The Paris Review

Allen Ginsberg


West of Laramie, Elk Mt. snow covered top—Medicine Bow Mts. ranged black—that Road still ribbons past red sandstone buttes—“Looks like you shd be a yogi on each rock”—down the vast green valley floor

Like Utah, like America, mountain rookeries cliffed distant under cloudfished transparent sky—the Blue Shield, that might be heaven over the Ferris Mountains’ precipices (illustration) striped under snow dusty pine ridges.

Great Divide Basin up Rt. 287 grey mud lake at Muddy Gap—Rock wall leaned up from colossal ditch, smooth stone sheet cracked by brush upsprung—Rattlesnake Range rocks bunched up in mountain piles north blue sky’d—Dry wood snowfences snaked straight up hill south of the highway, wood slats x’d together.

Overhill, dinosaur snouts, blue rock brains—Sweetwater River meandering under split rock to oasis down below Rattlesnake Range—hunters, trappers, Indians—along the Oregon Trail, that gap on the mountaintop, “where Manjusri’s Sword cleft the peak”—

& we’ll be at Sacagawea’s grave ere sundown, Buddhists—She took those White Folks doublecrost Northwest, & squealed on her own Folk Nature—Empty Montana abides—straight ahead the 2 lane road under the yellow sun, on full moon night, Buddha born—Snow pockets on wooded ridges South—

We’re at the end of the poem America, these States a failure, spoilage of Earth—the war’s still on, 7 years later no mantra did end it, no politics, no pity, no reason, no Peace march, no immolation—Vietnam afire with bombs all Karma exhausted—

Here it’s sweet space enough, but Whitman Melville Crane & Kerouac’re Dead—The Bitter Prophet at Jeffrey City’s Grocery Store—America’s first Uranium Mill—hundreds of trailers camped around the highway South of Gas Hills they say where they mine that radiant shite—

Green Mountains snowflecked—Clouds dwarfed in blue sky yellowed by dusk—& there’s Wind River snow mountains rising diaphanous as Clouds over ice slough—The water’s disappeared since the 49er’s day. Old Denver Larimer Street’s destroyed.

Abruptly, sliding past dirty snow, into sandcastle valley panoramic below, entering ever vast valley dry desert—car descending & descending & descending immensely—Imagine on bicycle or roller skates—down into butte bluffs’ distance.

Into Wind River Reservation Flats, slept by Bull Lake, crows chattering at dawn, dreamt the busdriver from Tibet wouldn’t stop for the old Puerto Rican lady—

Compassion, I called her back on the bus, I asked the Man to halt & let her on—into Wind River Canyon, icy rock peaks Big Horned far north, Teton ice slopes rising West—Striated bluffs above the hunting ground Valley, Crowheart Butte

in great space, Hollywood had French Horns announce these mountain panoramas—down to Wind River’s brown bubbling bed, vast alpine meadows sloped to valley bottom, red worn cliff foreheads loom in sunlight, high snow shelves in wingèd space, black ravens over farmland pasture, cows in wet grass, horses cavorting, mounting each other at a distant fence.

What War? Corrals down to

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