Once upon a time, in a land called Boulder, Colorado, I turned 18 and moved into my first apartment with my best male friend. I was young, in love with a delicious young rebel, and we took various illicit substances for fun and pleasure. My roommate, who we shall call "P." was studying at a Buddhist college, and was involved in the summer writing program there. One night a girlfriend and I were drinking crappy 3.2 beer, and she crashed on our sofa. I fell asleep in my room at the rear of the house. The phone rang at about 1:30 in the morning, so I shot out of my room, my friend sat bolt-upright on the couch, and both of us were about to reach for the phone in the hallway when a little naked old poet came bounding out of P.'s room, picked up the receiver and had a nice little chat with someone back in Manhatten. My introduction to Allen Ginsberg: a flash of white nakedness streaking through my hallway. How our apartment became the lodging for a guest professor, one Allen Ginsberg, slips my memory, but I'm pretty sure that it involved my gay roommate being a hottie and a brain, and passionate about Rimbaud.
Life went on. We adjusted to having a Beat in our apartment, which entailed doing exactly nothing differently than we did prior to his arrival. And one night my boyfriend and I swallowed some fluffy drug so we could "bond" or "get closer" or some such tripe, and were hanging out in my room being all sloppy and gooey and lovey and generally disgusting.
I was parched, so I pulled some clothes on and went out to get a glass of water. Allen Ginsberg was sitting in the living room writing notes for a lecture the next day, and I told him (because I loved everyone and everything) how wonderful it had been to have him as our guest, that he was really influential for my father and blah blah blah, ooze ooze ooze. I had been gone for a while chatting up the poet, and my boyfriend began to wonder if I had left the apartment to roll around in some flowerbeds or canoodle with the birds, so he opened the door to see if I still actually in the apartment. There he was, standing in my doorway in the buff: a fine nubile young boy specimen if ever there was, all gloriously naked in front of one of the great gay poets of our time. At first he was embarrassed, but due to aforementioned addlement, we had no shame. "You've already seen the goods, so I guess it doesn't matter," he said, and we maintained a perfectly pleasant conversation with Mr. Ginsberg for about five or ten minutes, my boyfriend naked as a mole rat. My beau got back in bed and I took my glass of water back into the room, stripped off all my clothes, and we continued lollygagging about like soggy flesh sacks.
Twenty minutes had gone by when there was a little tap on the door. We were curled up around each other like kittens, limbs every which way. "Come in," we said, voices ringing with daisies and light. Allen opened the door a crack, peeked in, dropped his bathrobe and blurted, "And this is what a 67 year old man looks like naked!" We all have a good laugh, he tells us how lovely it is to meet such nice kids who are so free with their bodies and their minds, we chat pleasantly about the uptight status quo, and then he took his nudity back into the other room.
We all thought it was terribly sweet and hilarious. But my friend P. asked about it the next day. We recounted the tale, and P. tells us that Allen Ginsberg had no idea we were on drugs; he thought we were rebelling against the tyranny of the Reagan years in the best possible way: sex and nakedness. Just a couple of brilliant young teens casting off the weighty shackles of a society gone mad.
Which is nice to think about. We really did think we were brilliant young teens casting off blah blah blah....But I ask you, how is it that one of the great father's of sixties drug culture could not tell that we were completely inebriated, when our pupils were the size of dinner platters? I don't have an answer, but it was a fabulous evening. Allen made a special impression in my life, wrinkled little sweet man that he was. Thanks, Allen, for dropping your bathrobe. Cheers to the next life. May it be as joyful and absurd as the last one.