Beat Literature Still Touches the Soul Today

beat-museum on-the-road dharma-bum

It was a surprise to see Allen Ginsberg’s bilingual “Howl” displayed on the new books shelf in the library, translated and published in Taiwan after all these years. Every time I visited San Francisco I tried to visit City Lights Bookstore and the tiny Keroac museum , I always went away feeling more understood in the world .

Just weeks ago, I read someone compared Tao Lin’s “Taipei” to Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”. Sex and drugs are probably the only things in common. Howl touches something deep in my soul though I don’t really know why but Tao Lin’s writing turned me off completely.Just want to share some words that touched me.



I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,……
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,….
poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed…..
Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars!
Children screaming under the stairways!
Boys sobbing in armies ! Old men weeping in the parks!.…..
demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses!
granite cocks! monstrous bombs!………
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies!
gone down the American river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions!
the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!………
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions!
gone down the flood! Highs!
Epiphanies! Despairs!
Ten years’ animal screams and suicides!
Minds! New loves! Mad generation!
down on the rocks of Time!……..
where we wake up electrified out of the coma
by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof
they’ve come to drop angelic bombs
the hospital illuminates itself
imaginary walls collapse
O skinny legions run outside
O starry-spangled shock of mercy
the eternal war is here
O victory forget your underwear
we’re free”
(Don’t we all want to howl at the world today?  The beat generation has turned into the lost generation.War and bombs are everywhere, whether physical, economic, mental, emotional, natural or man made.)

“Sameness is the disciple of Universe, difference is the disciple of Man” Chuang Tzu.”Rise above. Look downward, it is all the same.”


“America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb……..
America why are your libraries full of tears? ……….
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing…….
I haven’t read the newspapers for months,
everyday somebody goes on trial for
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again….
Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance…..
America you don’t really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
……………… and them Chinamen.
Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help. ….”

(Ginsberg’s situation of America, Russia and China is still true despite the cold war had long ended and China has become a global economic influencer, even it has been a few decades.Only America seems to be all around the world and ISIS is worse than Russia and China. I have always wonder if I should have a news fast and shut the endless chaos out like Ginsberg not reading newspaper for months.)

Father Death Blues

“Hey Father Death, I’m flying home
Hey poor man, you’re all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I’m going………………

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.”

“The True Man knows not to love life, nor to dread death” Chuang Tzu.


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