View Full Version : I can't sleep

04-15-2015, 06:58 AM
It's way too dang windy and there is this irritating neighbor laughing out loud, almost screaming, that won't let me sleep. I blame the neighbor, he's always loud. What do I do? He's loud at night and in Saturday mornings its 8:00 and he's talking loud, like BRUH... SHUT UP. And he curses

04-15-2015, 08:05 AM
William Wordsworth's definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" is more evident in Allen Ginsberg's Howl than just about any other poem (Wordsworth). Divided into three distinctive sections as well as an additional footnote, the poem utilizes a writing style based on self-symmetry to act as the framework for this overflow. The progression from one section to the next gives an impression of a crumbling society, brought to its knees through years of excessive lifestyle choices. Though the individual sections don't have official titles of their own, they could be assigned the titles of Life, Moloch, Rockland, and Holy respectively. The decision to include the footnote as separate from the original work is questionable, since its very existence has the potential to change the entire reading of the poem. If the reader skips the footnote, the poem is noticeably more straightforward than otherwise, cataloging a steady decent into the all-encompassing destroyer government. The poem would be singular in its expression, ending with the madness of the third section where the only hope of escape is to ignore the walls of the asylum and use delusion as a gateway to personal freedom. With the footnote included, Ginsberg seems to be offering a possible refutation to the negativity of the previous three sections, where both good and bad perception melt into a singular divinity with no subject or activity being left exempt. Besides the attempt at redemption in the footnote, Howl demonstrates the strong contrast between popular culture and counterculture, and serves as a portrait of American youth desperately trying the escape their inevitable assimilation into the machinery present in Moloch.
Ginsberg's poem is expressive enough that it was labeled as obscene when it was published in 1957. America had steadily let itself become boring enough as a culture that the following decade would feel the need to establish a new link with their own humanity, so the obscenity trial isn't overly surprising. The average working-class family would be shocked to read lines like:
who let themselves be ****ed in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Carribean love. (Ginsberg, 36-37)
The legal trouble experienced by Ginsberg could be looked at as a case of having his work critiqued by the wrong sort of audience. There was a clear demographic of people who have since been labeled as the "beat" generation, a term coined to describe authors like Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs in addition to Ginsberg himself. Ginsberg's publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, predicted early on that there would be a public backlash to the release of Howl. Hoping to avoid it, he send the first manuscripts to England for publication, though they would inevitably be led back to San Fransisco. The constitutional right to free expression apparently only lasts as long as the general population agrees with what's being said, so there are sufficient legal grounds to sue an author for writing explicitly about sodomy, and there's still a heavy presence of censorship and regulation fifty years later. Though this has been the country's grim reality for as long as there have been reactionary commoners to get offended by swear words, Ginsberg ultimately triumphed in the court case. John McChesney, after a 2006 interview with the publisher, summarized the reaction had by Ginsberg after the arrests, writing, "Not long after it arrived in San Francisco, police arrested a bookseller at City Lights -- the iconic book store -- and charged publisher Ferlinghetti with obscenity. The ensuing trial delighted Ginsberg, who knew it would only enhance the poem's reputation" (McChesney). Ginsberg's prediction turned out to be correct, and the poem now has the distinction of being the most significant and popular poem published during the era. Its significance was even recognized by judge Clayton Horn who was presiding over the obscenity trial, saying that the poem was not written with the intent to be obscene, and that it was a work of "redeeming social importance."
The importance comes from a frantic attempt to do justice to the wealth of life that Ginsberg had witnessed and experienced for himself over the past two decades. He had been working as a corporate advertiser, when his therapist Dr. Philip Hicks suggested to him that he ought to quit his job and pursue poetry as a full-time career. Influenced by the jazz-oriented writing style of Jack Kerouac, he wrote the first and third sections of the poem in his first drafts. Howl begins by dedicating the poem to Carl Solomon, a man who he had previously met with sympathy at a New York State mental institution. Ginsberg addresses Solomon by name numerous times in Howl, dedicating the entire third section to the image of the asylum, as well as glorifying Solomon's own exploits in the first section with the line:
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy. (Ginsberg, 66)
This praise of insanity and despair is a constant theme in Howl. Madness is described in a manner indicating a kind of reverence by Ginsberg. Insane rantings and behaviors are powerful expressions of human emotion, and their perceived incoherence is secondary to the passion present within them. The first section is exclusively dedicated to this praise, relying on its repetitive style to paint a picture of tale after tale in rapid succession. Though some of the characters, mainly personal friends and acquaintances of Ginsberg, are referred to by name, the rest are told from the perspective of a narrator recounting the lives of the anonymous "who." Neal Cassady and Lucien Carr get their shoutouts, but the section is more indicative of the whole of counterculture than specific individuals. It's intended to speak to any struggling poet or drug addict that happens to be reading, which resulted in its intense popularity following its publication. With the broad spectrum of characters and experiences, average counterculture residents felt a personal connection to the poem and made it a habit to carry the poem wherever they went. It was an accurate representation of their time by someone who had actually lived it, and set the tone for the burst of energy that was to follow with the birth of the hippy movement.
However, this energy is immediately threatened by the section of Howl that follows the first. The lively accounts of anonymous characters are worked into the unwavering ferocity of what Ginsberg refers to as "Moloch." The Norton Anthology makes a footnote of Moloch, defining him as "the Canaanite fire god, whose worship was marked by parents' burning their children as proprietary sacrifice." It is an allusion to the Leviticus quote, "And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech" (Leviticus 18:21). Though significantly shorter than the previous section, it immediately stands as a stark contrast to the spirit that would go on to fuel the 60's. Ginsberg begins the section with the lines:
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! (Ginsberg, 79-80)
The image of the dominant society painted by Ginsberg is like the literary equivalent of a Zdzislaw Beksinski painting. The landscape is the stuff of nightmares: a thoughtless machine driven to consume by inhuman humanity. Countless armies of people who have lost themselves in the ceaseless automation of the political structure, and have become little more than half-sentient flesh dolls existing only to further the progression of the beast.
