Howl [Applause to Allan Ginsberg]

by Robert Fenhagen
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A neighborhood dog is howling a mournful song—I wish I had a stone to harmonize.


Sitting alone, drinking from a beer in which a dead fly floated; a beer in which  I might drown, too,  I   feel  lonely, but alive; even though I don’t know about much—what were we talking about—pygmies?  I forget.


Hey, I’m most ignorant floater this side of the Mississippi.


I couldn’t sleep now or ever–Goya’s paintings are animated.


Living in a big city is criminal for the solitary man with a defenseless ego;


a solitary man, who avoids others.



I am a lone wolf, and hear cruel asides.


The zoologists tell of wolves as being social animals; how a true lone


wolf will be ultimately excluded from the pack, and ultimately die, so, by


that measure, I am a dead man.  If I am dead, then apparently, I cannot be


sitting in my den drinking a beer with a dead fly in it–  I would be buried,


wouldn’t I? The fly is dead, not I.



Does one truly know if one is dead or alive? One can’t know that they’ve


died;   I mean, how? Circuitry  unplugged.   No circuit, no knowledge.


Perhaps life in the jungle of society is but a remnant of memory, if not my own, then


perhaps of the collective experiences of my forefathers.  I have heard of


that hypothesis; however, it is so much easier to believe that I exist, and at a point, I no longer exist.


That relieves me of the uneasy feelings of not socializing, because when I die, no one will know; no one cares.  I will have become lost in the jungle.


How easy, yet, uneasy it is to be a lone wolf disguised as a man.  As a


man-wolf, I  don’t share the values, or, interests of many humans.



Notice that I am a man-wolf, not a wolf-man—a  subtle, but important difference.


Being human is the primary trait.  It’s that much sadder that I cannot share more with


other humans.


The problem seems to be the cruelty factor.


I suggest to you that humans are much more like animals than animals are like humans.


You laugh?


What traits do animals, wolves, for instance, have that humans don’t? Wolves won’t hurt


another wolf for sport, or profit. A wolf will not terrorize another wolf for pleasure.


Oh, there I go again with the animals.


I’ve often wondered—what do you suppose animal values are?


Eating in order to survive.  Killing in order to survive. Only taking another animal’s


possession in order to survive.


Not me.  I’ll take your beer any day of any week; I will drink it down, then punch you,


and if I can, I’ll take some more.


I’ll take your wife, if you’re lucky enough to have one.  It’s not carnal; I’m simply


acutely lonely.


I don’t, and I won’t try to take her; I’m a lone wolf, remember?


Thank God, I’m a lone wolf.  I don’t think animals know God.  Doesn’t that make for an


easier, more efficient existence?


Animals.  Humans.  Animals. Humans.  Where we stop, nobody knows.


Animals don’t know narcissism; at least, I don’t think that they do.


Do they preen; do they ignore the needs of another to satiate themselves?  No, well,


maybe not always.


I’ve never seen a wolf preen in front of a mirror, but I bet they do get  dressed to mate.


Don’t we all?


At some point, I left my den, and went over to my friend’s– finding him alone and


dead—lying on the cold linoleum kitchen floor.  He had just


gotten a beer out of the refrigerator and lay upon the small, metallic camp bed, where he slept off his extravagances.



That night, I dreamt of rats knawing flesh; I don’t know if it was my friend’s;   it might have been– it should have been.


I’m a lone wolf shielding my eyes against the morning sun, and wonder what day it is.   Maybe I’m a pygmy in spirit—that’s it.


It’s a bright, sunny day.  It’s Ash Wednesday.


I’m gray like ash; I’m a wolf.


Howl [Applause to Allan Ginsberg]

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