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June 26, 2018

Renaissance Wolf

It’s a cold, late December night in New York City and I am sitting in this supposedly trendy coffee shop with a gray wolf and after he takes a drink from his cappuccino, he tells me that his favorite book is ‘Howl’ by Allen this surprises me because I figured him for the ‘Call of the Wild’, but London wasn’t his type...the wolf said he found Jack London’s writing to be too simplistic and not deep enough for him...‘Howl’ is well known for its opening line: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”...anyway, he goes on and on about the book and what a tremendous impact it made with him...he said he didn’t like poetry but works like ‘Howl’ he found enthralling...after I mentioned I was a writer, he asked me what I wrote...I said “Poetry” just to piss him off...and he rolled his eyes...with great enthusiasm, he broke down each part of Ginsburg’s book in a painstaking fashion...I nodded my head every so often in an attempt to act like I agreed with him or at least understood what he was talking reality, I haven’t ever read the book and had no clue what he was referring to...I’m glad there wasn’t a quiz afterwards...he then muttered that his drink was too frothy and didn’t have enough cinnamon.
the wolf describes the obscenity trial that followed and how he thought it was grossly unfair to Ginsburg for him to have to defend himself and his creative art...he said that kind of thing surely wouldn’t happen these days and he wondered if the 50’s culture was really that repressive...I told him I wasn’t born yet during that time so I really didn’t know...the wolf then asked me if I thought it was a ‘performance piece’ or not and then quickly answered his own question and robbed me of the opportunity to answer...not that I had an answer anyway...
chanting and music were a large part of Ginsburg’s live performances of his poetry and the wolf regretted not being around to take part in any of them...I told him I shared with him the angst of being born too late to enjoy the atmosphere of the late 1950’s and early 60’s...the wolf complained that there just wasn’t anyone these days that was making the same kind of impact Ginsburg or Kerouac or any of the Beats made and I had to agree with him...
he was quite a renaissance wolf indeed and during the course of the night, our conversation broached many artistic topics...he told me about how he had recently visited The Louvre in Paris and he found many of the paintings there to contain a formless non-linear expressiveness which he found refreshing...that went well over my head...we finished our drinks as the snow began falling, lightly dusting the sidewalk and the cars parked outside...he asked me if I wanted to hit some of latest hot dance clubs but I begged off...I figured he could probably dance circles around me...and he could get into places I couldn’t...we exited the bar and as we stood near the curb, he called out to me regarding my opinion of Dostoyevsky...I pretended I couldn’t hear him and we both disappeared into taxis.