Monday January 21, 2019

I wrote a letter to a cousin of mine ten years into serving a seventeen-year sentence in prison. I try not to dwell in sadness over my own condition for his sake, given his condition, nearly impossible for me to imagine, let alone endure. I loathe and despise my society’s appetite for imprisonment and detainment, yet writing this letter is one of the few things I’ve done to try to comfort a prisoner. “Better late than never?” asks the ego in hope of absolution as it lies on a couch reading about “Moloch the incomprehensible prison,” “Moloch whose mind is pure machinery.” Reading “A Supermarket in California,” one of the “other poems” in Howl & Other Poems, I hear Ginsberg evoking Walt Whitman as a Virgil, leading him through the neon-lit inferno of the American Century.