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A Pessimistic Fracas

Alan Ginsberg and I had a pessimistic fracas, one overcast afternoon on the cathedral steps. He was one step down from me, and he turned around: so I punched him in the face.

Holding his nose in his hand, he said, "I suppose you're going to keep doing that."

"No," I said, "I don't have the strength of character for that sort of thing."

So Ginsberg leapt up a step and flew at me with a headbutt. As I recoiled from this, he muttered, "I wish I'd known my mother better."

I leapt upon him. His hat flew off, and we both fell to the ground, as I said, "I wish I hadn't." We rolled down the cathedral steps, scratching and pulling each other's hair; some way down, I remembered to add, "My mother, I mean," which Ginsberg ignored.

We stopped rolling when we hit the bottom of the steps, Ginsberg kneeling on my ribs. He seemed to be about to hit me, but then he stopped. "Oh, what's the point?" he said.

We sat down and decided to become best of friends.

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