Wichita Vortex Sutra







... Kansas! Kansas! Shuddering at last!


as the western Twang prophesied

thru banjo,


accept my tears as yours to harvest




American Eagle beating its wings over Asia

million dollar helicopters


Has anyone looked in the eyes of the dead?



Communion of bum magicians



three five zero zero    on the other side of the planet

caught in barbed wire, fire ball


Is this the land that started war on China?


the awesome poem writ by the train

        across northern Kansas,



When a woman's heart bursts in Waterville

a woman screams equal in Hanoi -


All we do is for this frightened thing

     we call Love, want and lack -


Future speeding on swift wheels

    straight to the heart of Wichita!


Many another has suffered death and madness

in the Vortex from Hydraulic

to the end of 17th - enough!




                         February 14th, 1966




c Copyright Allen Ginsberg

Published with the kind permission of The Wylie Agency

Originally published in Planet News and later Selected Poems 1947 - 1995 (Page 160 for the complete poem) 








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22       soundbite

























1. Soldiers of the U.S. First Air Cavalry Division point their weapons at villagers whom they flushed from the brush along the riverbank.                     Photo by Dana Stone 1966    (UPI)    cc

2. Vietnamese Air T-28 Skyraiders, flown by U.S. Air Force pilots, drop napalm on Viet Cong targets.                                    Photo by Larry Burrows 1962 (Life) cc

3. As Yankee Papa 13 approaches the landing zone, Crew Chief James Farley opens fire with his M-60 machine gun.                                  Photo: Larry Burrows, 1965(Life)     cc

4. An ammunition dump struck by a shell explodes in front of U.S. Marines. This pictures was on the cover of Newsweek on March 18, 1968.                        Photo by Robert Ellison, 1968.        cc

5. Questioning a suspected Vietcong                                 Photo:The Byrd Archives cc

6.  AR 18                                                    cg pd

7. Burning Viet Cong base camp My Tho Vietnam. In the foreground is Private First class Raymond Rumpa, St Paul Minnesota C Company 3rd Battalion 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry division with 45 pound 90mm recoiless rifle  04/05/1968       Source: US Archiv ARCWEB   pd

8.  CG 1847                                             cg pd

9. 101st Airborne Division                               Source: US Army-history images   pd

10. Khe Sanh under fire                                          Photo: The Byrd Archives  cc

11. An M4 Sherman tank at the Imperial War Museum London UK Source:GurraJG           No C

12. Grenade 6604                                                GNU

13. UH1-D helicopters in Vietnam                                                     pd

14. Da Nang, Vietnam  Sergeant Robert E. Fears clears an area using his flamethrower 05/22/1970                                    NARA No C 

15. Two nurses talking to a patient Saigon South Vietnam                   NARA No C

16. Vietnam Private First Class David Sletter, medic, Company B 1st Battalion 27th Infantry, 25th infantry Division, paddles a three man assault boat down the canal toward a breaking point during Operation Thong Thang 05/13/1968          NARA No C

17. Photograph of Napalm bombs exploding on Viet Cong structures south of Saigon in the Republic of Vietnam, 1965                                               NARA    No C

18. Photograph of small girl receiving medical aid 01/30/1968                        GNU

19. 44 Magnum                                                                               GNU

20. US riverboat using napalm in Vietnam       from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/image: US_riverboat_using_napalm_in_Vietnam.jpg

21.  M11 9mm                                                                   GNU

22. A U.S. Air Force HH-3 helicopter crewman fires a mini-gun during rescue patrol over South Vietnam 10/17/1968                                        NARA  No C

23. Marine Corps flame thrower                   Source: US Archiv ARCWEB   pd

24. Iraqi boys giving peace sign Baghdad             Christiaan Briggs  GNU

25. Vietnam War protesters 1967 Wichita Kansas       Source: US Archiv ARCWEB

26. Photograph of a man protesting at the Vietnam War Moffet Field 1971       GNU

27. Flower-Power Bus                    Author: Johannes Aubele august 2004  pd

28. Paris peace talks -  Vietnam peace agreement signing                         pd

29. Photograph of Marines carrying wounded                             NARA No C

30. My Lai. Among the hundreds of unarmed civilians massacred by U.S. soldiers on march 16th, 1968.                                                               Online source: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mylai/trial08.jpg

31. Helicopters in South-Vietnam 1969                                       pd

32. Dropping Loran bombs Vietnam                         Source: US Archiv ARCWEB

33. Photograph of three soldiers eating and writing                       NARA No C

34. A Vietnamese woman weeping over the body of her husband           NARA No C

35. Photograph of a propaganda poster                                         NARA No C

36. President Lyndon B Johnson in Vietnam with General William Westmoreland in Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam 12/23/1967                                            NARA No C

37. Grenades                                                                         GNU

38. M61 Fragmentation Grenade                                              GNU



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