GINSBERG RUNS ON DICK—RICHARD CECIL SEEKS SWEET SIXTEEN AGAINST THE SAINT OF EAST 12TH STREET

ginsberg

Ginsberg: 3/5 Williams, 2/5 Kvetch.  He once had silken thighs.

Here we go: the penultimate match for Scarriet’s 2011 APR Tournament Sweet Sixteen!

Allen Ginsberg, 3/5 hairy, 2/5 bald, was not a happy old man, writing in his “The Charnel Ground,”

feeling lack in feet soles, inside ankles, small of back, phallus head, anus–
Old age sickness death again come round in the wink of an eye–
High school youth the inside skin of my thighs was silken smooth tho nobody touched me there back then—

Ginsberg has a remarkably expansive mind—it confesses everything, even as it has no ideas.

The ‘having no ideas’ part is precisely what makes Ginsberg the heir of Williams/Aldington H.D./Pound Imagism; just as Whitman was Emerson’s Frankenstein monster, Ginsberg was Williams‘ No-Ideas-But-In-Things monster: Ginsberg’s poetry is things taking over, the dead coming to life, things cluttering up the mind of all poems.

Emerson had ideas, but since in the end they all contradicted each other, all that remained was passionate rhetoric, transcendent rhetoric that wouldn’t be pinned down, and was poetic just for that: you can try it for yourself: take Emerson and put him into lines, and you’ve got Whitman, the run-away train of magnificent observations sans real thought.

One man’s prose really is another man’s poetry.

This phenomena of prose feeding poetry, the essayist as the model for the poet, the poet merely singing the dead philosopher, has always been the story, not a modern one; poetry solidifies into free verse when captured by the fluidity of prior prose.

What happens with modernist poetry, Whitman-Williams-Ginsberg, etc, is that poetry ceases to think; it thinks, but not as a poem would thinkGinsberg does think, he does have thoughts; but his poems don’t think; they are not realized as poems—they are scraps and jottings: American poetry as Emerson’s Diary.  This experiment will even work: Emerson in lines sometimes sounds like Pound and Ginsberg, too.   The hectoring grumble, the admonition to take off your clothes and wave your cock around!  The whole thing is, unfortunately, finally more homogenous than any sentimental Victorian-verse counterpart.

It is the hell of the avant-garde who finally is trapped in the prison of nothing-to-say.  All that rebellious energy, but no poetry; nowhere, finally, to go.

Why does the rebel Blake sound august, and the rebel Ginsberg like a mere downer?

Why do Williams, Pound and Ginsberg taste like watery wine?  Because their wine was their manifesto, the intoxication of their poetry was ‘make it new,’ which unfortunately translated, poetically, into ‘make it dull.’   Good wine, as everyone knows, is not new.  The intoxication that sold what they were doing to the critics, and professors, and sex addicts, and kids who hated their parents, was in the sell, not in the poetry itself.

MARLA MUSE: Devastating.  I can hear the yowls and yawps of protest already coming over the rooftops.  “Strawman” is already forming on someone’s lips.

We are the hollow men, Marla.  Heads filled with straw.  But with young, silken smooth thighs.

MARLA MUSE: Oh, they’re right, Tom!  You are the most entertaining commentator on poetry alive!

O what shall we do?  Bang or whimper?

MARLA MUSE: Is the game starting?

Yes.  But I have to ask one more question:

So how did the shining clarity of the Red Wheel Barrow evolve into the complaint of Howl?

It happened because “So much depends” was not a thing, and even if it were, it would be like a basketball player content with the look of his face or his uniform. You’ve got to play.

And  Ginsberg can play, Marla.  He runs.  He plays the full-court game.

The Red Wheel Barrow, despite the blind who think otherwise, was not a thing.

It was a manifesto.

A manifesto Ginsberg ran with.

The Red Wheel Barrow did come to the public’s attention, like the poem, “The Raven,” for instance, in a daily newspaper, or from a recitation; the Red Wheel Barrow came to the public’s attention in a text book, a text book honoring it and written by a couple of New Critics who approved of the Red Wheel Barrow just as Williams automatically approved of Ginsberg.  The New Critics loved both the “raw” and the “cooked,” which was division of no meaning, since the belief that a poem is “raw” is like the belief that the Red Wheel Barrow is a thing.

Dumb manifestos lead to dull poetry.

