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Death & Fame Analysis

Author: poem of Allen Ginsberg Type: poem Views: 6

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When I die

I don't care what happens to my body

throw ashes in the air, scatter 'em in East River

bury an urn in Elizabeth New Jersey, B'nai Israel Cemetery

But l want a big funeral

St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Mark's Church, the largest synagogue in


First, there's family, brother, nephews, spry aged Edith stepmother

        96, Aunt Honey from old Newark,

Doctor Joel, cousin Mindy, brother Gene one eyed one ear'd, sister-

        in-law blonde Connie, five nephews, stepbrothers & sisters

        their grandchildren,

companion Peter Orlovsky, caretakers Rosenthal & Hale, Bill Morgan--

Next, teacher Trungpa Vajracharya's ghost mind, Gelek Rinpoche,

        there Sakyong Mipham, Dalai Lama alert, chance visiting

        America, Satchitananda Swami

Shivananda, Dehorahava Baba, Karmapa XVI, Dudjom Rinpoche,

        Katagiri & Suzuki Roshi's phantoms

Baker, Whalen, Daido Loorie, Qwong, Frail White-haired Kapleau

        Roshis, Lama Tarchen --

Then, most important, lovers over half-century

Dozens, a hundred, more, older fellows bald & rich

young boys met naked recently in bed, crowds surprised to see each

        other, innumerable, intimate, exchanging memories

"He taught me to meditate, now I'm an old veteran of the thousand

        day retreat --"

"I played music on subway platforms, I'm straight but loved him he

        loved me"

"I felt more love from him at 19 than ever from anyone"

"We'd lie under covers gossip, read my poetry, hug & kiss belly to belly

        arms round each other"

"I'd always get into his bed with underwear on & by morning my

        skivvies would be on the floor"

"Japanese, always wanted take it up my bum with a master"

"We'd talk all night about Kerouac & Cassady sit Buddhalike then

        sleep in his captain's bed."

"He seemed to need so much affection, a shame not to make him happy"

"I was lonely never in bed nude with anyone before, he was so gentle my


shuddered when he traced his finger along my abdomen nipple to hips-- "

"All I did was lay back eyes closed, he'd bring me to come with mouth

        & fingers along my waist"

"He gave great head"

So there be gossip from loves of 1948, ghost of Neal Cassady commin-

        gling with flesh and youthful blood of 1997

and surprise -- "You too? But I thought you were straight!"

"I am but Ginsberg an exception, for some reason he pleased me."

"I forgot whether I was straight gay queer or funny, was myself, tender

        and affectionate to be kissed on the top of my head,

my forehead throat heart & solar plexus, mid-belly. on my prick,

        tickled with his tongue my behind"

"I loved the way he'd recite 'But at my back allways hear/ time's winged

        chariot hurrying near,' heads together, eye to eye, on a

        pillow --"

Among lovers one handsome youth straggling the rear

"I studied his poetry class, 17 year-old kid, ran some errands to his

        walk-up flat,

seduced me didn't want to, made me come, went home, never saw him

        again never wanted to... "

"He couldn't get it up but loved me," "A clean old man." "He made

        sure I came first"

This the crowd most surprised proud at ceremonial place of honor--

Then poets & musicians -- college boys' grunge bands -- age-old rock

        star Beatles, faithful guitar accompanists, gay classical con-

        ductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trum-

        peters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger

        fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin auto-

        harp pennywhistles & kazoos

Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India,

        Late fauve Tuscan painter-poets, Classic draftsman Massa-

        chusets surreal jackanapes with continental wives, poverty

        sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters from American


Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate biblio-

        philes, sex liberation troops nay armies, ladies of either sex

"I met him dozens of times he never remembered my name I loved

        him anyway, true artist"

"Nervous breakdown after menopause, his poetry humor saved me

        from suicide hospitals"

"Charmant, genius with modest manners, washed sink, dishes my

        studio guest a week in Budapest"

Thousands of readers, "Howl changed my life in Libertyville Illinois"

"I saw him read Montclair State Teachers College decided be a poet-- "

"He turned me on, I started with garage rock sang my songs in Kansas


"Kaddish made me weep for myself & father alive in Nevada City"

"Father Death comforted me when my sister died Boston l982"

"I read what he said in a newsmagazine, blew my mind, realized

        others like me out there"

Deaf & Dumb bards with hand signing quick brilliant gestures

Then Journalists, editors's secretaries, agents, portraitists & photo-

        graphy aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborors, cultural

        historians come to witness the historic funeral

Super-fans, poetasters, aging Beatnicks & Deadheads, autograph-

        hunters, distinguished paparazzi, intelligent gawkers

Everyone knew they were part of 'History" except the deceased

who never knew exactly what was happening even when I was alive

                                                February 22, 1997


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