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The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2021

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MARCH 2021 Issue
Poetry A Tribute to Lewis Warsh

LET GO /

for Lewis


I said we started it


we founded it then


Angel Hair


that very night.
The Robert Duncan reading in Berkeley
1965


The conference
Night we met


Robert Duncan commanded we make a magazine


You always said no, later, it was …. it was the car ride


In a car we founded it


How do you exactly found something in a car?


It showed the temper of our various minds


Talking in a car is a magazine I suppose


I wanted it to be falling in


Love was also this idea


That night we were falling in love and we would


Be really good together making something good


You never just fall in love with a person


And make love with them


That we make something that’s the whole point


That we are inside poetry and that Robert Duncan
Commanded this


I know he did


And he is a magus


Poetry was love for us


Poetry is mysterious


How could he not have cast a spell?


You were conversant in the most exciting poetry


And the gossip about Jack Spicer hating the Beats


He wouldn’t be part of the conference & then he died


Too young to think of a house,


What think when they are falling in love


There is no future


We are right now


What I liked was being in this crowd of poetry


Want to make together another reality now


(There would be babies with others


That’s making time enough, or no time for that)


A magazine is a paper window, also a car window


Keep opening the papery curtains or


Let the air in


And maybe you need a windshield wiper


And music and someone else driving


To make a magazine


A bedroom of strange bedfellows (Williams)


We were the next night somewhere on Nob Hill


A fancy part of town


You were kind and very beautiful, slender gentle body


I’d never been there but you had a story with the people in the apartment


Beautiful young men


I was a new tangle


I remember standing in front of a mirror


On lysergic acid going though all my lifetimes and especially this one


I had a vision of all the persons I knew and


How we had passed through some ancient anxieties but it was important


That we were all still together changing, how we looked, morphing


Something radically changing us, fast from infant


But we were all feeling urgent about knowing something


Together and doing something


What was it?


Why were we all looking up?


My vision was look up, all of it, the people I Ioved


My Frances


And you there too, my new friend


I needed an assignment for them because of Iove


I thought what an egomaniac


If I could just get one assignment from “up there”


From the quiet stars


I could take it on to help


Everyone take on each other for everything


They also wanted to make something together in the vision


That was what I was supposed to make, maybe it would work for everyone


What to do, thinking


And watched my face age and turn to dust. Poof!


That was the point that I disappear


It was a wandering day, did I carry / have that idea about


A magazine from the day before?


I can’t remember but I wanted to be around words


But I remembered struggling to get over the bridge to


Allen Ginsberg reading, the conference, it felt important


And we were stopping and sitting down and


Lost in the lines on our hands, and streetlamp light


And undulation….


Lines of undulation…galaxies


I felt very light and drawn to this fluid person next to me


We were poets we were going to be poets together


And make something syllables coming in the air


The street


That was a feminine plan


A path through parks and other places a wandering line, a femme plan


Manicured parts but action in a garden


And plants and trees, very luscious, soft, and when


They were not they


Were reminders of plant intensity


Vibrating, striking


Out


Pushing you away, then embrace


Very animate plants


We, then erotic


If you sat with them you were with them, thinking with them


I didn’t know this city San Francisco at all but


It was many rays of light coming through a night


And sitting by water


Where could that have been


Like velvet


Sometimes a building looking up


Walking up hills, my insides are ribbons of light


Scent of jasmine I am thinking


And we couldn’t get over the bridge


And later I thought this was like karma,


This was action, this was where you learn about action


Whether or not you get across a bridge to hear


Allen Ginsberg for the first time is action or not


And when you don’t because you think it is important


And you think you missed it


Then it’s karma, it will come back to haunt you


Where you meant to fall in love, or a poetry reading


Fall in love


What we could do and did, what we didn’t couldn’t do


How far we could go years


Never let go

Contributor

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman is the author most recently of Trickster Feminism (Penguin), Sanctuary (Spuyten Duyvil) , co-translator of The Songs of the Sons & Daughter Of Buddha (Shambhala) and the album SCIAMACHY (Levy Gorvy).

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The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2021

All Issues