Amsterdam Kaddish

for Allen Ginsberg

So, Allen, you finally Hale Bopped out of here,
sailed off into the timeless mind frame you’ve been writing & chanting
all your adult born days this lifetime around.
And you did it, I know, without benefit of comet.
But were you perchance aware (I wonder) that super cyber kink Tim Leary
had arranged for his ashes to get shot into orbit
like some kooky kind of Spanish space omelette?
Somehow I am now reminded of the time you turned to me & said,
downstairs in the Ins & Outs waiting room/gallery
before leaving my long since lost empire building:
“Eddie, you know as well as I do there’s no such thing as cause & effect.”
Then you kissed me on the lips and shook hands with my girlfriend.
And Peter Orlovsky, who for three hours sat on the office floor weaving
while you & I ranted our eruditions at each other
with So-So Benn Posset looking bemusedly on…
Peter padded barefoot out the door onto snow & ice, saying
“Goodbye, Woods!” in that stiff upper back, clean asshole & smiling vegetable
      voice of his.
That was a nice meeting, Allen, as were the ones before & after:
times we boozelessly shared nasi gorengs at Bojo’s;
the screenprint signing at the Canon Gallery, you already with a bad heart
and Benn & I wrangling over the rights to your signature,
much to your compassionate dismay, I am sure.
Or better yet, that grand reading at the Kosmos,
the one you never knew (not then, thank God) the whole truth about:
you, Peter, Steven Taylor and Mister Gregory ‘reincarnation of Catullus’ Corso,
his boozed up smacked out utterly disreputable self in lovable person.
And you told Gregory only days before either he straightened up PDQ or shipped
      the hell out,
‘cause no way you would go on stage with him, the lyrical Beat brat of a bard,
no damn way if he stayed in that condition.
Gregory straightened up, all right. Only on the very night it all went down,
he early on called out to me across the still empty hall that would soon fill
      to brimming,
called out with sweet pleading cold turkey poise:
“Eddie O Eddie O Eddie O ooooo!” And yes, Allen, I did indeed slip him the
      ball of opium
that perhaps pulled all of you through that magnificent performance—
you “Howl”-ing with strong maturity of serene grey years,
Gregory winking his way along mischievous lines of the Marriage poem,
Peter sternly sounding off his good fucks with Denise & such…
(Followed in time by Eddie, rhythmically dropping names in a footnote to
Sail on, dearest Allen, on through all glorious Bardos,
to beauty of total universe & endlessness of Light,
of smiling infinities and Bliss beyond dreaming.
It is for history to say if you were a “great” poet,
but I know for sure you were a truly sincere one,
gifted with grace of intellect to pierce into the heart core
of most meaningful mind mantras.
In short, a great soul all wise lovers will forever feel connected to.


Hale-Bopp, or the Great Comet of 1997, passed perihelion (closest point to the Earth’s sun) on April 1st of that year. Allen Ginsberg died four days later.

First published in Chanticleer Magazine #16 (Edinburgh, Scotland) in April 2007.

Allen Ginsberg silkscreen print by Kirke Wilson (from a 'bandaged poet' photo by Ira Cohen). Published in 1992 by Ins & Outs Press (Amsterdam) and Turret Books (London).