Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 7, 2000


Poetry in Notions

Yeah, that's the ticket:We were attending Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's 1985 Vajradhatu Seminary at the Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center west of Fort Collins, and before one of Rinpoche's most important talks, I was selected to make sure all those attending had tickets. Before allowing people to enter, a few students were organizing the shrine hall; my first job was to make sure all of those folks had tickets. One of the helpers was Allen Ginsberg. I stopped him as he placed a meditation cushion in its proper place.

"Allen," I said, "do you have a ticket?"

For a moment, he looked quite bewildered. Then he checked his shirt pocket and smiled. He had it!

One other time, I slept with Ginsberg's boyfriend, Peter Orlovsky. Well, not exactly. At the Karme-Choling meditation retreat center in Vermont, I was in the upper bunk at the dormitory and Orlovsky was in the lower bunk. So, I guess you could say we slept together, kind of. Sad to say, Ginsberg's longtime lover snores. Heavily. Or maybe it was just part of the Orlovsky act? Who knows.

Those are the extent of my "Beat" experiences. Not quite as strange and exotic as Peter Hale's bit of excess, detailed in Steve Jackson's "The Beats Go On," in the November 30 issue. But real and true nonetheless.

John Navin
Boulder

The beat of a different drummer: I just read Steve Jackson's profile of Allen Ginsberg and crew and wasn't too impressed. Yeah, I know artists are often a bit whacked, but the pedophile thing is a bit much. In fact, I think of it as an abomination, and the people who participate or justify it are some real sick motherfuckers. If Ginsberg, or anyone else, can possibly defend an organization such as NAMBLA, then I think they've crossed a line that should never be crossed.

Sorry, pedophiles are not to be tolerated, in any society, at any time...it's one of the most destructive, perverted behaviors on earth. We seem, in our current age and time, to be a bit forgiving of such folks. Just read the paper and see how many peds get probation or very light sentences. Perhaps Ginsberg was a talented person, but I will forever see him as pedophile first, anything else second.

Neil Haverstick
Lakewood

The straight story: I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated "The Beats Go On." I am a personal friend of Peter Hale's from the Boulder days and always thought he was an amazing person. A few of these stories had been told to me over the years, but Steve Jackson's writing brought all of them back in even more vivid detail.

I was around Peter during his "transformation" and coming clean in 1990-'91. My best friend, Wes, was the one with whom Peter "fell in love." Just think how surprised Wes was while having coffee in Capitol Hill to pick up Westword and see Peter's story! Crazy, crazy times, that's for sure.

Coffee and dinners with Allen Ginsberg were always an experience, especially for a straight young woman (who at the time didn't really get the whole "Beat Generation" thing). I was only eighteen, and not well read. Allen was always interesting, though. I cherish the pictures and the memories I have.

Karmen Hansen
Denver

Verse comes to worse:Deadbeat Poets Society is more like it. Besides, these people are dangerous to me -- thus my request for anonymity. Okay, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs were somebodies on the American literary scene, albeit they were a coupla old fags who hit on anything Boy. Their reputations as pedophiles are legend in Boulder. Yet Naropa named a library after Ginsberg. And what of Peter Hale and Chris Ide...?

How about drug-addicted dirtball hookers who spread hep C and heroin throughout our community? Those left alive are the dying, throwaway boytoys. There is no glamour in being a fatherfucker. Police, take notice: This crowd destroyed enough of my friends in Boulder and New York.

Name withheld on request


Sit Down and Shut Up

The truth hurts: Regarding Justin Berton's "Conduct Unbecoming," in the November 23 issue:

You people amaze me. You seem in some way surprised to find that Sergeant (now Lieutenant) Gavito is being investigated for speaking straight to you. I have worked for the Department of Safety (Fire) for 29 years, and since Webb and his cronies have taken over the city, there exists a plainly discernible double standard that applies in this case: Promise to tell it straight and truthfully so as to look good in the papers, but if you do, plan on being investigated, hounded and forced off the job or reassigned where you can't tell anything -- especially if what you have to say in any way reflects badly on the city or your department. So if the truth is not flattering to the city or the department heads, shoot the messenger.

How do you think Gerry Whitman, Rich Gonzales or Ari Zavaras get and keep their jobs? They do what the mayor tells them, they stifle any dissent, and they make sure people who speak out are made to regret having done so.

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