from Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986-1992 (Harper Perennial, 1995)


1 thought on “debating

  1. This is a beautiful poem about compassion and tenderness.

    First an arresting image. A rainy urban setting. A drab umbrella. Proletarian uniforms. And then four white heads. Some revealed. Some obscured by the umbrella. Perhaps some touching.

    And then the mythos of the skinhead. Angry warrior of hate. Yet huddled together to avoid the rain.

    And our author is Ginsberg, so we begin to understand the feelings associated with this group of lads.

    Here our dissonance between the image and the content expressed by the image is resolved by the author’s ambivalence and ultimate yielding to vulnerability.

    This transforms this from an observation to a question about compassion, or at least the seeds of it.

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