Now by the time Ginsberg ran with Williams‘ bad manifesto, Whitman and Pound had reconciled, which meant Emerson/Whitman were back in the game: the sprawling Ginsberg could sprawl without ideas as long as enough things (raw details) ran up and down the court with him.  The tiny false distinction between raw and cooked quickly closed; Emerson the august brick-thrower, the ‘Made-in-the-USA Nietzsche,’ held sway once more, as modernists could eschew cute imagism for something as mindless, but with more heft: say-anything-you-goddamn-please-in-lines-way-out-to-here.  This formula was magical and had much more staying power than Imagism, which died a quick death—no wonder Pound quickly announced, the very  moment Imagism flopped, that he was writing a long poem—it was a desperate effort to save his career; and it worked—because he had enough crazy friends who believed The Cantos was one poem, and not just a string of unrelated scribbles.  What was so magical about ‘Say-anything-you-goddamn-please’ was not that it produced anything that was terribly interesting (in fact most of it was terribly boring) but because it made good poetry that had been written before look like it wasn’t saying everything, that it had something to hide: Ginsberg was grotesque, but he was telling the truth, and therefore, by comparison, the more reticent—because more crafted—poetry of prior eras, was not.

At least this was the unspoken sell of modernist poetry: the whole freeing and breaking down the doors thing.  Jorie Graham claimed that in her latest book (Overlord) she was doing something wonderful—writing simultaneously like Whitman and Williams—long lines and short lines together.  Her experiment proved to be a muddle (and greeted by po-biz with an embarrassed silence) because Graham’s attempt was nothing more than an elaboration of a bankrupt modernist manifesto.  There aren’t short lines and bad lines; there are only good lines.  If your writing is dull, your little lines will blur into long ones and your long ones will be read as a series of little ones.

MARLA MUSE: I see the game is starting!

Cecil tries to make it a half-court game against Ginsberg, but it’s hopeless.  Cecil’s knotty, prosy lyric, as interesting as it is, doesn’t stand a chance.

Ginsberg, 101-70.

Allen Ginsberg is in the Sweet Sixteen.

Advertisements

17 Comments

  1. May 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

    “Dumb manifestos lead to dull poetry,” you say. O.k, but dumb manifestos also lead to very dumb critical analysis, and this is dumb manifestoitis gone bananas. Indeed, your conclusions are nothing but hobbyhorses — you’re already on them long before you even start your argument, and that’s why they get absolutely nowhere!

    You begin and end in manifesto!

    ~

    Dear Everybody,
    This is a big day for me because I’m giving up on Scarriet yet again — I’ve already left my swan song on About Scarriet.

    What follows is the exact point where I gave up a year ago. If you feel I’m beating a dead horse, I’m afraid I’d have to agree — but it breaks my heart too, to abandon hope in so much promise.

    Scarriet could have become a new poetry community, and now it’s just somebody’s blog.

    C.
    .

    19. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Tom writes:

    “I think metaphor is highly overrated as a poetic device. I feel metaphor can, when used sparingly, embellish, but it’s not the heart of the matter.”

    The world is not with you enough, Tom, it’s obvious, otherwise you’d stop saying things like this. You’d know too much.

    The world is

    not with us enough.
    O taste and see

    the subway Bible poster said,

    meaning The Lord, meaning

    if anything all that lives

    to the imagination’s tongue,

    grief, mercy, language,

    tangerine, weather, to

    breathe them, bite,

    savor, chew, swallow, transform

    into our flesh our

    deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,

    living in the orchard and being

    hungry, and plucking

    the fruit.

    
……………………………..Denise Levertov

    Before you begin to know you have to get fed up with thinking you already know everything, you have to get really, really, really bored with what you think you know. You have to get so horribly bored you stop saying and doing the same old things over and over again.

    That’s what the girl found out in ”Bored,” and I think you should look into it.

    Before you do metaphor you have to do the world.

    Christopher
    .

    20. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Tom and Bob,


    My previous comment is hard to reply to, I know, just as it’s hard to define or evaluate a poem like “O Taste and See.” Like “The Red Wheelbarrow,” “O Taste and See” has become a touchstone whose function is to orient modern readers in the relationship between the inner world of self and ideas, and the outer world of things. They’re the new shorthand of poets, so to speak, 2 different languages inscribed upon the Rosetta Stone of contemporary poetry.

