Friday, July 1, 2011

SALIVA VS. SPERM: The Last Love-Boys

Q

When I first read the poem HOWL in the late 1990's, I was not impressed because it kinda felt hackneyed already considering the times. But it was shocking in the 1950's & generally considered as a landmark in the fight for free expression. Looking at it now, it appears it was more the political implications of his work which created the celebrity of Allen Ginsberg because if you strip his poems of their shock & sexy contents, I actually find them run-of-the-mill. Of course, like Paris Hilton later learned, it's the notoriety that counts in the end. Shock them, & if your name skyrocketed from the pack, just let the media & good event management (it was a time of turbulent change so get more political, which he did) take care of the rest, the lesser names will fall in line & hitch their stars to you. Typical American bandwagon show will follow. I actually find many of the works of the younger poets who flitted around him more interesting, like Anne Waldman, Jim Conh, Randy Roark, Marc Olmsted, etc. I have to be honest, circa 2011, I am not a fan of Ginsberg's poetry (some of the poems strangely were better in the French translations). But I am an avid student of his way with straight boys.

During his younger years, he got the straight guys because he didn't shy away from mingling with them. He wrote about sex with straight guys into his extensive journals. In all his interviews, he talked about his love for sex with young boys & he always managed to insert the adjective 'straight' somewhere in the conversation. He wrote a book of poem which he called "Straight Hearts" but never for a not straight heart. Apparently he wrote about & craved after gay sex with a straight man. He drifted with the macho crowd of the San Francisco Hippies, Hell's Angel, the fraternity boys who sponsored his lectures in the Midwest & flirted with the straight writers who sought his help or company. He was successful in recruiting some to experiment like Jack Kerouac but he angered some like Hunter Thompson who he helped when the latter was just starting (you never know what happened in the beginning because it's obvious Ginsberg was into calling out favors). But you can gauge the hatred of Thompson because when Ginsberg died, he wrote the elegy which was read by Johnny Depp when he didn't bother to attend:

...a dangerous bull-fruit with the brain of an open sore and the conscience of a virus...

Then this: this is being hyped by gay activists as the first gay marriage- an open relationship between Ginsberg & a predominantly heterosexual Peter Orlovsky, ten years his junior, & who had heterosexual relationships with girls outside Ginsberg's bed while Ginsberg continued flirting with other straight guys. They mentioned loads about a vow in the relationship but Ginsberg was into vows long before that - he did that (where they had to stare eye to eye & make a vow) twice with Neal Cassady, in New York & on their way to the Texas home of William Burroughs, & each time Neal went along with making a vow of their connection "forever", merely to "humor" him, as Ginsberg commented later in hindsight to his biographer. Orlovsky has a family with psychotic history & he wasn't spared later on. In time, he had alternating periods of lucidity & psychotic behavior which made him unable to strike on his own & became dependent on Ginsberg. They actually lived apart from the late 1980's up to Ginsberg's death in 1997 but the increasingly unbalanced Orlovsky was permanently dependent on him & was always darting in & out of his flat in New York, the city where they lived after San Francisco, where they met. It is said that the dependent Orlovsky wanted to marry & have a child at some point but Ginsberg refused, until the psychological rollercoaster made it a moot point later on. From the Hunter Thompson & Peter Orlovsky's case, you can see here the contradictions in Ginsberg's personality: many testify that Ginsberg is a kind teacher, but it appears he's a cold steel when it comes to his sexual desires. We shall see how cold & calculating.

He always had young boys whom he picked up all around. In the 1960's, the time of 'free love' experimentation (which I imagine he was among the prime instigators) accounts were filled with his "best times" among the Hippies of the West Coast until he sought geographic taste variation & embarked on fraternity-sponsored reading tours of campuses around the Midwest & beyond where the frat parties afterwards gave him opportunities to score (an example of his routine: in one reading in Kansas, Ginsberg disappeared upstairs with a frat boy 20 minutes into the party ostensibly to check on the boy's poetry & they never returned). In the 1970's, one ready recruiting ground was the Summer Writing Program of the NAROPA Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado which he helped found in 1974. The school followed the Beat philosophy of experimentation with your comfort level be it in drugs, lifestyle or sex, so for the next three decades, it was a natural hunting ground for Ginsberg to seduce what came to be called "Allen Grinsberg's Boys", & every summer, many straight boys experimented with him in the Socratic tradition. It ensured him a source of boys up to his death (in effect, you might say he designed Naropa to be a convenient replacement for the dried up "free love " scene of the Hippies, though in a smaller scale, but with a convenient altruistic cover). If you study the Beat history (& its sibling, the Hippies), you'll immediately notice that at the core beats Ginsberg's homosexuality. The sexual orientation experimentation mainly started with Ginsberg seducing Jack Kerouac & Neal Cassady, & subsequent Beat reiteration try to recreate that seduction as key to entering the circle & establishing creds especially if one is a sexy straight boy. For decades, Ginsberg used it as a tool to get his boys at Naropa, just like he did with the Hippies & the fratboys earlier in different pretensions. Everything he did (be it historical, educational or political) was practically tailormade for his sexual desires. Is anybody surprised why Ginsberg divulged openly & frequently in interviews what he had done sexually with the straight Kerouac & Cassady when they were supposed to be his friends? The flashing subliminal message to the gullible straight pretty boys:Be like Kerouac & Cassady, give me your cocks! Thus, the ghost fraternity of Kerouac & Cassady-inspired straight boys got sucked throughout the land. It's not his homo-explicit poems which prepared the ground for his conquests because those were mainly read by gay boys which were mere last resorts. It was his first love, Jack Kerouac, whose novel
On The Road became Bibles to horny restless straight boys, who attracted the boys to the cause long after Kerouac's turn to be sucked.

