The scene was familiar—except for the gray that now dappled his beard. Ten years and 1,000 miles from the bloody streets of Chicago, the poetguru of the protest generation, Allen Ginsberg, once again defied the fuzz.
This time Ginsberg’s howl was against the perils of plutonium waste. He and five other members of the ad hoc Rocky Flats Truth Force (including his longtime roommate, poet Peter Orlovsky) meditated in the path of an approaching train that was carrying radioactive detritus away from the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, 25 miles northwest of Denver. Ginsberg, now 52, had been up until dawn on the day of his arrest composing Plutonian Ode, a six-page jeremiad on the “most deadly substance in the world.” He pleaded not guilty to criminal trespass and obstructing a passageway, charges that could lead to a $300 fine and up to six months in, the slam. Undaunted, Ginsberg vowed to “spread the plutonium waste message”—to use Orlovsky’s unlikely simile—”like Paul Revere.”