America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January
17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I
need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not
the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back
it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical
joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday
somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid
I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses
in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle
Max after he came over from Russia.

I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by
Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner
candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Business-
men are serious. Movie producers are serious.
Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of
marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable
private literature that goes 1400 miles an hour
and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of
underprivileged who live in my flowerpots
under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers
is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that
I’m a Catholic.
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly
mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as
individual as his automobiles more so they’re
all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500
down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Com-
munist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a
handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and
sentimental about the workers it was all so sin-
cere you have no idea what a good thing the
party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand
old man a real mensch Mother Bloor made me
cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody
must have been a spy.
America you don’t really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power
mad. She wants to take our cars from out our
garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers’
Digest
. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia.
Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta-
tions.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read.
Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us
all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in
the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes
in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and
psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Berkeley, January 17, 1956

Analysis, meaning and summary of Allen Ginsberg's poem America

4 Comments

  1. isaak says:

    Ginsberg was only the most famous of a cadre of intelligent thinkers who appealed to the fantasies of a generation of rebellious young people unable to grasp the realities of intuitive enlightenment. He himself was not for a minute a disciple of the sophomoric rhetoric he skillfully used in giving his adhorants the credibility they imagined they had. His mastery was not in the pseudo philosophy he appeared to champion, but in his ability to manipulate a subculture who believed themselves to be mentally and morally superior to an extant society too intense for their chosen lifestyle. His motives, while suspect to a certain segment of thinkers outside his own culture because of the subtle directives they implied, were not mysterious at all to accomplished occultists but rather recognizable and well understood. He accomplished much, but not in the vein in which he was (and is) given credit for. A pop icon of the first magnitude, but if one is to know what he was actually about a fuller understanding of higher disciplines is necessary. Search.

  2. zelihan says:

    It is too long…and it is sexual. there is no emotion. there is no action. it is not exciting.

  3. Shana says:

    I can’t even deal with the ridiculousness of these anti-Ginsberg comments. The fact that anyone took time out of their lives to read this amazing poem and then turn around and denouce it is a perfect example of the America he was talking about. This poem is really a portrait of American history, (American”ness,” if you will) and to say that it is a “piece of crap” proves the ignorance and judgemental mentalities that still plague this country.

  4. Caleb says:

    Of course the most ignorant and homophobic comments are from Americans themselves. I appreciate good irony. This poem is very profound and full of longing and defiance, I absolutely love it. As for you mindless philistines, stick to Dick Cheney, NASCAR, and 9-11 bumper stickers. That’s the America you love.

Leave a Reply to zelihan Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Allen Ginsberg better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.