Transcription of Organ Music

The flower in the glass peanut bottle formerly in the
kitchen crooked to take a place in the light,
the closet door opened, because I used it before, it
kindly stayed open waiting for me, its owner.
I began to feel my misery in pallet on floor, listening
to music, my misery, that's why I want to sing.
The room closed down on me, I expected the presence
of the Creator, I saw my gray painted walls and
ceiling, they contained my room, they contained
as the sky contained my garden,
I opened my door
The rambler vine climbed up the cottage post,
the leaves in the night still where the day had placed
them, the animal heads of the flowers where they had
to think at the sun
Can I bring back the words? Will thought of
transcription haze my mental open eye?
The kindly search for growth, the gracious de-
sire to exist of the flowers, my near ecstasy at existing
among them
The privilege to witness my existence--you too
must seek the sun . . .
My books piled up before me for my use
waiting in space where I placed them, they
haven't disappeared, time's left its remnants and qual-
ities for me to use--my words piled up, my texts, my
manuscripts, my loves.
I had a moment of clarity, saw the feeling in
the heart of things, walked out to the garden crying.
Saw the red blossoms in the night light, sun's
gone, they had all grown, in a moment, and were wait-
ing stopped in time for the day sun to come and give
them. . . .
Flowers which as in a dream at sunset I watered
faithfully not knowing how much I loved them.
I am so lonely in my glory--except they too out
there--I looked up--those red bush blossoms beckon-
ing and peering in the window waiting in blind love,
their leaves too have hope and are upturned top flat
to the sky to receive--all creation open to receive--the
flat earth itself.
The music descends, as does the tall bending
stalk of the heavy blossom, because it has to, to stay
alive, to continue to the last drop of joy.
The world knows the love that's in its breast as
in the flower, the suffering lonely world.
The Father is merciful.
The light socket is crudely attached to the ceil-
ing, after the house was built, to receive a plug which
sticks in it alright, and serves my phonograph now . . .
The closet door is open for me, where I left it,
since I left it open, it has graciously stayed open.
The kitchen has no door, the hole there will
admit me should I wish to enter the kitchen.
I remember when I first got laid, H.P. gra-
ciously took my cherry, I sat on the docks of Prov-
incetown, age 23, joyful, elevated in hope with the
Father, the door to the womb was open to admit me
if I wished to enter.
There are unused electricity plugs all over my
house if I ever need them.
The kitchen window is open, to admit air...
The telephone--sad to relate--sits on the
floor--I haven't the money to get it connected--
I want people to bow as they see me and say
he is gifted with poetry, he has seen the presence of
the Creator.
And the Creator gave me a shot of his presence
to gratify my wish, so as not to cheat me of my yearning
for him.

Berkeley, September 8, 1955

Sunflower Sutra

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and
sat down under the huge shade of a Southern
Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the
box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron
pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts
of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, sur-
rounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun
sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that
stream, no hermit in those mounts, just our-
selves rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums
on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray
shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting
dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust--
--I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower,
memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem
and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes
Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black
treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the
poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel
knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck
and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the
and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset,
crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog
and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye--
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like
a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face,
soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sun-
rays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried
wire spiderweb,
leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures
from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster
fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O
my soul, I loved you then!
The grime was no man's grime but death and human
all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad
skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black
mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuber-
ance of artificial worse-than-dirt--industrial--
modern--all that civilization spotting your
crazy golden crown--
and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless
eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the
home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar
bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards
of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely
tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what
more could I name, the smoked ashes of some
cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the
milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs
& sphincters of dynamos--all these
entangled in your mummied roots--and you there
standing before me in the sunset, all your glory
in your form!
A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent
lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye
to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited
grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden
monthly breeze!
How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your
grime, while you cursed the heavens of the rail-
road and your flower soul?
Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a
flower? when did you look at your skin and
decide you were an impotent dirty old locomo-
tive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and
shade of a once powerful mad American locomo-
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a
And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me
So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck
it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack's soul
too, and anyone who'll listen,
--We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread
bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all
beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we're bles-
sed by our own seed & golden hairy naked ac-
complishment-bodies growing into mad black
formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive
riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sit-
down vision.

Berkeley, 1955

Who Runs America?

Oil brown smog over Denver
Oil red dung colored smoke
level to level across the horizon

Plane lands rumbling, planes rise over
Oil millions of cars speeding the cracked plains
Oil from Texas, Bahrein, Venezuela Mexico
Oil that turns General Motors
Oil that flows thru Exxon New Jersey hoses,
rings in Mobil gas tank cranks, rumbles
shoots thru Texaco pipelines

