Ginsberg Revisited

_(exerpted from original article)_
I was fifteen when I met Allen Ginsberg at my cousin Isaac’s bar mitzvah. He had been a friend of my Aunt Elsa since the late ’50’s, when she’d worked at Grove Press and arranged poetry readings with him in New York. Not having read any of his poetry, I had only the vaguest idea who he was and so I observed him with curiosity as we entered the synagogue. Everyone in my extended family was speaking about him with a sort of hushed reverence. He wore a suit, and at the door picked up a yarmulke—an interesting nod toward his roots, considering he’d become a devout Buddhist long ago.

At the reception afterwards, we were introduced, and being at the time a nascent scribbler of bad poetry, I gravitated toward him. It was a tumultuous time in my life, my parents being in the middle of an ugly divorce, and I found myself sitting with him at a table, eating stuffed grape leaves and talking about my family troubles. I surprised myself, discussing with him my parents’ situation with uncharacteristic openness. I remember asking him what I should do. “You look lovable,” he said, “You should seek out people to love.”

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