    You can be cynical about them but you can’t deny them. Like The Gettysburg Address in our history, or The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in our international affairs, they’re there for everybody, and you use them with the assurance that everybody knows what you’re talking about — within the confines of their own understanding and maturity, of course.

    What you could do, on the other hand, is comment on what I say about Margaret Atwood’s, and Franz Wright’s poems, both of which are available on this thread. Do you find my readings sympathetic? And if not, what would you like to say yourselves?

    Christopher
    .

    21. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Christopher,

    You did make me see the Franz Wright poem in a new light. If the “bright” in that poem is painful to the senses, then it’s not a happy poem at all, but a description of limit and pain. Question: Is it a better poem because your reading eclipses mine, a stronger poem because it can mean two things? It’s the nature of language to have multiple meanings. You put ‘bright’ on the blackboard and ask a class to say what it means and some will say ‘light’ or ‘happy’ and others might say ‘painful.’ This kind of ambiguity is natural in language and thus when I find it in poems I usually see it as a weakness, as a sign that the poet wasn’t able to control his language, because ambiguity is a default occurence; it takes no skill to be ambiguous with language, it just happens, and it happens all the time. I was ‘moved’ or ‘touched’ by the Wright poem because I thought it was expressing a happy thought of life after death…Sucker! Boy, he fooled me! Perhaps I shouldn’t have been ‘moved’ or ‘touched’ by that sentiment at all. Let’s call the professors in and have a huddle: “No, we’re sorry, Mr. Graves…WRONG! The poem has multiple meanings…”bright” can mean light, but it can also mean pain…Mr. Wright is describing a worm’s existence, one that crawls away from light…but also a man’s existence who stares, an idiot, upon the light and becomes blinded…” But my view, Christopher, is, that if we give the professors enough time, they will find the Book of Revelation and the History of the War of the Roses in Franz Wright’s poem and make fools of us all. You didn’t see Jesus and the Lamb and the seven burning stars…? I saw them immediately! If all that material were in Franz Wright’s poem, would it be able to move, to breathe, to see? Would it be able to, lickety-split, slip into our hearts? No, it would sit there and fester with all its “knowledge.” It would die. If poems turn into ‘arguments’ about what’s in them or not, I can see how most people who want to be ‘moved’ or ‘touched’ by poems would just walk away from it all and say to the disputants and the wise men, ‘you can have it. I don’t want to argue about what’s in a poem all day, thanks.’ Isn’t that what Whitman was saying to the ‘learned astronomers?’ Perhaps Whitman was confusing science and poetry, but when Whitman took his walk in perfect silence beneath the stars, was he looking for…’Sucker! You missed the whole point! We must study the stars, moron!!’?? I was having a Walt Whitman in silence beneath the stars moment with the Franz Wright poem, just a blissful moment, and it gave me pleasure, and sure, I suppose there will always be a learned astronomer to tell me differently, but I think there has to be a point where we say, ‘this is a poem, it’s not the stars, it’s not life’ and none of us can look at everything at once, and so if we always feel we have to watch out or we’ll ‘miss’ something, like reading a poem is crossing a busy street… where you’re always thinking ‘am I going to miss something somebody else saw…?’ I resist that, I look with pleasure at a poem, not with wariness, and the first way to resist the bullcrap element is to realize that if the poet needs you to see all these things and do all this work for him, the poet is wrong, and the reader is right. What the reader takes away from the poem is the poem, the poem is not what the poet thinks we ought to get.

    Thomas
    .

    22. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I think you better read the poem again, Tom — because the pain I was talking about had nothing to do with eye strain.

    A Happy Thought

    Assuming this is the last day of my life

    (which might mean it is almost the first),
    
I’m struck blind but my blindness is bright.

    Prepare for what’s known here as death;
    have no fear of that strange word forever.

    Even I can see there’s nothing there

    to be afraid of: having already been

    to forever I’m unable to recall

    anything that scared me, there, or hurt.

    What frightened me, apparently, and hurt

    was being born. But I got over that

    with no hard feelings. Dying, I imagine

    it will be the same deal, lonesomer maybe,

    but surely no more shocking or prolonged—

    It’s dark as I recall, then bright, so bright.

