John Loftonnno. Sir, first of all your tone is toonaggressive. You have to soften yourntone because there’s an element ofnaggression here. There’s an, elementnalmost like a police interrogation here.nLofton: But that’s not all bad. Thenpolice, in some instances, do a goodnjob, particularly in dealing with criminals.nGinsberg: Sir, in this case it’s a littlenimpolite. You’re being a little harsh andnunfriendly and making it very difficultnto relate to you gently and talk unguardedlynand candidly because therenis an element of manipulativeness innthe way you’re asking questions. Youndon’t feel that at all? ;nLofton: No.nGinsberg: No element of manipulativenessnor coercion or aggression or anhard edge here that is supposed to putnme at a disadvantage?nLofton: There’s no doubt that fromnwhat I’ve read about you, I don’t likenwhat you have stood for over the years.nI don’t like your politics, the kind of sexnyou engage in. So, if you mean there’sna hostility here towards what you are,nabsolutely [there is].nGinsberg: But you’re talking to me asnif I’rn an object of some kind and not anperson in front of you. There’s annelement of abusiveness in the waynyou’re talking to me — your tone ofnvoice and interrogative method innwhich I seem to have to answer yes ornno.nLofton: But an interview is an interrogation.nGinsberg: Or it can be a conversation,na little warmer. It can have a little morensense of respect and less sense ofnhard-edged, police-like interrogation.nI’m asking you, in a sense, to watchnyour manners.nLofton: That’s interesting because I’mnnot asking you to respond in anynparticular way. Why are you telling menhow to ask questions? You can use anyntone you like. . . . So, can we return tonmy question? What was this psychiatricndisability that put you in an institute forneight months?nGinsberg: Well, I’m not sure it reallynwas a disability to begin with. So I can’tnanswer the question the way you proposenit.nLofton: But I’m asking you if it’s true,nas the Current Biography Yearbook hasnreported, that you had this disability?nGinsberg: It’s neither true nor notntrue. Now, do you know about that?nLofton: But it is true that you were innan institute?nGinsberg: Yes, I was. I had a kind ofnvisionary experience relating to a textnnnAllen Ginsbergnby William Blake, “The Sick Rose.”nLofton: “The Sick Rose”?nGinsberg: Yes, it went: “O rose, thounart sick! /. The invisible worm / Thatnflies in the night, / In the howlingnstorm, / Has found out thy bed / Ofncrimson joy, / And his dark secret love /nDoes thy life destroy.” So, it’s a verynmysterious, interesting poem thatnkeyed off a kind of religious experience,na visionary experience, a hallucinatorynexperience — whichever waynyou want to interpret it. All threendescriptions are applicable and possible.nReality has many aspects.nLofton: Were you using drugs whilenyou masturbated [and had this experience]?nGinsberg: Not at all. I had been livingnvery quietly, eating vegetarian diets,nseeing very few people and reading angreat many religious texts: St. John ofnthe Cross, the Bible, Plato’s Phaedra,nSt. Teresa of Avila, and Blake. So I wasnin a kind of solitary, contemplativenmood.nLofton: Did you put yourself into thisninstitute?nGinsberg: More or less. Because Inquestioned my own sense of reality andnI couldn’t figure out what the significancenof the illuminative experiencenwas, whether it was a kind of traditionalnDECEMBER 1989/45n