Howl Visions of America Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (line)
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steamheat and opium (lines 44-45)
New York City is definitely the heart of this poem. Even when it makes side-trips to the Midwest and the West Coast, it always returns to the Big Apple. New York is an urban jungle in this poem, full of both excitement and danger, a place where you "wake up," disoriented after a long drinking spree.
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes (lines 59-61)
. …And Denver is the heart of the Beat movement (along, perhaps, with San Francisco). Ginsberg's friend and sometime lover Neal Cassady grew up in Denver, and it was a place to refuel and stock up during long cross-country road-trips. As in Kerouac's On the Road, Howl shows that taking to the highway could be a spiritual experience.
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unob tainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! (line 80)
In the second section, the poem shifts toward a decisive negative portrait of America, as characterized by Moloch.