Ode to Failure – Allen Ginsberg

Many prophets have failed, their voices silent ghost-shouts in basements nobody heard
dusty laughter in family attics nor glanced them on park benches weeping with relief under empty sky

Walt Whitman viva’d local losers — courage to Fat Ladies in the Freak Show!
nervous prisoners whose mustached lips dripped sweat on chow lines —

Mayakovsky cried, Then die! my verse, die like the workers’ rank & file fusilladed in Petersburg!

Prospero burned his Power books & plummeted his magic wand to the bottom of dragon seas

Alexander the Great failed to find more worlds to conquer!

O Failure I chant your terrifying name, accept me your 54 years old Prophet
epicking Eternal Flop!

I join your Pantheon of mortal bards, & hasten this ode with high blood pressure rushing to the top of my skull as I if I wouldn’t last another minute, like the Dying Gaul! to You, Lord of blind Monet, deaf Beethoven, armless Venus de Milo, headless Winged Victory!

I failed to sleep with every bearded rosy-cheeked boy I jacked off over

My tirades destroyed no Intellectual Unions of KGB & CIA in turtlenecks & underpants, their woolen suits and tweeds

I never dissolved Plutonium or dismantled the nuclear Bomb before my skull lost hair

I have not yet stopped the Armies of entire Mankind in their march toward World War III

I never got to Heaven, Nirvana, X, Whatchamacallit, I never left Earth,

I never learned to die.
Allen Ginsberg

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