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IN SEARCH OF ALLEN GINSBERG

   This is the city, somebody here must be enlightened, must have come across the secrets of the universe in some mysterious den or cave or bar where people in beards say their great thoughts, but they won't catch my eye as they march by, they won't smile with their eyes, their eyes are busy measuring the depth of the soles on the shoes going by putting them into boolean algebraic formulas that will fit into their computers, witching fingers drumming data onto invisible keyboards. They carry their cubicle walls around them, pasty pale beige imitation horse blinders forgetting to see sideways now that they can, following invisible computer terminals through the streets not recognizing the jokes they stumble over, thinking with fear that all jokes are computer viruses trying to invade their systems and crashing them. I don't think anybody here will tell me the secrets of the universe.

     Maybe the bum will talk to me, sitting by me on gray concrete, watching the five o'clock parade. Here's two bucks tell me about your life. He talks about his war, his wife, his wine and pulls a shirt out from under his coat. This is brand new, still has the tags on it, he says. It's too small but I buy it because maybe he and I are viruses, gumming up the carefully orchestrated bureaucratized computerized citiscape just a little while we look for the answers to the great questions. He thinks he used to know them but forgot, and maybe he'll remember if he has another drink because this half drunken haze is no good for thinking he says.

     The old Greek widow woman sweeps the sidewalk around the brave little tomato plant growing in the chink where the concrete broke off.  People walk around it thinking it's a virus interfering with the perfect continuity of the eternal gray sidewalk. They're afraid they'll catch it so they avert their eyes and hold their breath. The old Greek widow woman sees me and I know she knows something. We squat down on the sidewalk together and remove the french fries and chewing gum cleaning its shrine.

     The tomato plant knows the secrets of the universe, but I don't speak tomato.

- Daisy Sidewinder
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