The choice to call it Moloch is representative of an opinion held by offspring that has long been a prevalent aspect of youth psychology. They have been thrown into the world by the thoughtless copulation of their parents without any say in the matter, and are now left without much direction to find their way through life the best they can. If they happen to be fortunate enough to be born in America, they are thus subject to all the common expectations unique to an iconic American lifestyle. An anonymous bit of graffiti in the UK summed up the sentiment adequately, stating:
go to work, send your kids to school
follow fashion, act normal
walk on the pavements, watch T.V.
save for your old age, obey the law
Repeat after me: I am free. (Anonymous)
Though written on a wall in the wrong country, the attitude is easily applicable to our own. Power moves forward in a predictable fashion without any sign of stopping, and just about everyone that's subjected to it ends up dull and hateful as a result. The "unattainable dollars" that Ginsberg references are representative of the false American Dream that's long been the image of success. The vision of working from poverty to affluence powered exclusively by personal merit, but it has been nothing more than a dream for as long as the concept has been around. George Carlin commented on the term, saying that it's called the American Dream "because you have to be asleep to believe it" (Carlin). The reality is that the class system will continue to exist as it always has throughout human history, and anyone not privileged enough to be part of the ruling class gets to suffer. Children suffer from it, the army, and the elderly. Moloch is no person with sympathy or feelings of any kind, just an emotionless force of human construction that will chew through anything that gets in its way.
Ginsberg condemns the role of American imperialism with the description of Moloch as well, using issues that have only intensified since the poem was first written:
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running
money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!...
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! (Ginsberg, 83-85)
We are considered as subjects of the great machine, swept up in its greed rather than making a conscious decision to dedicate our lives to further it. Military strength continues the forceful expansion while automated political and financial systems serve as the support. The need for consumption and the preservation of a comfortable by ultimately doomed lifestyle effortlessly assimilate anyone under its gaze into the rank and file. It is the ultimate antithesis to the first section of Howl, where any attempt at individuality is snuffed out in order to keep up the quota of misery.
Ginsberg didn't know how right he was at the time he was writing it. In terms of averages, people seem less alive today than ever before. Humanity is now mostly incapable of functioning without the aid of electronics, and have become so reliant on television that we don't seem to know what to do with ourselves whenever there's a temporary blackout. People walking the college halls are so insecure about themselves that they'll resort to pretending to check messages on their cell phones just to make it appear that they have something going on in their lives. There are countless American families that spend all day working meaningless jobs that they hate, tolerating the longer hours and poor work conditions just so that they'll be able to come home and zone out for a few hours by staring at the entertainment box for a few hours. If we looked at the current rates of television viewing by the as a static figure, the average American citizen would spend nine solid years of an average 65-year lifespan watching television (csun.edu). Productivity and active interest in the surrounding world are chores, and the tedium of everyday life only serves to make those living it more bitter and depressed as time goes on. Charles Bukowski described this slow death as a nation of people whose minds are "full of cotton," writing:
"What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death. They don't honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They **** them away. Dumb ****ers. They concentrate too much on ****ing, movies, money, family, ****ing. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries and they can't hear it. Most people's deaths are a sham. There's nothing left to die." (Bukowski)
After the destruction presented by Moloch, Ginsberg moves to the third section of Howl, where he speaks of his connection to Carl Solomon in the psychiatric ward. It is the realm of people who have been defeated by life, and are locked away from those on the outside as a result. The writing style becomes even more repetitive than the previous descriptions of Moloch or the anonymous "who." After an initial exclamation of "Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland," every line begins with "I'm with you in Rockland." Solomon has gone insane, and Ginsberg is right in there with him. The forceful ways of Moloch have driven them both there, but there is a curious sort of optimism present in the way Ginsberg describes the place. Although they have been institutionalized, in a place where "the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses," there is a kind of distant hope left over in the form of private delusion. Human spirit overtakes solitude, establishing a preference for its own created reality over what's present in the physical world. Ginsberg writes about the eventual freedom from insanity:
I'm with you in Rockland
where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls' airplanes 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 O victory forger your underwear we're free. (Ginsberg, 127-129)
Freedom is established through seclusion and a shattered mind. Assuming the poem had finished here, there would be a final image of the psychopath rocking back and forth in his padded cell, smiling as he journeys the countryside within the confines of his own mind. A final escape, of sorts.
The only real redemption to be found after the second and third sections is the unexpected praise that comes in the footnote. It begins by saying "Holy!" fifteen times, and goes on to say that everything in the world is holy. Even the nightmarish troubles brought about by the destruction of Moloch are part of something holy. This could be looked at as a final analysis of the world reminiscent of the philosophy of Alan Watts. Watts theorized that a lot of the personal troubles we experience in life are brought about by a false assumption about the world around us that's created by our very language. We have the habit of separating ourselves from the external world through the means of our ego, which is a false distinction. The entire universe should instead be looked at as some form of supernatural event that exists in a state of constant motion, and we are all elements of it. There should be no separate concept of "me," and no identification of a person as a noun. Instead we are all processes of the universe. We are verbs, just another instance of the divine life that can be located at any point in space, and has been going on since the Big Bang initially set the wheels in motion (Watts).
Though he refutes his own dominant message throughout the course of Howl, it is a resolution based on symbolism rather than a concrete solution steeped in reality. By focusing on the rapid introduction of unnamed individuals, he establishes the setup before the fall. Their chaotic and frantic lifestyles fly in the face of the popular opinion of the country, and so the energy they present exists almost solely to be destroyed. The omnipresent troubles in our country can only be solved through means of either absolute insanity or convincing ourselves through means of philosophy that there was never a problem to begin with. With the description of popular culture as one of the most oppressive figures in literary history, Ginsberg's optimism is perhaps reserved only for the counterculture that he sought to glorify. All the power and energy of life is still present in the form of the anonymous "who," and it's merely a battle to see whether or not the human spirit can manage to struggle through the trials of Moloch without ending up in a mental institution.

