Thursday, April 05, 2007

"I love Allen Ginsberg, Let that be recorded in Heaven's unchangeable heart."*

A great picture(s) of Allen taken by William Burroughs in 1953

*Well not quite, I did have a great fondness for him, and I do love that line from a Kerouac haiku.

Today though, is the tenth anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's death and last night I watched the Jonas Mekas video "Scenes from Allen's Last Three Days on Earth as a Spirit" that was put up on (the almost couldn't be greater) UbuWeb. The Mekas video diary of the events surrounding Allen's passing was equally banal and poingant just the way life is. I was rivited being as I've read many biographies of him and his many friends. It was really nice to see a bunch of people that I hadn't really thought about for some time. Well anyways, I was always more interested in Ginsberg's life than his poetry but he did write one of my all-time favorite poems:


Aunt Rose—now—might I see you
with your thin face and buck tooth smile and pain
of rheumatism—and a long black heavy shoe
for your bony left leg
limping down the long hall in Newark on the running carpet
past the black grand piano
in the day room
where the parties were
and I sang Spanish loyalist songs
in a high squeaky voice
(hysterical) the committee listening
while you limped around the room
collected the money—
Aunt Honey, Uncle Sam, a stranger with a cloth arm
in his pocket
and huge young bald head
of Abraham Lincoln Brigade

—your long sad face
your tears of sexual frustration
(what smothered sobs and bony hips
under the pillows of Osborne Terrace)
—the time I stood on the toilet seat naked
and you powered my thighs with calamine
against the poison ivy—my tender
and shamed first black curled hairs
what were you thinking in secret heart then
knowing me a man already—
and I an ignorant girl of family silence on the thin pedestal
of my legs in the bathroom—Museum of Newark.

Aunt Rose
Hitler is dead, Hitler is in Eternity; Hitler is with
Tamburlane and Emily Brontë

Though I see you walking still, a ghost on Osborne Terrace
down the long dark hall to the front door
limping a little with a pinched smile
in what must have been a silken
flower dress
welcoming my father, the Poet, on his visit to Newark
—see you arriving in the living room
dancing on your crippled leg
and clapping hands his book
had been accepted by Liveright

Hitler is dead and Liveright’s gone out of business
The Attic of the Past and Everlasting Minute are out of print
Uncle Harry sold his last silk stocking
Claire quite interpretive dancing school
Buba sits a wrinkled monument in Old
Ladies Home blinking at new babies

last time I saw you was the hospital
pale skull protruding under ashen skin
blue veined unconscious girl
in an oxygen tent
the war in Spain has ended long ago
Aunt Rose

Paris, June 1958

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