for David Bahr- in gratitude GC
http://mellonseminaremotions.wikispaces.com/file/detail/Bahr_From+Chap+2.pdf (from 'Unwounding the Bow: Aesthetic Autobiography and the Transmission of Pain', Chapter 2, Mellon seminar on emotions, 2011)
I first read a poem by Allen Ginsberg in Elmwood Pak, Ill., in '64. The high school bookstore had a compilation of essays on Walt Whitman (whom I emphatically loved)- one of them began citing 'A supermarket in California'- with Allen and Walt sadly shopping through the aisles in the universal light/darkness/solitude of American suburbs. And bought the City Lights 'Howl' at the NY World Fair! (being 17 by then)-
So much for the past. Among other things, Ginsberg led me to William Blake, whom I was to translate; and first taught me, in 'Kaddish', what a chronic psychosis might be like (and of what levels of human greatness a 'psychotic' could be capable). And of course I knew well that 'Howl' was dedicated to Carl Solomon, in Rockland State Psychiatric Hospital. But I really ignored, for example, that A.G. had been there himself for six months in 1948-49; or that, at 21 years of age, he had been the one to give legal assent to the prefrontal lobotomy of his mother (separated, or divorced, for years).
There are so many things in this essay by David Bahr; and insight, hard empathy, compassion. I can but praise (Tennyson-like) and be thankful, and hope the best for him wherever he is and whatever he is doing. GIACOMO CONSERVA
http://libgen.info/view.php?id=538885 [Allen Ginsberg, Collected Poems 1947-1997, Harper Collins 2006]
http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4389/the-art-of-poetry-no-8-allen-ginsberg [Tom Clark interview, 1966]
http://www.allenginsberg.org/ [Allen Ginsberg Project]
The words in the title are from Jack Kerouac:
Praised be wood, it is milk - Praised be Honey at the Source - Praised be the embrace of soft sleep - the valor of angels in valleys of hell on earth below - Praised be the Non ending - Praised be the lights of earth-man - Praised be the watchers - Praised be my fellow man For dwelling in milk”
– Jack Kerouac, mexico city blues 228th chorus
["Mexico City Blues", 1959]
in Ferlinghetti's "Starting from San Francisco", there is a great tender poem about Ginsberg thinking, having visions about, writing DEATH- (one can read it thru Google Books)
a.KADDISH FOR THE DEAD
May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen. May his great name be blessed, forever and ever. Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen. May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen. He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all Israel; and say Amen.
Yis'ga'dal v'yis'kadash sh'may ra'bbo, b'olmo dee'vro chir'usay v'yamlich malchu'say, b'chayaychon uv'yomay'chon uv'chayay d'chol bais Yisroel, ba'agolo u'viz'man koriv; v'imru Omein. Y'hay shmay rabbo m'vorach l'olam ul'olmay olmayo. Yisborach v'yishtabach v'yispoar v'yisromam v'yismasay, v'yishador v'yis'aleh v'yisalal, shmay d'kudsho, brich hu, l'aylo min kl birchoso v'sheeroso, tush'bechoso v'nechemoso, da,ameeran b'olmo; vimru Omein. Y'hay shlomo rabbo min sh'mayo, v'chayim alaynu v'al kol Yisroel; v'imru Omein. Oseh sholom bimromov, hu ya'aseh sholom olaynu, v'al kol yisroel; vimru Omein.
b.ALLEN GINSBERG, 'KADDISH' (1959-1961), SECTION II, END (The key in the sunlight in the window)
Returning from San Francisco one night, Orlovsky in my room—Whalen in his peaceful chair—a telegram from Gene, Naomi dead—
Outside I bent my head to the ground under the bushes near the garage—knew she was better—
at last—not left to look on Earth alone—2 years of solitude—no one, at age nearing 60—old woman of skulls—once long-tressed Naomi of Bible—
or Ruth who wept in America—Rebecca aged in Newark—David remembering his Harp, now lawyer at Yale
or Svul Avrum—Israel Abraham—myself—to sing in the wilderness toward God—O Elohim!—so to the end—2 days after her death I got her letter—
Strange Prophecies anew! She wrote—ʻThe key is in the window, the key is in the sunlight at the window—I have the key—Get married Allen donʼt take drugs—the key is in the bars, in the sunlight in the window.
which is Naomi—