Elegy & Our Father


For P. R. Hoy

In Memory of Bradley Z.

Based on “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg


Part I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by ambition, whoring themselves out to comatose screens, their inert companions, in lonely immaculate starless rooms, seeking nothing tangible and feeling nothing at all,


Who, catatonic, dabbled in arts and sports and equations and tone-deaf serenaded no one to check off blind boxes boxes boxes with no faith for no apparent reason but the omnipotent, faithful reason of the college counseling priest,  


Who craved the sex that they didn’t have and bought the condoms that they didn’t use to protect those who didn’t care,


Who jammed fists and straws and forks down their throats to disgorge the woeful offerings, and soon hearts and souls lined the putrid bowls, 


Who sang the song of themselves and debated Fitzgerald and marveled at love and sought love and pined for love, until Wilson shot them and now they lie alone atop the empty raft in the sad pool of Eternity,


Who slouched depressed in beer-drenched clothes at dawn, bleary eyed and irritated were senseless fucked for hours by reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar,


Who stalked aimlessly a billion pixels, longing for delight and women and sushi, but, recognizing the futility, returned to Locke and Ginsberg and Adams and Flaubert and the laments of their own worthless existence, 


Who, for lack of sunless Time, ate cereal instead of eggs and hated it,   


Who screamed inaudible shrieks of outrage depression loneliness malcontent, and the no one stranger, somewhat curious, but too stressed to turn, walked past,


Who developed an acute case of chronic discontent and restless leg syndrome and self-medicated generously with lead and ink and essays and endless stanzas of alcohol and rhythmic verses of weed,


Who copulated ecstatic passionate with angelic women in neon glowing rooms under satin sheets and felt life and finally reached the heavenly… but then awoke sweating and unsatisfied, 


Who didn’t know love, but for what their teacher had told them,


Who were forced to don prayer shawls and preppy bowties and kneel holy at the altar of the immaculate Ivy and the heavenly Wall Street and bullshit their pious adherence to the non sequitur nonsense of knowledge and soon whole-heartedly believed it, face glazed and brain dead and sexy in their slim suits, walking up the dreary, lamp-lit, moonless streets of Park,


Who met the president of Princeton, this actually happened, because his cousin genius of 19, a Princeton student, had been ravaged by a brain tumor, but seized the opportunity to discuss his prospective application and reveled in the opportunity amidst a sea of mourning, and then, disgusted with himself, wailed incessantly over his own sordid soul,


And watered the parks of New Jersey and fed the Hudson and quenched the thirst of America with his tears for the cancer-riddled body, before expiring on a salted bed of misery, 


Who shattered their eardrums with wordless beats of trance in the vacant basements of townhouses on CPW or York or 1st or 2nd or 7th and, knowing nothing true, numbed and drowned themselves in booze,  


Who lived vicariously through Romeo or Odysseus, because only their intellect functioned, and then lonely and living as the immortal dead, grew depressed and cut wrists and ripped pages,


Who studied psychology but thought of nothing,


Who were metaphorically drugged and driven by their pernicious progenitors to Palo Alto and, withdrawing from the somnolent state, laughed heartily at alliteration,


Who thought they were only happy when the city pulsated with supernatural vibrations that shocked their improperly regulated, ecstasy filled brains, but were never really happy,

Who worked through the night, only taking periodic weed and pee breaks, and searched for purpose and, finding none, worked through the night, only taking periodic weed and pee breaks, and searched for purpose and, finding none…


Who debated, naturally in the Lincoln-Douglas form, happiness and success, and starving empty lonely chose the latter, letting the former steep in insignificance forever,


Who compartmentalized every aspect of life, designating finite portions of Time to each, but, recognizing 24 fleeting hours too short, discarded conversation and were oddly contented,


Who lost themselves in a sea of themselves and soon stopped looking,


Who chased a nonexistent whisper of perfection through Central Park at midnight and chanced upon a blissful bum and wondered,  


Who cowered in the fetal position as their fathers berated Occupy Wall Street and Ban Oil Fracking with tantrums of monetary masculinity,


Who left stingy tips along with the last seminal gyzm of their personality in the back of town cars,


Who went to bed tired and woke up tired,  


Ah, Brad, I guess we’ve both been fucked and plunged and now we drift aimlessly along the river of dead dreams and hackneyed principles of the American shithole,


And who is more dead and who is more insignificant and who more human?


