Magic Psalms of Rotting Cities

Geoff Manaugh, writing in Of Comets and Ruin in the Volume 24: Counterculture in 2010, about his friend Allen Ginsburg:

Allen once urged me to write as simply as possible so that whatever I wrote could be translated and thus, reach as many people as I could all over the world. It seemed like absurd advice: why not strive to write something that was worth translating in the first place? But his point was to get the message out, to make people — no matter what continent they were standing on or what language they spoke — think differently about something, about everything, about one particular thing they’d never thought of before. Allen thought we should write for the entire world, so that people with nothing in common with us — not politics, not gender, perhaps not even species — might get some vicarious thrill out of a unique idea or experience. ‘Particulars!’ This terrestrial moment lives on, he’d often point out, whether or not someone is recording it. But a planetary human community of readers and friends will never continue if we give up telling each other stories, if we stop reconfiguring myths, stop typing our own magic psalms of rotting cities.