by Allen Ginsberg

A brown piano in diamond
white spotlight
Leviathan auditorium
iron run wired
hanging organs, vox
black battery
A single whistling sound of ten thousand children’s
larynxes asinging
pierce the ears
and following up the belly
bliss the moment arrived
Apparition, four brown English
jacket christhair boys
Goofed Ringo battling bright
white drums
Silent George hair patient
Soul horse
Short black-skulled Paul
with the guitar
Lennon the Captain, his mouth
a triangular smile,
all jump together to End
some tearful memory song
ancient-two years,
The million children
the thousand words
bounce in their seats, bash
each other’s sides, press
legs together nervous
Scream again & claphand
become one Animal
in the New World Auditorium
—hands waving myriad
snakes of thought
screetch beyond hearing
while a line of police with
folded arms stands
Sentry to contain the red
sweatered ecstasy
that rises upward to the
wired roof.

– August 27, 1965

“Portland Coliseum” by Allen Ginsberg commemorates the Beatles’ appearance in Portland, Oregon, on August 22, 1965. The poem is found in READ THE BEATLES: Classic and New Writing on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter (Penguin, 2006), available at

Photo: The Beatles performing “I’m Down” in Portand, Oregon, on August 22, 1965 (Bob Boris, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)