    ……………………………………………… Franz Wright

    Your mind is so on rails that if somebody says “death” to you you hear fairy lights. What Franz Wright actually says, comparing dying with being born, is:

    …………………………….Dying, I imagine

    it will be the same deal [i.e. as birth], lonesomer maybe,

    but surely no more shocking or prolonged—

    It’s dark as I recall [i.e. he recalls birth], then bright, so bright.

    A “happy thought” indeed.

    Where are you when you read poems?
    .

    thomasbrady said,
    March 27, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    “It will be the same deal”

    What does that mean, Christopher?
    .

    22. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    i.e. the same struggle, the same raw deal, the same crap — and even lonesomer, if you can imagine
    .

    23. thomasbrady said,
    March 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    There’s this perception that poets are these sweet, benevolent creatures always looking out for the well-being of their readers, working their little fingers to the bone for the sake of their readers, working from noon to night in the vineyard and in the kitchen to give the reader a little sweetness and if anyone says anything against a poem or a poet they must be this horrible, evil person.

    The critic is the nasty brute who insults the poet, the poor poet who slaved away in the orchard and the field and over the stove to bring a drop of goodness to mankind. Right?

    Isn’t this how we see it?

    Now I look at that Levertov poem, and I’ve never seen it before. She has worked in the orchard from noon to night and slaved in the kitchen and I better like this poem. And if I say anything against her poem, I’ll be put in the stocks, I will. That nice lady baked me a pie! And what did I, do? I said I didn’t like the pie! You can’t say that! What a nasty person I am, not like to like the poor lady’s pie.

    The reality’s quite different, though, isn’t it?

    The poet’s like the spider sitting in her web, and you, the little fly, get stuck in those words covered up in the stickiness of obligation. The poet will cry and you’ll be a mean man, and if you don’t like the poem all the mothers and the grandmothers and the children will hate you forever.

    The critic, however, eats grandmothers for breakfast.

    No, the reality’s different. The truth is quite, quite different.

    The handsome critic gives you no obligation to like what he or she is saying. The critic doesn’t trick you with ambiguous meanings and lure you in with confusing words all smothered with the stickiness of horrid obligation. The critic explains it and you take it or leave it. There’s no trickery. The critic’s whole purpose is to untangle trickery and wash away the stickiness of endless obligation in Letters and polite society. The critic says there’s a web here and a web there and here’s the flower upon which you want to land. And we agree or disagree–without any sticky obligation to love something.

    Now is it really true that none had ever tasted and seen until Ms. Levertov?

    Is it really true?

    Buzz, buzz
    .

    24. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Ms. Levertov did not invent this idea — it’s as old as Zen, even as old as the Tao. Denise Levertov merely wrote the poem at an opportune moment, and of course had considerable talent as a poet as well as a rich soul, and subsequent readers, including me, did the rest.

    You make the same silly remarks about William Carlos Williams, describing the moment in which he wrote “The Red Wheelbarrow” as “pretentious.” He just wrote a nice little poem, that’s all — it was we who did the rest!

    You’re so stuck in your anti-modernist position you’re incapable of reading even as simple a little poem as “The Red Wheelbarrow” with an open mind. You just strike out at it blindly with your anti-modernist schtick.
    .

    25. thomasbrady said
    March 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    “old as Zen, even as old as the Tao.”

    So this is how you defend Levertov?

    But on the other hand, ‘Red Wheel Barrow’ is a ‘nice little poem.’

    So, either I’m picking on a ‘nice little poem’ or I’m ignorant of the great, old, magnificent truths of Zen and Tao…. I can’t take a look at a poem and say…’You know what? This poem does nothing for me. For me, this poem is a failure…’ for if I say this, I’m an apostate, a fiend, a devil…’striking blindly with my anti-modernist schtick’ as if I’m somehow against all that’s ‘modern’ because I reject certain poems…I don’t care what ‘big ideas’ they are supposed to represent, or what ‘nice little’ aspects I’m supposed to appreciate…if I don’t like a specific poem, I don’t like a specific poem…and there’s no harm in that…
    .

    26. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    You twist everything, Tom. You’re only interested in arguing, and have no interest in dialogue — a spoiled child.

    I quit.
    .

    27. Christopher Woodman said
    March 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Twist and twist and twist. I never said this about Levertov — I said it about the simple, ancient truth upon which the poem was based. You said she invented it. I said she didn’t.

