Howl If You Hear Me - The Jose Vilson

Howl If You Hear Me

by Jose Vilson on June 9, 2008

in Jose

Allen Ginsberg is the man.

As a resident Lower East Sider and poet, I’ve always heard of his stuff, and respected him on street cred alone. Little did I know that this whole time, I’d already been exposed to Ginsberg through one of my already favorite poets, Amiri Baraka. In “Somebody Blew Up America,” he has a meme that always begins with “who,” just as Ginsberg’s “Howl” does in the first part of his seminal piece, and very coincidentally, just as my entries always end.

At some point, this must have prompted Taylor the Teacher (along with listening to some Pink Floyd) to ask me whether or not Ginsberg inspired me to tag my entries the way I did. Of course, the ingenious mind that she is, she thought it’d be a cool idea to turn this into a poetry meme. Follow the rules:

1. My first line will start off just like Ginsberg’s:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, …

2. The rest of the poem is where you come in. Write your next post, and make it about anything you want. No really. Not that you wouldn’t do it anyways, but …

3. At the end of the meme, sign off like I do, starting with a “who …”

4. Link back to this post for the rules and the origins.

For example, I’ll start off with “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked …”

and Taylor might write her next post sign-off with “who never understood the power of the Internet until that last post …” and mzvirgo might follow up with, “who is really more than just a gossip blogger,” and JD might chime in with, “who wishes the UFT were a more perfect union,” and so on and so forth.

I’m calling on anyone who’s reading to chime in, even if it’s something small. In 2 weeks time, I should have enough sign-offs to complete the first part of the poem from everything you all said. I’ll also complete parts 2 and 3 based on who responds to the call.

So …

Tracy. Bam. Talda. -1-. Damian. Jeff. NYCEd. Hugh. J. Dakar. BBC. LeeSee. AM.

CTG, aulelia, Bill, JM Holland, Wayne, Joanne

I was ready to link all of you, but my keyboard’s melting …

jose, who saw the best minds of his generation emboldened by madness, hungry, hysterical, enlightened …

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

mzvirgo June 10, 2008 at 10:07 am

sounds like fun, I will try to get that one done…..


J.M. Holland June 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm

how did you know I had poetry in the crusty beginings of my journey? how did you know you had been inspiring be to start digging in that dirt.? how did you know I would take you up on your challenge, even though my street cred is mostly paved with clean white sidewalks and bright green grass made vibrant by killing powder mixed with hose water then trodden by little feet

I’m in let me stop before i run out


talda June 10, 2008 at 11:49 pm

i’ve been tagged. i’ll get to work…


Bam June 11, 2008 at 2:44 am

ohhh.. I will post again in time to participate.
Fa sho.


Kiersten June 13, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Love this! Wasn’t tagged but I participated anyway :)


tracy June 14, 2008 at 8:22 am

Jose – I am so intrigued to see/read/hear where you are going with this!
mmmm….cheerios…think I’ll have me some, too ;)


Frumteacher June 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Although you didn’t tag me I didn’t take that personally and listened to your howl anyway ;-)


Taylor June 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I may do this one again in the next few days if it’s still going strong….
the relevant part:


who is waiting for a ticket to ride


Socrates June 21, 2008 at 7:55 pm

I wasn’t asked, but in case you’re interested…

Socrates, who has learned to love unconditionally…


Bill Ferriter June 22, 2008 at 8:46 am

Hey Jose,

Took me a while to realize I’d been tagged, but I heard the howl. Here’s the post:

Looking forward to reading through all the links in the final product!

Great idea,


Leesee June 25, 2008 at 1:22 am

Just checking email tonight, will do this tomorrow and will send you the link.
Thanks you’re too cool!


Leesee June 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Here it is:

“Leesee, who despairs the suffering of the immigrant will never cease and by extension crushes our souls, it’s a death by a thousand cuts…


NYC Educator June 26, 2008 at 5:56 pm
Miss Señora June 26, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Feeling too overwhelmed to write, you gave me direction. Thank you


avoiceinthewilderness June 27, 2008 at 10:25 am

We weren’t tagged, but it was such a cool idea that I couldn’t resist:


Learnerinhert June 27, 2008 at 11:12 pm

I had to respond because this is so full of potential. I can’t wait to read what every one has to say:


Jose June 28, 2008 at 12:52 am

This has become much bigger than I anticipated. You’re all added. I gotta wait for a couple more people to contribute. After that, it’s getting posted … hopefully live from Dominican Republic.


Renee Moore June 30, 2008 at 12:52 am

My first attempt at meme…thanks for the opportunity. Here’s the post


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