Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Elegy for Neal Cassady (a poem by Allen Ginsberg)

Elegy for Neal Cassady

by Allen Ginsberg (Feburary 10, 1968, 5 - 5:30 AM)

OK Neal
aethereal Spirit
bright as moving air
blue as city dawn
happy as light released by the Day
over the city's new buildings --

Maya's Giant bricks rise rebuilt
in Lower East Side
windows shine in milky smog.
Appearance unnecessary now.

Peter sleeps alone in next room, sad.
Are you reincarnate? Can ya hear me talkin?
If anyone had strength to hear the invisible,
And drive thru Maya Wall
you had it --
What're you now, Spirit?
That were spirit in body --

The body's cremate
by Railroad track
San Miguel Allende Desert,
outside town,
Spirit become spirit,
or robot reduced to Ashes.

Tender Spirit, thank you for touching me with tender hands
When you were young, in a beautiful body,
Such a pure touch it was Hope beyond Maya-meat,
What you are now,
Impersonal, tender --
you showed me your muscle/warmth/over twenty years ago
when I lay trembling at your breast
put your arm around my neck,
-- we stood together in a bare room on 103d St.
Listening to a wooden Radio,
with our eyes closed
Eternal redness of Shabda
lamped in our brains
at Illinois Jacquet's Saxophone Shuddering,
prophetic Honk of Louis Jordan,
Honeydrippers, Open The Door Richard
To Christ's Apocalypse --
The buildings're insubstantial --
That's my New York Vision
outside eastern apartment offices
where telephone rang last night
and stranger's friendly Denver Voice
asked me, had I heard the news from the West?

Some gathering Bust, Eugene Oregon or Hollywood Impends
I had premonition.
"No" I said --"been away all week,"
"you havent heard the news from the West,
Neal Cassady is dead --"
Peter's dove-voic'd Oh! on the other line, listening.

Your picture stares cheerful, tearful, strain'd,
a candle burns,
green stick incense by household gods.
Military Tyranny overtakes Universities, your Prophecy
approaching its kindest sense brings us
to the Great Year's awakening.
Kesey's in Oregon writing novel language
family farm alone.
Hadja no more to do? Was your work all done?
Had ya seen your first son?
Why'dja leave us all here?
Has the battle been won?

I'm a phantom skeleton with teeth, skull
resting on a pillow
calling your spirit
god echo consciousness, murmuring
sadly to myself.

Lament in dawnlight's not needed,
the world is released,
desire fulfilled, your history over,
story told, Karma resolved,
prayers completed
vision manifest, new consciousness fulfilled,
spirit returned in a circle,
world left standing empty, buses roaring through streets --
garbage scattered on pavements galore --
Grandeur solidified, phantom-familiar fate
returned to Auto-dawn,
your destiny fallen on RR track
My body breathes easy,
I lie alone
After friendship fades from flesh forms --
heavy happiness hangs in heart,
I could talk to you forever,
The pleasure inexhaustible,
discourse of spirit to spirit,
O Spirit.

Sir spirit, forgive me my sins,
Sir spirit give me your blessing again,
Sir Spirit forgive my phantom body's demands,
Sir Spirit thanks for your kindness past,
Sir Spirit in Heaven, What difference was yr mortal form,
What further this great show of Space?
Speedy passions generations of
Question? agonic Texas Nightrides?
psychadelic bus hejira-jazz,
Green auto poetries, inspired roads?
Sad, Jack in Lowell saw the phantom most --
lonelier than all, except your noble Self.
Sir Spirit, an' I drift alone:
Oh deep sigh. 

Ginsberg reading the poem in San Francisco two months before we met:

No comments:

Post a Comment