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In The Baggage Room At Greyhound

Allen Ginsberg


In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal 
sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky 
        waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart 
worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in 
        the night-time red downtown heaven 
staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering 
        these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty 
        of our lives, irritable baggage clerks, 
nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the 
        buses waving goodbye, 
nor other millions of the poor rushing around from 
        city to city to see their loved ones, 
nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop 
        by the Coke machine, 
nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last 
        trip of her life, 
nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar- 
        ters and smiling over the smashed baggage, 
nor me looking around at the horrible dream, 
nor mustached negro Operating Clerk named Spade, 
        dealing out with his marvelous long hand the 
        fate of thousands of express packages, 
nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden 
        trunk to trunk, 
nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown 
        smiling cowardly at the customers, 
nor the grayish-green whale's stomach interior loft 
        where we keep the baggage in hideous racks, 
hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and 
        forth waiting to be opened, 
nor the baggage that's lost, nor damaged handles, 
        nameplates vanished, busted wires & broken 
        ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete 
nor seabags emptied into the night in the final 


Yet Spade reminded me of Angel, unloading a bus, 
dressed in blue overalls black face official Angel's work- 
        man cap, 
pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with 
        black baggage, 
looking up as he passed the yellow light bulb of the loft 
and holding high on his arm an iron shepherd's crook. 


It was the racks, I realized, sitting myself on top of 
        them now as is my wont at lunchtime to rest 
        my tired foot, 
it was the racks, great wooden shelves and stanchions 
        posts and beams assembled floor to roof jumbled 
        with baggage, 
--the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily 
        flowered & headed for Fort Bragg, 
one Mexican green paper package in purple rope 
        adorned with names for Nogales, 
hundreds of radiators all at once for Eureka, 
crates of Hawaiian underwear, 
rolls of posters scattered over the Peninsula, nuts to 
one human eye for Napa, 
an aluminum box of human blood for Stockton 
and a little red package of teeth for Calistoga- 
it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked 
        in electric light the night before I quit, 
the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep 
        us together, a temporary shift in space, 
God's only way of building the rickety structure of 
to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our 
        luggage from place to place 
looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity 
        where the heart was left and farewell tears 


A swarm of baggage sitting by the counter as the trans- 
        continental bus pulls in. 
The clock registering 12:15 A.M., May 9, 1956, the 
        second hand moving forward, red. 
Getting ready to load my last bus.-Farewell, Walnut 
        Creek Richmond Vallejo Portland Pacific 
Fleet-footed Quicksilver, God of transience. 
One last package sits lone at midnight sticking up out 
        of the Coast rack high as the dusty fluorescent 
The wage they pay us is too low to live on. Tragedy 
        reduced to numbers. 
This for the poor shepherds. I am a communist. 
Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much, 
        hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built 
        my pectoral muscles big as a vagina.

                             May 9, 1956

Added: 25 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 29 Nov 2020 12:05 PM | Viewed: 9867 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3750/ | Viewed on 29 November 2020.
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