“I don’t like the government where I live..”

[“Capitol Air” – “I don’t like the government where I live..” – Allen Ginsberg, pictured here with Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of The Clash]

[Allen Ginsberg, 1985 Self Portrait – Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto (c) The Estate of Allen Ginsberg]

More strange tapes from the archives. Solitary splendors. Throw-away musings. We’ll be featuring plenty more substantial things in the months to come but thought to follow up last week’s mournful ditty with this – another fugitive thing, another fleeting but poignant “audio-selfie” – Allen, alone with the tape-recorder, practicing, sounding out and composing a song, wondering out loud about political commitment and the seeming absence of real human compassion.

Where from, where from, where from, where from,/ shall we get a President?/Where from, where from, where from, / shall we get a President?/ Where from, where from, where from, / shall we get a President?/ Where from, where from, where from, / shall we get a President?/  Where from, where from, where from,/ shall we get a President?    

How shall we find/ anyone to govern us?/How shall we find/ anyone to run for  President?/How shall we find anyone to run for President?/How shall we find anyone to run for the President?/How shall we find anyone to stay in the White House?/ How shall we find anyone to stay in the White White House?/ How shall we find anyone to stay in the White White House? /How shall we find anyone to stay in the White White House? 

How shall we find anyone willing to be voted in?/ How shall we find anyone willing to be assassinated?/How shall we find anyone willing to be dead in there? /How shall we find anyone willing to be dead in there?/ How shall we find anyone able to govern us?/ How shall we find anyone able to give government?/ How shall we find anyone able to give government?/Wherefore, wherefore, wherefore, we shall find a President?

Who wants, who wants, who wants, anyone to suicide?/ Who needs, who needs, anyone coming to the present time/ when the world goes ready to blow up in the atom bomb?

Who can take care of the business of the… metaphor?/ When the time comes for the world to blow up with.. nuclears/ When the airplanes fly over Moscow and New York with laser beams/ Who can take care of the starving people in the Sahel?/ Who can take care of the people starving in the Sahel?/ Who can take care of the trees cut down in the Amazon?/ Who will stop them from cutting down the reservoirs?/ Who will stop the lumber men from cutting down the..  western slope?

Who can speak more clearly than the Reagan we got now with us [1981-1989]?/ Who can not read the Wall Street Journal and not throw up with their enemas?..

bom-pom bom-pom…. [at approximately three-and-three-quarter minutes in, Allen breaks into wordless vocalizing, before continuing..]

White House, White House, White House, White House, White House  /Who could live in there?/ Who could live in there?/ White House, White House, White House/Who could live in there?/Who could live in there?/ White House, White House / Who could live in there?

State Department, State Department, State Department /Who could say a thing?/Who could say a thing?/State Department/ Who could say a thing?/State Department?/Who could say a thing?/State Department/ Who could say a thing?/State Department?/Who could say a thing?

Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/ the ambassador?/ Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/the ambassador?/the ambassador to Africa?/ the ambassador/the ambassador to Africa?/ Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/the ambassador?/the ambassador  to China?/Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/the ambassador?/the ambassador to China?/Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/the ambassador/the ambassador/the ambassador to Mexico?/Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/the ambassador?/the ambassador?/the ambassador to Switzerland?/the ambassador to Switzerland?/ Who’ll be, who be, who be, who be/the ambassador?/ the ambassador to China?/Who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be, who’ll be/ the ambassador?/the ambassador to Yugoslavia?

I will, I will, I will/ be the, be the/ambassador,/ the ambassador/ I will, I will, I will/be the ambassador/ be the ambassador/to Nigeria, to Nigeria, to Nigeria/ Who will?/ I will/ be the/ ambassador to Nigeria/ I will, I will, be the, be the/ambassador /be ambassador, be ambassador/to Switzerland

Who could stand it/being the ambassador/to Moscow?/Who could stand it/being the ambassador/to Moscow?….

[At approximately six-and-a-half minutes in, Allen breaks off, and continues the tape with a recording of the blues singer Ida Cox (from 1925) singing her heartbreaking “Coffin Blues”]

“Daddy, oh daddy won’t you answer me please?/ All day I stood by your coffin tryin’ to give my poor heart ease/ I run my hands over your head and whispered in your ear/ And I wonder if you know that your mama is near/ You told me that you love me and I believe what you said/ And I wish that I could fall here across your coffin dead/ When I left the undertaker, I couldn’t help but cry/ And it hurt me so bad, to tell the man I love goodbye.”

[At approximately nine-and-three-quarter minutes in the tape continues – and concludes – with a blistering, if low-fi, recording of “Capitol Air”] – “I don’t like the government where I live/ I don’t like dictatorship of the Rich/I don’t like bureaucrats telling me what to eat/I don’t like Police dogs sniffing around my feet…”

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