Dec 3, 1974

Selection from Kaddish

- for Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956


Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
the sunny pavement of Greenwhich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, talking,
talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues
should blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm - and your memory in my head three years after -
And read Adonais' last triumphant stanzas aloud - wept, realizing
how we suffer -
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember
prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of Answers
- and my own imagination of a withered leaf - at dawn -
Dreaming back thru life, Your time - and mine accelerating toward
the final moment - the flower burning in the Day - and what comes after,
looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
a flash away, and a great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom
Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed -
like a poem in the dark - escaped back to Oblivion -
No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream,
trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screaming with it, buying and selling pieces of phantom,
worshipping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all - longing or inevitability? - while it
lasts, a Vision - anything more?
It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder,
Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings
shouldering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant -
and the sky above - an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south - as I walk toward the Lower East Side
- where you walked 50 years ago, little girl - from Russian, eating the
first poisonous tomatoes of America - frightened at the dock -
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what? - toward
Newark -
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of our century, hand-churned ice
cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards -
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school,
and learning to be mad, in a dream - what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window - and the great Key lays its head of light
on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the
sidewalk - in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward
the Yiddish Theater - and the place of poverty
you knew, and I know, but without caring now - Strange to have moved
thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstoops doors and dark boys on
the street, fire escapes old as you
- Tho, you're not old now, that's left here with me -
Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe - and I guess that dies with
us - enough to cancel all that comes - What came is gone forever
every time -
That's good! That leaves it open for no regret - no fear radiators, lacklove,
torture even toothache in the end -
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul - and the lamb, the soul,
in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change's fierce hunger - hair
and teeth - and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, rot-skin,
braintricked Implacability.
Ai! ai! we do worse! We are in a fix! And you're out, Death let you out,
Death had the Mercy, you're done with your century, done with
God, done with the path thru it - Done with yourself at last - Pure
- Back to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all - befpre the
world -
There, rest. No more suffering for you. I know where you've gone, it's good.
No more flowers in the summer fields of New York, no joy now, no more
fear of Louis,
and no more of his sweetness and glasses, his high school decades, debts,
loves, frightened telephone calls, conception beds, relatives, hands -
No more of sister Elanor, - she gone before you - we kept it secret - you
killed her - or she killed herself to bear with you - an arthritic heart
- But Death's killed you both - No matter -
Nor your memory of your mother, 1915 tears in silent movies weeks and
weeks - forgetting, agrieve watching Marie Dressler address humanity,
Chaplin dance in youth,
or Boris Godunov, Chaliapin's at the Met, halling his voice is a weeping Czar
- by standing room with Elanor & Max - watching also teh Capitalists
take seats in Orchestra, white furs, diamonds,
with the YPSL's hitch-hiking thru Pennsylvania, in black baggy gym skirts
pants, photograph of 4 girls holding each other round the waste, and
laughing eye, too coy, virginal solitude of 1920
all girls grown old, or dead, now, and that long hair in the grave - lucky to
have husbands later -
You made it - I came too - Eugene my brother before (still grieving now and
will gream on to his last stiff hand, as he goes thru his cancer - or kill
- later perhaps - soon he will think - )
And it's the last moment I remember, which I see them all, thru myself, now
- tho not you
I didn't foresee what you felt - what more hideous gape of bad mouth came
first - to you - and were you prepared?
To go where? In that Dark - that - in that God? a radiance? A Lord in the
Void? Like an eye in the black cloud in a dream? Adonoi at last, with
Beyond my remembrance! Incapable to guess! Not merely the yellow skull
in the grave, or box of worm dust, and a stained ribbon - Deaths-
head with Halo? can you believe it?
Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of existence,
than none ever was?
Nothing beyond what we have - what you had - that so pitiful - yet Triumph,
to have been here, and changed, like a tree, broken, or flower - fed to the
ground - but mad, with its petals, colored, thinking Great Universe,
shaken, cut in the head, leaf stript, hid in an egg crate hospital, cloth
wrapped, sore - freaked in the moon brain, Naughtless.
No flower like that flowerm which knew itself in the garden, and fought the
knife - lost
Cut down by an idiot Snowman's icy - even in the Spring - strange ghost
thought - some Death - Sharp icicle in his hand - crowned with old
roses - a dog for his eyes - cock of a sweatshop - heart of electric
All the accumulations of life, that wear us out - clocks, bodies, consciousness,
shoes, breasts - begotten sons - your Communism - 'Paranoia' into
You once kicked Elanor in the leg, she died of heart failure later. You of
stroke. Asleep? within a year, the two of you, sisters in death. Is
Elanor happy?
Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache over
midnight Accountings, not sure. His life passes - as he sees - and
what does he doubt now? Still dream of making money, or that might
have made money, hired nurse, had children, found even your Immortality,
I'll see him soon. Now I've got to cut through - to talk to you - as I didn't
when you had a mouth.
Forever. And we're bound for that, Forever - like Emily Dickinson's horses
- headed to the End.
They know the way - These Steeds - run faster than we think - it's our own
life they cross - and take with them.

Magnificent, mourned no more, marred of heart, mind behind,
married dreamed, mortal changed - Ass and face done with murder.
In the world, given, flower maddened, made no Utopia, shut under
pine, almed in Earth, balmed in Lone, Jehovah, accept.
Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless,
Father in death. Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, I'm
Hymnless, I'm Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still adore
Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not
light or darkness, Dayless Eternity -
Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, some
of my Time, now given to Nothing - to praise Thee - But Death
This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the Wonderer,
House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping
- page beyond Psalm - Last change of mine and Naomi - to God's perfect
Darkness - Death, stay thy phantoms!

Paris, December 1957 - New York, 1959

The Terms in Which I Think of Reality

Reality is a question
of realizing how real
the world is already.
Time is Eternity,
ultimate and immovable;
everyone's an angel.
It's Heaven's mystery
of changing perfection :
absolute Eternity
changes! Cars are always
going down the street,
lamps go off and on.
It's a great flat plain;
we can see everything
on top of a table.
Clams open on the table,
lambs are eaten by worms
on the plain. The motion
of change is beautiful,
as well as form called
in and out of being.
Next : to distinguish process
in its particularity with
an eye to the initiation
of gratifying new changes
desired in the real world.
Here we're overwhelmed
with such unpleasant detail
we dream again of Heaven.
For the world is a mountain
of shit : if it's going to
be moved at all, it's got
to be taken by handfuls.
Man lives like the unhappy
whore on River Street who
in her Eternity gets only
a couple of bucks and a lot
of snide remarks in return
for seeking physical love
the best way she knows how,
never really heard of a glad
job or joyous marriage or
a difference in the heart :
or thinks it isn't for her,
which is her worst misery.

Paterson, Spring 1950