Allen Ginsberg on LSD
Posted June 8, 2007on:
Some time ago I promised that I would post the Paris Review No. 38 footnote that in a lot of ways encapsulated the kind of irreverent humour the journal had in those days. I probably shouldn’t do this but it’s too funny to not write out in full. Funny for someone who was born decades after and raised in a fairly conservative environment anyway.
Footnote to Allen Ginsberg Interview, Issue #37
June 2, 1966
To the readers of The Paris Review:
Re LSD, Psylocibin etc., Paris Review #37. p. 46: “So I couldn’t go any further. I may later on occasion, if I feel more reassurance.”
Between occasion of interview with Thomas Clarke June ’65 and publication May ’66 more reassurance came. I tried small doses of LSD twice in secluded tree and ocean cliff haven at Big Sur. No monster vibration, no snake universe hallucinations. Many tiny jeweled violet flowers along the path of a living brook that looked like Blake’s illustration for a canal in grassy Eden: huge Pacific watery shore, Orlovsky waves, titanic cliffs that Wordsworth mentioned in his own Sublime, great yellow sun veiled with mist hanging over the planet’s oceanic horizon. No harm. President Johnson that day went into the Valley of Shadow operating room because of his gall bladder & Berkely’s Vietnam Day Committee was preparing anxious manifestoes for our march toward Oakland police and Hell’s Angels. Realizing that more vile words from me would send out physical vibrations into the atmosphere that might curse poor Johnson’s flesh and further unbalance his soul, I knelt on the sand surrounded by masses of green bulb-headed Kelp vegetable-snake undersea beings washed up by last night’s tempest, and prayed for the President’s tranquil health. Since there has been so much legislative miscomprehension of the LSD book I regret that my unedited ambivalence in Thomas Clarke’s tape transcript interview was published wanting this footnote.
Your obedient servant
Allen Ginsberg, aetat 40