Very curious things about the original Beats: you'll find the heterosexual men of the group who tried sexual experimentation dying early & broken (Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, dead in their 40's) while the gay ones lived to old age (Ginsberg in his 70's, Burroughs, 80's). Lucien Carr, the heterosexual guy who killed a gay man who made an attempt on him & stayed away, outlived them all. It's easy to see who thrived better in that kind of culture ( Not to mention that the sexuality of the most celebrated Beat character, the self-identified heterosexual Kerouac, has been compromised forever because of the many posthumous biographies that came out claiming his repressed homosexuality, all of which started because of Ginberg's persistent seduction. He left the scene by the mid-60's & voted Goldwater. If that isn't a signal he broke away with his past, I don't know what is).

Of course, you have to be really amazed with the love-boys of Ginsberg, especially in the 1990's because he was already in his 70's then. If they self-identified as heterosexual, they were not only breaking the taboo on homosexual sex but something more amazing- having sex with a 70 years-old is strong stomach stuff. Try getting naked with your friend's grandfather then kiss & embrace the just as naked old man in bed then actually manage to get horny & come in the process so you can let him drink the elixir of youth he's after. And that's besides other things he craved which he graphically mentioned in some of his interviews: something to do with his behind & the boy's behind, etc. Frankly, I'm wild, but this is. .. I'm out of this paragraph, lol.

The lesson in Ginsberg's way with straight guys was simple, strike on the straight but disadvantaged guy. The drunk or high one (he said he got Kerouac when the latter was drunk), the starting writer/musician (flirting which leads to non-verbalized, or otherwise, quid pro quo), the wide-eyed (the impressionable love-boys he got from NAROPA, the frat boys in the Midwest, neighborhood boys,etc), the psychologically-deficient (like Peter Orlovsky). His style was not expensive because while he became a celebrity, he had no celebrity money that could maintain a normal straight guy with his wife & kids for long if ever the guy agreed to be a permanent kept man (he had aspired cheaply with Orlovsky but in luckless circumstances & with just as luckless results). So he had to be fast on spotting the cheap opportunity that his celebrity brought him. Which to his credit, he did. In the end, he settled with the Socratic model: meet young boys, whatever wisdom he had in exchange for their youth. Saliva vs. sperm.

The love-boys...

Why was I suddenly interested with the love-boys? The other day I tried to read some of the backlog emails not expecting a new email would arrive because I 've already removed the email ad. But somebody must have memorized it- & right there, a long email about the love-boys. I doubted if I could publish it but just a few clicks in the Web & voila- they were variously called as Allen's Boys, boyfriends, young lovers, love-boys, etc. A few calls & I got confirmation & documentation. They were relationships not hidden by Ginsberg & actually talked about openly to the many people who flit in & out of his apartment & liberally described as young lovers in the media so I find no legal impediment to feature them. But I can foresee what Ginsberg failed to care about in being very public about it: the boys in middle age may regret what they've done. But their stories are already there & little magic has been done to their careers so far despite the sperm they shared in exchange for the saliva of the old man. Perhaps they need the notoriety which pushed the latter's career in the first place? I haven't decided, I'm going to do it democratically, me & my friends will vote on it & after they've read this, let's see.

It's easy to see the gist of Ginsberg's sex life: stoke the passion of nonconformity & the angry boys will be all too willing to prove their creds for the fight. It was straight boy's sperm that served as fuel to the liberation changes in the last 4 decades, ironically even gay liberation. Ginsberg started his sexual history with really womanizer straight guys. In the 1990's when it was harder for him to score because of his age, the rise of conservatism, AIDS & gay liberation, he still aimed for boys with girl friends. But did they turn out all as straight desires?

Pending Part 2, We Get To Meet The Last Love-Boys of a 70 year-old man 14 Years Hence

NOTE (July 6, 2011)
It's almost mandatory with contrived legends that you take everything in blind faith (or better still, a grain of salt perhaps). But more often than not, your first hunch might turn out to be right after all. The most striking thing about the sexual history of Allen Ginsberg with the 'alleged' straight guys is something seemed not to tally with what you've read about psychosexualdynamics. Perhaps, because it was a time when Gay Liberation hasn't taken hold yet & any straight-looking guy is, thru sheer wishful-thinking, deemed straight unless he came out. Perhaps, that's the beauty of Gay Liberation for a straight guy lover, it's easier to separate the grain from the chaff. For a supposed-to-be straight guy giving it away free & easy should always ring the loudest alarm bell, be it with Ginsberg or anybody else. Some of our friends helped to check out the sexual history of the last love-boys. Conclusions: if you want genuine straight boys, better stick to the guys who don't give it away free & easy. We decided it's useless to publish a Part 2.