Preview in Poetry: The Lion For Real


Beaversaw image courtesy The Haak

The Lion For Real, a poem by the most famous NAMBLA member, Allen Ginsberg:

"Soyez muette pour moi, Idole contemplative..."

I came home and found a lion in my living room

Rushed out on the fire escape screaming Lion! Lion!

Two stenographers pulled their brunnette hair and banged the window shut

I hurried home to Patterson and stayed two days

Called up old Reichian analyst

who'd kicked me out of therapy for smoking marijuana

'It's happened' I panted 'There's a Lion in my living room'

'I'm afraid any discussion would have no value' he hung up

I went to my old boyfriend we got drunk with his girlfriend

I kissed him and announced I had a lion with a mad gleam in my eye

We wound up fighting on the floor I bit his eyebrow he kicked me out

I ended up masturbating in his jeep parked in the street moaning 'Lion.'

Found Joey my novelist friend and roared at him 'Lion!'

He looked at me interested and read me his spontaneous ignu high poetries

I listened for lions all I heard was Elephant Tiglon Hippogriff Unicorn


But figured he really understood me when we made it in Ignaz Wisdom's


But next day he sent me a leaf from his Smoky Mountain retreat

'I love you little Bo-Bo with your delicate golden lions

But there being no Self and No Bars therefore the Zoo of your dear Father

hath no lion

You said your mother was mad don't expect me to produce the Monster for

your Bridegroom.'

Confused dazed and exalted bethought me of real lion starved in his stink

in Harlem

Opened the door the room was filled with the bomb blast of his anger

He roaring hungrily at the plaster walls but nobody could hear outside

thru the window

My eye caught the edge of the red neighbor apartment building standing in

deafening stillness

We gazed at each other his implacable yellow eye in the red halo of fur

Waxed rhuemy on my own but he stopped roaring and bared a fang


I turned my back and cooked broccoli for supper on an iron gas stove

boilt water and took a hot bath in the old tup under the sink board.

He didn't eat me, tho I regretted him starving in my presence.

Next week he wasted away a sick rug full of bones wheaten hair falling out

enraged and reddening eye as he lay aching huge hairy head on his paws

by the egg-crate bookcase filled up with thin volumes of Plato, & Buddha.

Sat by his side every night averting my eyes from his hungry motheaten


stopped eating myself he got weaker and roared at night while I had


Eaten by lion in bookstore on Cosmic Campus, a lion myself starved by

Professor Kandisky, dying in a lion's flophouse circus,

I woke up mornings the lion still added dying on the floor--'Terrible

Presence!'I cried'Eat me or die!'

It got up that afternoon--walked to the door with its paw on the south wall to

steady its trembling body

Let out a soul-rending creak from the bottomless roof of his mouth

thundering from my floor to heaven heavier than a volcano at night in


Pushed the door open and said in a gravelly voice "Not this time Baby--

but I will be back again."

Lion that eats my mind now for a decade knowing only your hunger

Not the bliss of your satisfaction O roar of the universe how am I chosen

In this life I have heard your promise I am ready to die I have served

Your starved and ancient Presence O Lord I wait in my room at your


Paris, March 1958
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