Allen’s interview with Danish journalist, Ole Reitov continues
OR: Did you get to meet (Gabriel Garcia) Marquez?
AG: No, never did… Well, just once in Santiago.
OR: But he is not allowed to enter the States, is he?
AG: (Herbert) Marcuse?
OR: No, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
AG: Oh, no , never met him.
OR: Why would they not allow him into the States?
AG: Because of an old law called the McCarran Act, from the McCarthy period, to keep “the germs of Communism” out of America! …and so they made a law that everybody belonging to the Communist party or is a dope fiend (or has a dope bust, like John Lennon) wouldn’t be admitted. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take to undo that one. I’ve met Danes here (in Denmark) who can’t get in. In fact, there’s a girl living in New York that I know now, a Danish girl that was involved with building Christiana, the cafe there, who I know pretty well, who is there without a passport ’cause she’s blacklisted under the McCarran Act. (It) had a huge effect. Bertrand Russell could not come to New York. He sailed to New York with his girlfriend, and the the papers found out he had a girlfriend and said he was living in sin, so they wouldn’t let him come in. And they drove (Charlie) Chaplin out
OR: But you’ll still get in?
AG: Yes, because I’m inside that law (tho’ my mother was a Communist)
OR: Was she registered, or just by..
AG: Well, she died in a madhouse. I wrote a poem about her, “Kaddish”
OR: Was she put in the madhouse, or…
AG: Yes… I put her there. She was living with her sister who had a romantic heart and she started attacking her sister. She thought Roosevelt was after her and that there were wires in the ceiling and they were connected with her head and that Hitler was talking to her and telling her what to do, and that they were conspiring against her and it was either her sister’s life or hers at that moment.. I didn’t know what else to do. I don’t know if it was right or wrong, probably was wrong. (Jack) Kerouac lived with his mother, who was also crazy, and Kerouac said, “I’m not going to throw my mother to the dogs of eternity, like you did” (laughter)
OR: I wonder if I’m misinterpreting it but the selection you made for tonight (sic) of poems.. I think there were many that were concerned with death.
OR: Does it have any significance? Are you becoming more death-conscious?
AG: No, “Kaddish” was written in 1960.
OR: Yes, but you read it tonight and you read about your fathers death.
AG: It’s a good poem! And my father died, it was an actual experience.
OR: You also read (William) Blake’s “Tyger”
AG: Yes, which is about energy.
OR: But also about death, isn’t it?
AG: No, it was about who created.. Well, only by implication… but, who created.. or..where does the rift come from? …it says (that) it comes from my heart – “And when thy heart began to beat” – he’s just pointing back to recreate the situation we’re in
OR: I wonder who invented death?
AG: (William) Burroughs thought it came in with the word (“In the beginning was the word”), as soon a people began thinking in conceptual abstraction or language. Language created death, he says. He thinks language is a virus, possibly put on Earth by a giant Insect Trust from another galaxy in order to destroy the Earth and create Nova conditions so the insects can invade! (laughter) – and he thinks all the politicians are bing controlled and manipulated by the Insect Trust. And then some young punk kids (Leonard Belasco and William Levy) started up a magazine called Insect Trust Gazette
OR: I think there was also a band in the ‘Sixties called Insect Trust
AG: Yes, a lot of band-names have come out of Burroughs – Steely Dan, Soft Machine.. there is a group in England right now, they just had him over last year, and he read with all the new wave bands, every night a new band.
to be continued