Friday, April 15, 2011

A High Wire Of Our Own Making

Once when I was visiting Allen (Ginsberg) in his apartment he asked me if I would like some coffee. Having said "yes," he presented me with a metal bowl with coffee in it. The bowl seemed strange (like a dog dish) and I nursed the coffee to cool it down. Soon he started asking "are you finished with that, man?" I would say "no, not yet" and after awhile I started to feel uncomfortable because the bowl seemed important to him. When I finally said "yes," he grabbed the bowl away — threw the remaining coffee in the sink and sat down with the bowl for his breakfast cereal. I was using his only bowl.
~ Larry Keenan

Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters
By Allen Ginsberg

Pigeons shake their wings on the copper church roof
out my window across the street, a bird perched on the cross
surveys the city's blue-grey clouds. Larry Rivers
'll come at 10 AM and take my picture. I'm taking
your picture, pigeons. I'm writing you down, Dawn.
I'm immortalizing your exhaust, Avenue A bus.
O Thought, now you'll have to think the same thing forever!


Allen Ginsberg


Looking over my shoulder
my behind was covered
with cherry blossoms.


My old desk:
the first thing I looked for
in my house.

My early journal:
the first thing I found
in my old desk.

My mother's ghost:
the first thing I found
in the living room.


Please visit the Poetry Foundation to read Constantly risking absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

it begins:

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making

Diane has the Poetry Friday round-up at Random Noodling.


jama said...

Love that Ginsberg anecdote. I was afraid as I was reading it that after Larry finished his coffee, Allen was going to feed his dog or cat out of it.

Years ago, I posted about the last pot of soup Ginsberg made -- it may still be "frozen" in some museum somewhere.

david elzey said...

that would have to have been a young ginsberg, because the older zen master ginsberg would have been more patient. or not.

love the haiku triptych as well.

"are you finished with that, man?"
i'm going to have to use that line in something, dig?

great sharing all around.

Author Amok said...

Hi, friend. I love the Beats. There's a (fairly) new graphic novel/bio of them. It's just called, "The Beats."

Wasn't Ginsberg a wonder? My favorite Ferlinghetti poem is "Underwear." :-)