This Sharia Law business is just crap… and I’m tried of dealing with the crazies
It wasn’t quite what I’d signed on for when my own teenage soul had trembled with anticipation of get-me-OUT-of-New-Jersey bliss, but Ginsberg read the new poems with as much energy as ever, like a rabbinical force of nature. And by now, I too have sat by the bedside of my father—a week in a smelly, noisy ICU in Jersey City, where he convulsed and grimaced before he died. If Ginsberg hadn’t clued me in to foreknowledge of death, to the news of our coming failures, I would have tortured myself thinking that the world (at least my world) had somehow gone wrong. I would have thought that my father “wasn’t supposed to die” of a heart attack at age 69 after taking that icy sip of apple juice in the union meeting. I would have thought that the 15-second phone call telling me that my 14 years of automatic contract renewals at a magazine were over was a terrible mistake. I would have been completely unmoored by my mother’s relapse into alcoholism. I would have been totally freaked out by—oh, where to start: the panicky leap off the Golden Gate Bridge of a dear friend, a spiritual counselor to many; the quick death from pancreatic cancer in her early 30s of one of the wisest, wittiest women I’ve ever known; the demolition of the rustic old cottage where my family vacationed in Provincetown for 40 joyous summers, just a few months after my father died.
I would have thought I was entitled to a more excellent universe than the one we find ourselves in.
Now that I’m nearly the age that Ginsberg was that summer, I can see what he saw: that so much of the hectic yearning and anxious industry of young people is an effort to cover up a hole in the world.
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