Are you asleep yet? I just got this out of a random website...

04-15-2015, 08:36 AM
It's way too dang windy and there is this irritating neighbor laughing out loud, almost screaming, that won't let me sleep. I blame the neighbor, he's always loud. What do I do? He's loud at night and in Saturday mornings its 8:00 and he's talking loud, like BRUH... SHUT UP. And he curses

Move to Los Angeles, Las Vegas is too mainstream

04-15-2015, 08:44 AM
It's way too dang windy and there is this irritating neighbor laughing out loud, almost screaming, that won't let me sleep. I blame the neighbor, he's always loud. What do I do? He's loud at night and in Saturday mornings its 8:00 and he's talking loud, like BRUH... SHUT UP. And he curses

Throw Eggs at Them and say STFU

04-15-2015, 08:57 AM
Best solution:

Get some smooth relaxing music use earphones then try to relax you will sleep in no time

Or read books it also makes me sleep lol

ICreatox Gt
04-15-2015, 09:18 AM
Best solution:

Get some smooth relaxing music use earphones then try to relax you will sleep in no time

Or read books it also makes me sleep lol

Who knows,It could be some kind of youtuber gaming.

04-15-2015, 09:56 AM
Who knows,It could be some kind of youtuber gaming.

Id suggest she do both of my suggestions in bed .-.

04-15-2015, 05:45 PM
Play some sleep music. It helps me.

04-15-2015, 10:04 PM
Throw Eggs at Them and say STFU

This signature is wayyy too long, no offense.

Anywho, you'll fall asleep anyway, whether it be naturally, or you passing out.

04-16-2015, 04:44 AM
This signature is wayyy too long, no offense.

Anywho, you'll fall asleep anyway, whether it be naturally, or you passing out.
Your post count is wayyy to big, no offense.

Sozes Isbored
04-16-2015, 05:01 AM
When i cant sleep i try to slow my breathing and just concentrate on breathing.

04-16-2015, 05:14 AM