    I said “The Red Wheelbarrow” is a simple little poem in the sense that it was not pretentious in its inception. You said William Carlos Williams was writing “pretentious modern junk” when he wrote it, and he obviously wasn’t. He just wrote it — the poem’s subsequent role as a touchstone of modernism had nothing whatsoever to do with his intention.

    But you never listen. You’re only interested in arguing, and have no interest in dialogue — a spoiled child, you’ll say anything that suits your philosophical position.

    And you’re proud of your intransigence too. You’re proud to be perverse.

    I don’t understand why you pretend to like poetry at all — all you like to do is pigeon-hole it.

    Indeed, you stuff it in the hole before you even read it!

    I’m exhausted. I don’t need this and I quit.

    Christopher
    .

    PROVE ME WRONG TO QUIT, TOM — I’LL ADMIT I WAS WHEN YOU DO, I PROMISE.

    AND THE TRAGEDY IS THAT I KNOW YOU COULD IF YOU’D HAVE THE COURAGE TO SLOUGH OFF BRADY’S SHROUDS AND RISE UP THOMAS GRAVES!

    C.

  2. Anonymous said,

    May 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

    The Charnel Ground

    “… rugged and raw situations, and having accepted them as part of your home ground, then some spark of sympathy or compassion could take place. You are not in a hurry to leave such a place immediately. You would like to face the facts, realities of that particular world …”
    — FROM A COMMENTARY ON THE SADHANA OF MAHAMUDRA, CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA, RINPOCHE

    Upstairs Jenny crashed her car & became a living corpse, Jake sold grass, the white bearded pot belly leprechaun silent climbed their staircase
    Ex-janitor John from Poland averted his eyes, cheeks flushed with vodka, wine who knew what
    as he left his groundfloor flat, refusing to speak to the inhabitant of Apt 24
    Who’d put his boyfriend in Bellevue, calling police, while the artistic Buddhist composer
    on sixth floor lay spaced out feet swollen with water, dying slowly of AIDS over a year—
    The Chinese teacher cleaned & cooked in Apt 23 for the homosexual poet who pined for his gymnast
    thighs & buttocks—Downstairs th’ old hippy flower girl fell drunk over the banister, smashed her jaw—
    her son despite moderate fame cheated of rocknroll money, twenty thousand people in stadiums
    cheering his tattooed skinhead murderous Hare Krishna vegetarian drum lyrics—
    Mary born in the building rested on her cane heavy legged with heart failure on the second landing, no more able
    to vacation in Caracas & Dublin—The Russian landlady’s husband from Concentration Camp disappeared again—nobody mentioned he’d died—
    tenants took over her building for hot water, she couldn’t add rent & pay taxes, wore a long coat hot days
    alone & thin on the street carrying groceries to her crooked apartment silent—
    One poet highschool teacher fell dead mysterious heart disrythmia, konked over in his mother’s Brooklyn apartment, his first baby girl a year old, wife stoical a few days—
    their growling noisy little dog had to go, the baby cried—
    Meanwhile the upstairs apartment meth head shot cocaine & yowled up and down
    East 12th Street, kicked out of Christine’s Eatery till police cornered him, top a hot iron steamhole
    near Stuyvesant Town Avenue A telephone booth calling his deaf mother—sirens speed the way to Bellevue—
    past whispering grass crack salesman jittering in circles on East 10th Street’s
    southwest corner where art yuppies come out of the overpriced Japanese Sushi Bar—& they poured salt into potato soup heart failure vats at KK’s Polish restaurant
    —Garbage piled up, nonbiodegradable plastic bags emptied by diabetic sidewalk homeless
    looking for returnable bottles recycled dolls radios half eaten hamburgers—thrown away Danish—
    On 13th Street the notary public sat in his dingy storefront, drivers lessons & tax returns prepared on old metal desks—
    Sunnysides crisped in butter, fries & sugary donuts passed over the luncheonette counter next door—
    The Hispanic lady yelled at the rude African-American behind the Post Office window
    “I waited all week my welfare check you sent me notice I was here yesterday
    I want to see the supervisor bitch dont insult me refusing to look in—”
    Closed eyes of Puerto Rican wino lips cracked skin red stretched out
    on the pavement, naptha backdoor open for the Korean family Dry Cleaners at the 14th Street corner
    Con Ed workmen drilled all year to bust electric pipes 6 feet deep in brown dirt
    so cars bottlenecked wait minutes to pass the M14 bus stopped mid-road, heavy dressed senior citizens step down in red rubble
    with Reduced Fare Program cards got from grey city Aging Department officers downtown up the second flight by elevators don’t work—
    News comes on the radio, they bombed Baghdad and the Garden of Eden again?
    A million starve in Sudan, mountains of eats stacked on docks, local gangs & U.N.’s trembling bureaucrat officers sweat near the equator arguing over
    Wheat piles shoved by bulldozers—Swedish doctors ran out of medicine—The Pakistan taxi driver
    says Salman Rushdie must die, insulting the prophet in fictions
    “No that wasn’t my opinion, just a character talking like in a poem no judgment”
    “Not till the sun rejects you do I,” so give you a quarter by the Catholic Church 14th St you stand half drunk
    waving a plastic glass, flush faced, live with your mother a wounded look on your lips, eyes squinting,
    receding lower jaw sometimes you dry out in Bellevue, most days cadging dollars for sweet wine
    by the corner where Plump Blindman shifts from foot to foot showing his white cane, rattling coins in a white paper cup some weeks
    where girding the subway entrance construction saw-horses painted orange
    guard steps underground—And across the street the NYCE bank machine cubicle door sign reads
    Not in Operation as taxis bump on potholes asphalt mounded at the crossroad when red lights change green
    & I’m on my way uptown to get a cat scan liver biopsy, visit the cardiologist,
    account for high blood pressure, kidneystones, diabetes, misty eyes & dysesthesia—
    feeling lack in feet soles, inside ankles, small of back, phallus head, anus—
    Old age sickness death again come round in the wink of an eye—
    High school youth the inside skin of my thighs was silken smooth tho nobody touched me there back then—
    Across town the velvet poet takes Darvon N, valium nightly, sleeps all day kicking methadone
    between brick walls sixth floor in a room cluttered with collages & gold dot paper scraps covered
    with words: “The whole point seems to be the idea of giving away the giver.”

