“Avoid the righteous”

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So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
John 8:7

Deplore cast stones? Sinner, avoid the righteous;
Likely they are spoiling for a fight. Just
Follow Jesus’ counsel: in a throng, us
Common folk are safer with the wrongeous.

 

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A Love Song of Alice B. Toklas

Alice_B_Toklas-1921

Mornings after, the company sleeping hard,
You were wakeful
With her arms about you
And she asleep, not to be roused
(because she did not care to be disturbed
by morning’s fitful fittings into place
till noon’s din roused her anyway
and she would dress and come down to the ordered house);
The floor cold till you found your slippers, padded down the stair
To find a brace of poets snoring on a single chair
A pair of painters sprawled upon the floor,
strange bearded men, one pic-a-devant, one goatee;
And standing at the parlor door you saw them heard them snore,
you smelled their wine and night-sweat smell,
And knowing all was well and would be well
You gathered up the moment to yourself

And let it go. No poet nor no painter you;
Yet that was something only you could do,
Let go and yet not lose,
And sniffing shuffle on on quiet feet
To go and shovel out the ashes from the stove
And put the whistling-kettle on for tea.

 

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A Letter to the Late Allen Ginsberg

Litersf1$allen-ginsberg_s-business-card ca 1966
Around this time, Ginsberg also had what he referred to as his “Blake vision,” an auditory hallucination of William Blake reading his poems “Ah Sunflower,” “The Sick Rose,” and “Little Girl Lost.”

So tell me this one thing,
Old poet, mad saint,
What will it take to make the world strike me with its great magic?

What will it take to hear
William Blake declaiming Sunflower
in Harlem tenement?
Litany of drugs, poetry, masturbation, family history of insanity, criminal friends, jazz bars cosmic gaze smoky poet’s beard?
Is it typewriter, telegram, radio wave death that killed the voice of William Blake?
I process words, spell check, send beat poems by email. But I can type! send telegram! I seek out old radio shows, flat voices, analog tape hiss, all! I stay up all night! I embrace limitations! I cry up camp!
I sleep with many men, urge each one to grow out his beard!
I contemplate marijuana, ayahuasca, beer, peyote!
But alas contemplate as well a family unremittingly sane, professors, doctors, scientists, lawyers, old criminal friends respectable now, work for Boeing, Disney, partners in law firms,
Anyway these days you have to be good or you’ll never afford to retire you’ll have to work till you drop and who wants that?
And it’s all too easy to be good we have jazz bars you can’t even smoke in, we have digital TV, smart drugs, drive by shootings but they’re not somebody’s fault just bad luck, now it’s okay to masturbate everybody masturbates now it’s not even fun anymore, we have internet porn, mandatory capitalism, avant garde paranoia, sophisticated bigots armed with DNA and Right Guard
But we wonder what it’s all for, we didn’t tune in, we can’t drop out, we can’t get out the vote. We want something or other but what?
Only I seem to know what I want & I want what you had Allen Ginsberg
I want William Blake
declaiming Sunflower in my room
not to give answers to cosmic questions
but to show me he still can.

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Death by Drowning

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(for Theodore Roethke)

We die of love, or anything at all.
I drew a million breaths, but could not sing.
My bones are of the earth, and heed its call;
I’ll dream a sun, and feed myself on ink.

Be still, be still: a color’s in my eyes.
What’s sleeping? Will I wake? Have I a soul?
This water’s cold. A stone does what it likes.
My breath is gone. The sea’s song fills me whole.

 

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