Studs Terkel‘s 1959 radio interview transcript (courtesy PennSound) continues. See previous transcripts here, here, here and hereST: While the discussion goes on in the background. I was trying to whisper to the audience that I think there’s a seriousness and semi-seriousness, but we’ll see if you can sort of discern the chaff from the wheat.
Now, the end of the poem [“Howl”] – which is where – “I’m with you in Rockland”, (which is a bug-house). I’m saying, “I sympathize, I am with you.” In other words, I’m not saying “Go to the bug-house, stay there, and don’t bother me anymore!” – Dig? Are you following me?
AG: No, no, I’m saying something very simple.ST: Go ahead
AG: Like, I’m writing a poem about a friend who’s in a bughouse..
AG: and I’m saying “I’m with you in the bug-house”.
AG: Yeah – I’m with you, in the sense that, you know, I’m not putting you down for being there. I’m not saying I’m going to go get myself a job on Madison Avenue and keep away from the accidents and irrationalities of life. What I’m trying to say is, ok, ok, it’s necessary to have some compassion for a brother. So..”…where we wake up electrified out of the coma/ by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the/ roof” – (in other words, “our own souls’ airplanes”, not the enemies, but friendly), “they’ve come to…” (that’s, in other words, some great explosion of soul internally, or feeling of our own, or of compassion of our own, so, come “roaring over the roof/ they’ve come to drop angelic bombs/ the hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls collapse/O skinny legions run outside/O starry-spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here, (Now. With us. We’re in…)
to be continued
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-four-and-a-half minutes in, and concluding approximately twenty-six minutes in – 2018 update – audio no longer available]