    August 19, 1992

    — Allen Ginsberg

    • Nooch said,

      May 3, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Oops, my bad, hit return key by mistake—
      No italics were inserted,
      (Though dashes are fine)—
      One can’t predict where one’ll get a break.

  3. "Sweet 16" support said,

    May 3, 2011 at 11:38 am

    The Charnel Ground

    “… rugged and raw situations, and having accepted them as part of your home ground, then some spark of sympathy or compassion could take place. You are not in a hurry to leave such a place immediately. You would like to face the facts, realities of that particular world …”
    — FROM A COMMENTARY ON THE SADHANA OF MAHAMUDRA, CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA, RINPOCHE

    Upstairs Jenny crashed her car & became a living corpse, Jake sold grass, the white bearded pot belly leprechaun silent climbed their staircase
    Ex-janitor John from Poland averted his eyes, cheeks flushed with vodka, wine who knew what
    as he left his groundfloor flat, refusing to speak to the inhabitant of Apt 24
    Who’d put his boyfriend in Bellevue, calling police, while the artistic Buddhist composer
    on sixth floor lay spaced out feet swollen with water, dying slowly of AIDS over a year—
    The Chinese teacher cleaned & cooked in Apt 23 for the homosexual poet who pined for his gymnast
    thighs & buttocks—Downstairs th’ old hippy flower girl fell drunk over the banister, smashed her jaw—
    her son despite moderate fame cheated of rocknroll money, twenty thousand people in stadiums
    cheering his tattooed skinhead murderous Hare Krishna vegetarian drum lyrics—
    Mary born in the building rested on her cane heavy legged with heart failure on the second landing, no more able
    to vacation in Caracas & Dublin—The Russian landlady’s husband from Concentration Camp disappeared again—nobody mentioned he’d died—
    tenants took over her building for hot water, she couldn’t add rent & pay taxes, wore a long coat hot days
    alone & thin on the street carrying groceries to her crooked apartment silent—
    One poet highschool teacher fell dead mysterious heart disrythmia, konked over in his mother’s Brooklyn apartment, his first baby girl a year old, wife stoical a few days—
    their growling noisy little dog had to go, the baby cried—
    Meanwhile the upstairs apartment meth head shot cocaine & yowled up and down
    East 12th Street, kicked out of Christine’s Eatery till police cornered him, top a hot iron steamhole
    near Stuyvesant Town Avenue A telephone booth calling his deaf mother—sirens speed the way to Bellevue—
    past whispering grass crack salesman jittering in circles on East 10th Street’s
    southwest corner where art yuppies come out of the overpriced Japanese Sushi Bar—& they poured salt into potato soup heart failure vats at KK’s Polish restaurant
    —Garbage piled up, nonbiodegradable plastic bags emptied by diabetic sidewalk homeless
    looking for returnable bottles recycled dolls radios half eaten hamburgers—thrown away Danish—
    On 13th Street the notary public sat in his dingy storefront, drivers lessons & tax returns prepared on old metal desks—
    Sunnysides crisped in butter, fries & sugary donuts passed over the luncheonette counter next door—
    The Hispanic lady yelled at the rude African-American behind the Post Office window
    “I waited all week my welfare check you sent me notice I was here yesterday
    I want to see the supervisor bitch dont insult me refusing to look in—”
    Closed eyes of Puerto Rican wino lips cracked skin red stretched out
    on the pavement, naptha backdoor open for the Korean family Dry Cleaners at the 14th Street corner
