Monday, September 12, 2016

The Barricades of Joe Gould

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
The prissy hedge in front of the Brevoort is long gone.

This prissy hedge in front of the Brevoort
Is but a symbol of the coming revolution.
These are the barricades,
      The barricades,
            The barricades.
And behind these barricades,
      Behind these barricades,
            Behind these barricades,
The Comrades die!
      The Comrades die!
            The Comrades die!
And behind these barricades,
      The Comrades die —
            Of overeating.


— Joe Gould


Joe Gould (1889-1957) was more hobo than boho but it is hard to argue that he was not a major minor character in the years spanning the Bohemians and the Beat Generation in Greenwich Village.

Gould is the author of the longest book never written — his Oral History of Civilization was reputed to be well over nine million words. He was famously portrayed as Professor Seagull in a Joe Mitchell 1942 New Yorker magazine piece and later the subject of a 1965 book by Mitchell — Joe Gould's Secret —  and a film in 2000.

Gould did write and his poems appear from time to time. This is one of those times and we remember Joe Gould on his birthday with The Barricades.