Allen Ginsberg

Death & Fame

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 I want a big funeral St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Mark's Church, the largest synagogue in Manhattan. 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-eared, 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 stomach 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 always 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 conductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trumpeters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin autoharp pennywhistles & kazoos. Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India, Late fauve Tuscan painter-poets, Classic draftsman Massachusets surreal jackanapes with continental wives, poverty sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters from American provinces. Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate bibliophiles, 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 City' '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 & photography aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborers, cultural historians come to witness the historic funeral Super-fans, poetasters, aging Beatniks & 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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