Remembrance of Allen Ginsberg
        April 12, 1997

When you first appeared to me
at Brooklyn College 1960
w/ Corso & Whalen and Snyder
reinventing oral poetry,
we were reading Eliot and Pound -
ashes on the page - ideas dying on the page.

You opened up the line,
opened the poem to the world.
It is a struggle with a phantom
then and now for the young
to discern their lives spread out
before them as anything but
"a body etherized upon a table,"
except as the dreary suppression of desire.

Suddenly when you read
there at Brooklyn College,
life became molten,
spirit and matter merged,
feeling flooded
the dry wound of mind,
the soul and the body healed
no longer severed
by centuries of dogma.

A future opened and with bare feet,
naked body and open mind,
I could walk the American earth.

In the Haight Ashbury
when I edited the Oracle,
and helped originate the Human Be-In
you came forth chanting with harmonium
"Om Namo Shivaya"
and danced wildly like Shiva
creating and destroying universes.
You wrote in the Oracle that
America's political need
was orgies in the parks and
naked bacchantes in the forests.
In the Houseboat Summit interview
you asked Leary, "What do you
really mean by drop out?"
Years later we met at
an Italian Restaurant
in North Beach
and you kissed me
and spoke about
the Aboriginal shaman
in Australia who had memorized
Britannicas of information
in verse that their culture
needed to survive
and passed it on orally.

Two years ago I sat with you
at a City Lights signing
while Ann drew you,
and I told you how you
had brought me from
academia at Brooklyn College
to the heart of life.
And now you were teaching there.
You spoke of the spontaneous mind -
first thought, best thought.

When I read of your hepatitis and liver cancer,
I wrote you that I loved you
and that you showed me and the world
that the poem and life must encompass it all,
and that I too had been seized by the dragon
and asked you to not to cease the struggle.
I wanted you so much to live.
But the next morning you were murdered
by your past, by the fire in the liver.

I bear witness before the immortal mirror
how time is checking us out.
Ravaged from the explorations
of the undiscovered mind,
Savaged bodies bent by the raging river.
Bob Kaufman's jazz images flowing
beaten, shocked and traumatized
and time is checking us out.
Tim Leary wanderer through the inner cosmos
kedomized unable to feel the pain
in his body until it was too late,
and time is checking us out.
Ram Dass with his peaceful smile
and high blood pressure
has a stroke and is paralyzed,
and time is checking us out.
Allen Ginsberg, the voice of the bard,
body wounded, the song stilled,
and time is checking us out.

Time must replace its heroes of deep soul,
its explorers, the voices that make us whole.
Somehow the light must pass through time
incandescent, meteoric and passionate
the fire must burn through time.