis.

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