A Supermarket in California – Ginsberg


What thoughts I have of you, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets
under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon…
Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997)

Some of the illustration boards that I cut up for my Popo Postcard Festival cards included the practice and palette boards for this painting I did a few years ago. Thus, I was inspired to dig it out of the IP archive! Don’t worry, the painting itself didn’t get the hatchet – it is one my few completed acrylic paintings that I still really like. The text of the original post from 2016 is below:

“This painting was one of two that I did for Matthias over at Beat Company (you can see the other one here edit Oct 13, 2020 – link broken and removed, sadly, Beat Company is no longer active) to mark the anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s passing on April 5th, 1997. The inspiration for the piece was the footnote to Howl and a photograph of Ginsberg as a young man in Berkeley, California. When Matthias didn’t wind up using this painting for the anniversary post, I decided to post it here on Illustrated Poetry – but the more I looked at it, the more I realized it reminded me of the opening lines of A Supermarket in California. It is one of those cases where the art knows more than I do! You can read the entire text of A Supermarket in California here. Painting, acrylic on illustration board, by me. Have a wonderful week!”


  1. Hi Marcy, good to see you’re back / reactivated.
    Sorry for the broken links: Me too and also took a break and decided to live less digital.
    My Bukowski related posts now appear analogue that is in print only – and http://www.newington.blue being only the channel accompanying the production process (a few copies of issue number one still available) and for promotion purposes.
    Stay safe and sane out there!
    xoxox Matthias

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Geo! I’ve never considered myself a painter, but working on these illustrations with Matthias is starting to change my mind.

      And I wanted to say: Your collaboration with Victor is fantastic – I’m so glad your creative universes have collided! That’s how new planets get formed. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 3 people

  2. On my end table in my study, directly to my left as I sit here with laptop in my lap, “City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology.” Have you been to City Lights in San Francisco? This painting should be haning on the wall there — home of the beat generation!


    1. Thank you, Lillian – that would be an incredible honor! I have been to City Lights – not for ages, though, and not enough! I bet that is a fantastic anthology. I hope to make a return (and far more knowledgable/intentional) visit to City Lights the next time I head to the Bay Area for a visit!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Jilanne! Seeing this one again makes me want to take up painting once more – just need more hours in the day and a slightly bigger card table “studio” :D!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan! As I mentioned to Sharon in another comment, the color palette came to me first, long before I knew what image I wanted to depict!


    1. Thank you so much, Tom! This illustration had a lot of layers, so it really called for patience and planning (neither of those are natural virtues of mine!) to get it done on time for the original deadline. As Matthias informed us below, as Californians, we could easily go and visit the very supermarket Ginsberg wrote about!


    1. Thank you, Claudia! I am right there with you – I have to admit that, until fairly recently, I had not been familiar with Ginsberg’s poetry beyond Howl. Matthias’ blog has really inspired me to get to know the Beats better!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The “real” Supermarket in California is located at:

    261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway,
    San Francisco, CA 94133
    Open daily 10 am to midnight

    BTW πŸ™‚

    Cheers, Matthias


    1. I might try to pay this place a visit! It is a rare occasion that you can visit the very site of such an iconic poem. Thank you again for this “assignment” – it was a true pleasure.

      Liked by 2 people

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