A cura di
 
Peter Benson Miller
Testi di
 Gerald Stern,

Queste fotografie di Larry Fink, buie e bellissime, scattate come racconta lui nel 1958, quando aveva 17 o 18 anni, ritraggono un convinto gruppo underground che Larry identifica come i Beat di seconda generazione. Sono gli artisti con cui viveva, poeti, musicisti, pittori che, occupando gli scantinati del Sullivan Street Theatre, non erano “sotterranei” solo
in senso spirituale o metaforico, ma proprio in senso stretto. Il Sullivan Street Theatre confinava col Village Gate, il famoso jazz club, e loro, a furia di scavarsi un passaggio dagli scantinati, mattone dopo mattone,
fino al retro del locale, riuscirono a sentire suonare Coltrane, Mingus e Art Blakey – per citarne alcuni – i “principi della libertà espressiva” come li definisce Larry. In quel periodo Kerouac stava scrivendo I sotterranei, ma di sicuro nessuno del gruppo di Fink era consapevole della coincidenza.
(Gerald Stern)

Il piccolo me si era dato una svegliata e facendo bisboccia in MacDougal Street era incappato in una banda di sballati dove c’erano Turk e Ambrose e Mary e altri, come se l’avesse deciso il destino.
Venendo da una famiglia di comunisti, il piccolo me non si sentiva troppo in sintonia con certe astrazioni poetiche del gruppo.
Ma per temperamento ero uno di loro.
Un giorno vennero a West Hempstead, Long Island, dove stavano i miei, tutti e tredici. Capelli incolti, fare strafottente, non si sarebbero mai aspettati quello che sarebbe successo. La mia controllante madre, marxista convinta,
 pretese che si facessero tutti la doccia e si rendessero presentabili prima di cena (lei era una pessima cuoca ma il pasto era gratis).
Così, uno per volta, si fecero la doccia in stile Long Island e dopo un po’ fu servita la cena. Al mattino ce ne tornammo tutti a NY per partire alla ricerca dello spirito della strada e per reinventarci l’America. Fu così che andò.
Cominciammo il nostro viaggio puliti.
(Larry Fink)

Lillà per Ginsberg
Ero più interessato al loro aspetto da morti
 e avrei potuto imparare ad amarli sicché attesi 
tre o quattro giorni che il marrone s’insinuasse 
e la foglia si arricciava un po’ al contrario
quando mettevo il dito sull’arteria principale 
sotto la gola per capire se il sangue era fluito
 da qualche altra parte e lui stava parlando a due demoni dell’aldilà anche se era
 come le montagne dello Stato di New York perché c’era fumo in cielo e loro gridavano e lui 
parlava nel suo inconfondibile inglese del New Jersey 
e ripeteva la stessa cosa più e più volte come 
faceva quando era in scena con la camicia bianca immacolata e la mancanza di aria e di luce 
avvizziva i lillà ma era seduto sopra un giglio 
uno o due secondi dopo e si scordò dell’Ottava Strada 
e della fama e del cancro e si piegò a raccogliere 
un diamante ma cosa più importante parlò 
ai demoni in francese e cantò con la sua voce metallica nemmeno continuò a parlare della malattia che lo ingialliva 
ma contò gli ammassi e disse che erano soltanto stelle e c’erano due universi aggrovigliati, il
 bianco e il viola, o erano solo briciole o granelli
 da spargere sulla sua torta nemmeno riusciva 
a ricordarsi bene il suo dolore tranne quando si premette i lillà sulla faccia o quando si chinò
 per sprofondare nella foresta, poi per un attimo 
quasi lo fece, perché i lillà sgombrano la mente
 e tutte le elaborazioni diventano possibili nel loro 
dolce profumo e perfino la sua morte che era così buona e premurosa si fece, per un attimo, dolorosa.
(Gerald Stern)

ENGLISH
Curated by 
Peter Benson Miller
Texts by Gerald Stern

These dark and beautiful photographs by Larry 
Fink, taken as he says, back in 1958 when he was
17 or 18 years old, are of a group of dedicated subterraneans who Larry identifies as the second generation of Beats. These are artists he lived with, poets, musicians, painters, who, by occupying the underground, the subterranean space beneath the Sullivan Street Theatre, were not just spiritually or metaphorically “subterranean” but that most literally. The Sullivan Street Theatre was next door to the Village Gate, the famous jazz club, and by digging their way to the rear of the cellar, brick by brick, they were able to hear Coltrane, Mingus, and Art Blakey – among others – what Larry describes as “the princes of expressive freedom”. It was at the very time that Kerouac was writing his novel, The Subterraneans but certainly no one in Fink’s crowd could have been aware of the coincidence.
(Gerald Stern)

Little me aroused and carousing on MacDougal Street fell into an associative funk with Turk and Ambrose and Mary and others, as if destiny was ordained.
But little me coming from a way left leaning household was a bit out of sync with some of the poetic abstractions or the group.
Never the less I was of them by temperament.
One day they all came out to West Hempstead, Long Island where my parents lived, all 13 of them. Scraggily haired and roughshod they were unprepared for what was to happen.
My controlling and uber-clean Marxist mother insisted that they all showered and got presentable before the dinner that she served (she was a lousy cook but it was free). So one by one they showered in Long Island style and after a while dinner was served. On into the morning we all went back to NY on the way to find the spirit of the road and to reinvent America. That was that.
We started out clean.
(Larry Fink)

Lilacs for Ginsberg
I was most interested in what they looked like dead and I could learn to love them so I waited
 for three or four days until the brown set in
and there was a certain reverse curl to the leaf by which in putting my finger on the main artery beside the throat I knew the blood had passed on to some place else and he was talking to two demons from the after life although it was just like the mountains in New York State since there was smoke in the sky and they were yelping and he was speaking in his tell tale New Jersey English
 and saying the same thing over and over the way he did when he was on stage and his white shirt was perfect and the lack of air and of light aged the lilacs but he was sitting on a lily 
in one or two seconds and he forgot about Eighth Street and fame and cancer and bent down to pick a loose diamond but more important than that he talked 
to the demons in French and sang with his tinny voice nor did he go on about his yellowing sickness
 but counted the clusters and said they were only stars and there were two universes intertwined, the
 white and the purple, or they were just crumbs or specks that he could sprinkle on his pie nor could he
 exactly remember his sorrow except when he pressed the lilacs to his face or when he stooped 
to bury himself in the bush, then for a moment
 he almost did, for lilacs clear the mind 
and all the elaborations are possible in their
 dear smell and even his death which was so
 good and thoughtful became, for a moment, sorrowful.
(Gerald Stern)