“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for
an angry fix,”
– Allen Ginsberg, Howl, 1956
I was twenty years old and it was the first English elective I had taken. It would be the last. The entire grade was based on an essay about Howl. Spring term 1972, the war still on, the streets choked with protesters and tear gas. I would never write the essay. I would not return to school in the fall. I would go to Tangiers. Twenty years later my wife and daughter and I would move to Boulder, Colorado, where Ginsberg and Kerouac and their beat buddies had once set up shop. We were making a lot of money then; we fit right in. We don’t live there any more.