I ask myself as my eyes flutter closed, who will read these lines and who will sing their songs with me and who will again sit contented at the banquet of life and gorge themselves on these breaths and thrive into Eternity?


Part II

Who manufactures the progeny of a generation with a climactic outpouring of industrial smog and programs their unyielding, mechanical ambition?


Moloch who delivered me! Moloch with whom I lie each night!


Moloch the mercurial madness that gleams in the trenches of France and Germany and reappears in the depressed wallets on the depressed streets of the depressed America and winks and laughs and cries as the towers fall!


Moloch the Palo Alto programmers who, with endless lines of cocaine code make us addicts with every delectable byte!


Moloch the corrupt politicians who, power- drunk, hallucinate Tammany Hall!


Moloch, the willingness to rout the depths of emotional capacity in order to achieve!


Moloch the search for inedible, scrumptious perfection! Moloch the insatiable hunger for the inedible, ineffable sustenance of nowhere!


Moloch the inhuman beast that stalks the mind and gorges itself upon the soul in the endless night and was indicted for slaughter, but promptly given reprieve!


Moloch the demonic professors that destroy emotion and intuition and passion and demand thoughtless recitation of Voltaire!


Moloch whose divine feces cover New Haven! Moloch who fills the Charles River with his mellifluous piss!


Moloch, the desire to be one, and in one all, and in all one!


Moloch the decadent penthouses on the park and the raffish mansions in East Hampton! Moloch the undersea drilling that spurts oil and wealth and contaminates the abyss!


Moloch whose paths lead to complacent nothingness or end before they have begun!


Moloch the solemn train from Wharton to Wells Fargo! Moloch the endless flight from New York to Shanghai! Moloch the short path to death!


Moloch the marijuana aftertaste of the 1am Big Mac, the 2am Starbucks, the 3am Red Bull, the 4am textbook, the 5am essay, the 6am tomb.


Moloch the Titans of industry that inhale marijuana fumes and exhale the putrid rank haze with incessant breath!


Moloch the syringe and scalpel that punctured the womb!


Moloch, the binds of civilization and meter and grammar and rhyme

Perfect! Predictable! Uniform! Standardized! Emotionless for the Eternity of Time!  


Part III


Passion, character, emotion, and I,

Lost into nothingness forever more,

And smiling Moloch bids me such good bye,

No longer one to fight a holy war.


Distinctiveness—dead at our human shrine!

Thou art more lovely and more temperate,

Than anything that they may hail divine,

But, cut, your lease has all too short a date.


Please live again to beat, batter my heart,

Oh thousand-wingéd, pure, angelic love,

To rip and lust and blow and tear apart,

So know, I will, of godly rule above.


Still unmovéd, I wait, too tired for sleep,

Off ragged cliffs, I run and cry and leap. 

Our Father

In recent times, on sloping hills, an ancient man did grace

My vacant ear with long forgotten thought.

O’er sterile plains he brooded, ruin wrought,

The mem’ries bared in these lines, in his face.

Through verdant fields and quaint abodes he led.

Abrupt the shot rang all around the world;

The air, with gun smoke, dense, the bullets hurled

About… a tale now lost to time, he said.

Lest you forget our dead men in the mud,

Remember through this face, and tell of, son,

Our independence won with sword and gun,

Our Declaration penned in elders’ blood.

And when our candles light the night, say grace

For liberty, for lines in these lines, in his face.



Jack Barney
Age 17, Grade 11
Trinity School
Silver Key

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