Holy March 30 (Carl Solomon)

Carl Solomon and Allen Ginsberg at the West End bar, New York City, 1978. photo. c. Michael Uffer

“Holy Peter, holy Allen, holy Solomon…”

“Carl Solomon, I’m with you in Rockland..”
Carl Solomon (1928-1993), famed dedicatee of Howl, was born on this date,March 30.

Footage of Allen (accompanied by Ed Sanders) reciting the Heart Sutra, in memoriam, on the occasion of his passing, can be found here

Allen, quoted in Spin magazine, July 1997:

“I had a great dream the other day of Carl Solomon, who died several years ago. I meet him in the afterlife and say, “How is it there?” He says, “Oh, just like the mental hospital, you get along if you know the rules”. I say well, what are the rules?” He says, “There are two rules. First, remember you’re dead. Second rule, act like you’re dead”. I woke up laughing.”

Here’s Carl on Allen (courtesy of John Tytell’s sadly-out-of-print collection of Carl’s writings Emergency Messages

Allen at P(sychiatric) I(nstitute) Yeats and Spengler were much on his mind. Read me Yeats’ “The Second Coming” (“the falcon no longer hears the falconer”. Some discussion of Toynbee just published in the U.S. Neal Cassady represents the “internal proletariat” of Toynbee – the hope of the West. The West not the East represents the future. I like the franks and beans of the Silver Palms. Irving Rottman digs his cream puffs. Aaron Fromm talks to people only after receiving a visit.Sam weinstein is worried about three pimples on his cock. Nathan Grossman thinks, at times, that he is Gerhard Eisler. Ginsberg has painted a striking Golgotha in the OT shop. He calls the nurses “Nursey-wursey”. Kerouac comes on a visit. Ginsberg tells me that this guy is going to be the novelist of the future.

The Shrouded Stranger Of The Night

For any Ginsberg scholars interested in Allen’s early ideas, let me say that I enjoyed exposure to the early Ginsberg and became acquainted with one of the ideas that haunted and fascinated him during, I imagine, the Empty Mirror period. There was the vision or concept of a mysterious necromancer, both ugly and beautiful, who haunted River Street in Paterson, and laughed to himself and cast spells world-wide in scope. Far removed from the adult big-wheel Ginsberg so into politics, the necromancer, the product of a youthful fanciful mind, was referred to as “the Shrouded Stranger of the Night”. Allen and Kerouac had this poetic mythology in common and in the character of the Shrouded Stranger lay the embryo of Kerouac’s Dr Sax.

Secret Thoughts About Allen

He goes on writing. Reams and reams of paper with more talk on it. What can he find to say? My mind dwells on long-gone themes like the scuttling of the Graf Spee. And how dead things are. And about how when I stare out at the stars, they still stare back. And the transience of life; how Kerouac is gone and my publishing uncle is gone and David Burnett is gone and Marianne Moore is gone. And my mind dwells on the wisdom of the patient in the Institute who when asked “What’s new?”, asked in reply “What should be new?”