    Con Ed workmen drilled all year to bust electric pipes 6 feet deep in brown dirt
    so cars bottlenecked wait minutes to pass the M14 bus stopped mid-road, heavy dressed senior citizens step down in red rubble
    with Reduced Fare Program cards got from grey city Aging Department officers downtown up the second flight by elevators don’t work—
    News comes on the radio, they bombed Baghdad and the Garden of Eden again?
    A million starve in Sudan, mountains of eats stacked on docks, local gangs & U.N.’s trembling bureaucrat officers sweat near the equator arguing over
    Wheat piles shoved by bulldozers—Swedish doctors ran out of medicine—The Pakistan taxi driver
    says Salman Rushdie must die, insulting the prophet in fictions
    “No that wasn’t my opinion, just a character talking like in a poem no judgment”
    “Not till the sun rejects you do I,” so give you a quarter by the Catholic Church 14th St you stand half drunk
    waving a plastic glass, flush faced, live with your mother a wounded look on your lips, eyes squinting,
    receding lower jaw sometimes you dry out in Bellevue, most days cadging dollars for sweet wine
    by the corner where Plump Blindman shifts from foot to foot showing his white cane, rattling coins in a white paper cup some weeks
    where girding the subway entrance construction saw-horses painted orange
    guard steps underground—And across the street the NYCE bank machine cubicle door sign reads
    Not in Operation as taxis bump on potholes asphalt mounded at the crossroad when red lights change green
    & I’m on my way uptown to get a cat scan liver biopsy, visit the cardiologist,
    account for high blood pressure, kidneystones, diabetes, misty eyes & dysesthesia—
    feeling lack in feet soles, inside ankles, small of back, phallus head, anus—Old age sickness death again come round in the wink of an eye—
    High school youth the inside skin of my thighs was silken smooth tho nobody touched me there back then—
    Across town the velvet poet takes Darvon N, valium nightly, sleeps all day kicking methadone
    between brick walls sixth floor in a room cluttered with collages & gold dot paper scraps covered
    with words: “The whole point seems to be the idea of giving away the giver.”

    August 19, 1992

    Allen Ginsberg

  4. May 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Why did you post all that at all, Bob, unconscionable even without the glitch? Hey, man, do you hear me?

    ~

    Mahamudra indeed — hand gesture or big middle finger?

    By coincidence and the intervention of the gods and Maitreya, I knew Trungpa well. For a start, we were exactly the same age and almost shared the same birthday. I was a Trustee of the Johnstone House Trust in Eskdalemuir just as it morphed into Samye-Ling, and I was also the Chairman of the Cambridge University Buddhist Society when Trungpa became President. Indeed, Trungpa never ‘went to Oxford,’ just happened to live in the town as a refugee with almost no English, and his first plum job was in fact in Cambridge, an appointment which I facilitated while he lived in my house in the nearby village of Histon. He also lived in my huge stone house in Eskdalemuir called ‘Garwald’ — because, for one thing, Akong Rimpoche wouldn’t have him at Samye-Ling, and for another Trungpa needed certain things, badly, which were prohibited in a monastery.

    I didn’t even drink tea and coffee at the time, minor detail, and which all goes to show.

    Chôgyam Trungpa was the most gifted person I have ever met, the most articulate yet the least nuanced, most macho and least sensitive — in particular to women (he sort of reminds me of Tom).

    I tried to discuss all this with Allen Ginsberg on a number of occasions in NYC, but Allen always dismissed my questions as “not my problem, man.” And I respected Allen for that. The tie he was wearing, grace à Trungpa, of course, almost certainly proved Allen had either a lot or no self-interest.

    Trungpa made Allen Ginsberg — perhaps the best thing either of them ever did.

    Trungpa also made me, but I’m still trying to figure out what that is.

    ~

    Try that on for facing the facts, Tom, and do it.

    Christopher

    • thomasbrady said,

      May 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      CW,

      You haven’t the faintest clue as to my relationship with women.

      Aside from a few bland biographical observations, I see no “facing the facts” in your story.

      What does “Trungpa made Allen Ginsberg” and “Trungpa also made me” even mean? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      This is the guy who terrorized W.S. Merwin, right?

      It just so happens I have a friend in England who gives money to the Buddhists and right now my parents (Unitarians) are studying the religion very deeply and encouraging me to do so.

      Tom

      • wfkammann said,

        May 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm

        Tom says:

        It just so happens I have a friend in England who gives money to the Buddhists and right now my parents (Unitarians) are studying the religion very deeply and encouraging me to do so.

        Don’t give in, Tom. You see what can happen.

        Trungpa made Christopher by surviving him (although Christopher outlived him). Will you?

      • May 4, 2011 at 4:29 am

        “Chôgyam Trungpa was the most gifted person I have ever met, the most articulate yet the least nuanced, most macho and least sensitive — in particular to women (he sort of reminds me of Tom).”

        That’s what I said, so why did you conclude I was talking about your relationships with women? I said Trungpa reminded me of you, sort of, so you might look and see what I said about Trungpa that might have, sort of, reminded me of you.

        Because, of course, we’re all a mass of contradictions, and the bigger we are the more dramatic those contradictions are likely to be.

        If you have the insight and the courage you might even be interested in the comparison I, sort of, made. If you’re proud you could just be proud of being compared to such a giant, of course, but if you’re sensitive you could ask yourself, “In what sense did Christopher mean that? How does he see those contradictions in me?”

        Like I have to be sensitive when my great friend W.F.Kammann says in the following comment, “Trungpa made Christopher by surviving him (although Christopher outlived him).” I have to try to understand what that might mean, and I do but it’s not easy.

        Christopher

  5. Bill said,

    May 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    There are already plenty of Buddhists, Tom. You should check out Generative Anthropology. http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/gaintro.htm

    • Diane Roberts Powell said,

      May 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      This sounds mind boggling to me and I would like Laura to weigh in on this topic. Is this representative of some of the Continental Philosophy that she so disdains?

      • thomasbrady said,

        May 4, 2014 at 3:46 am

        This was an interesting chapter in the history of Scarriet, Diane. Christopher Woodman and I worked on Scarriet together when it was first founded by Alan Cordle of Foetry.com fame. Woodman grew agitated with my anti-Modernist philosophy; today I have no idea what’s become of him.

        • noochinator said,

          May 4, 2014 at 10:57 am

          Looks like he’s alive and well and living in Wyoming and Thailand:

          http://www.homprang.com/Website%20p.11%20Resident%20Poet%20p.1.htm

        • Diane Roberts Powell said,

          May 4, 2014 at 7:22 pm

          I find it unfortunate that you two had a falling out and wish him well. He seems like a nice and intelligent fellow.

          What I was specifically referencing, however, was the link that Bill provided to a site about Generative Anthropology. That was what was mind boggling to me. I assume it’s based on the work of Rene Girard, who seems to be more of a continental philosopher than an analytic one, although he doesn’t fit neatly into that category either.

      • thomasbrady said,

        May 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        “No more western Buddhists please”

        The mass is always greener on the other side. We reject our grandparents’ religion and pick our own.

        • Drew said,

          May 10, 2014 at 11:14 pm

          Thanks for reading. I enjoy Scarriet a lot.
          At times it’s a bit too cerebral/analytic for me –
          but I like the spirit and the vibe. It forces me to re-evaluate the revaluation of all values.

  6. Diane Roberts Powell said,

    May 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Drew, was that one of your poems on the link? I suppose Buddhism is a little passé by now. Although for the transcendentalists, as well as some of the French symbolists, it was exciting and new.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: