“Look at these streets! Those rotten foul-headfreaks.
“Death to them…” This was what he imagined himself saying
After an Armageddon caused by the State’s geeks. from salon.
“I, in humility, say ‘It is the duty of the humor
“Of any given nation in times of high crisis to attack
“The ca-tastrophe that faces it in such a manner
“That they do not die before they get killed.”
“So I figure I’m going down to the banktomorrow
“With a couple of trucks and take out a few bales
of fifties – “Maybe a billion dollars – and I’m going to start
“A gigantic program over the television, over the radio
“In the newspapers, in the funny papers, call the people
“Who have anything to do with humour and I’m going
“To start a big, elongated eight month campaign
“Against the mother gasser of all time: THE BOMB.
“A great spear of humor against the bomb –
“Rippity-tib-zib-tib and a ring ding ding against the Bomb.
“All kinds, all ways, all slides, all sides against the Bomb.
“A great big, elongated program through the air,
“By the billboards, by little ones, by big ones
“Till eventually you mention H-Bomb to someone
“You say H-Bomb and they say Ha! and Ha! And Ha!
“And you’ll see that you’re laughed out of court.
In Buckley’s routine ‘The Flight of the Saucer’ he becomes
The Flying Saucer Commander Abba Dabba Foo,
Pleading with planet Earth to consider the consequences
Of opening a Pandora’s Box of nuclear goo.
Lord Buckley’s stage costume of a tan pith helmet,
Curly ended slippers hung with silver bells,
Black swallowtail coat and waxed moustache like Dali
Turned him into a Pied Piper leading America out of hell.
He railed against the spread of supermarkets saying,
“I wish I had the nerve to be a great thief.”
“We have gotta knock out the greed heads!”
To him consumer slavery beggared belief.
The needle-sharp points of his white moustache
Were like antennae seeking out the outrageous.
“There ain’t NO problem that LOVE can’t solve.” was his motto
And his emanations of wellbeing were contagious.
He believed that life was subject to divine intervention,
Proved by the flare of the senses in a kiss,
And his advice to every citizen of the world,
From two to toothless, was “Follow your bliss.”
“Once you catch the theme of the beam of the invisible edge
“Then, beloveds, you hit total simplicity,
“And all of the feral truths that carry on way beyond
“The parallel of your practiced credulity!”
After a night under the stars exploring inner space,
Aboard what he called ‘The Good Ship Lovely Soul Detonator’,
Buckley concluded that, “the sky showed a shifting, revealing infinity”
And that “one message came to me with great positivity:
“That there’s only one way to live. That is, live in a house of love.
“That’s right, the universe is a house of love
“You can’t walk out of a love house with a sword or a gun
“There’s none in there to come out with.
“You have to come with a flower.
“If attacked, defend yourself with a rose.
“There’s no other way to live –
“The stars beamed it into me – except by love.
“The star-flashed message stayed with me
And buoyed up my soul
“As I came down from the sky.”
He’d re-enter the world after a toke on God’s stash
Eager for the world to share in his high.
But Buckley’s great love wasn’t limited to human beings
As is evidenced by his party piece, God’s Own Drunk:
In which the man described as “a Fred Astaire of the tongue dance”
Speaks instead in mind-blowing grunts.
“I’d like to do a little creative wig bubble for you
“Called ‘God’s Own Drunk.”
“When asked to guard my brother-in-law’s illegal still
“My claim to be a non-drinker got sunk:
“That big old yellow moon was a hanging out there
“And God’s lanterns were hanging in the sky.
“My curiosity got the better of me and that yellow whiskey –
“That moonshine – went down like honeydew, and made me fly!
“I felt a revolution going through my body
“Like there was great neon signs a-goin’ up
“An’ sayin’ There’s a Great Life a Comin’ –
“Suddenly I’d fallen in love with everything
“In God’s sweet world that moved, lived, didn’tlive,
Animate, inanimate, black, blue, green, pink, and slam dunk!
Mountains, fountains, and golden double-good sunshine,
“I was in love with life, ‘cause I was DRUNK!!
“I wasn’t fallin’ down, slippin’ slidin’ drunk.
“I was GOD’S OWN DRUNK! A fearless man.”
And as a result Lord Buckley bonds with a bear
In an ecstatic, trans-species communication.
“I walked right on up to that bear, because
“I was God’s Own Drunk and I loved everything
“In this world. And he’s a sniffin’. He’s tryin’ to
“Smell some fear. But he can’t do because I’m
“God’s Own Drunk and I’m a fearless man.
“He expects me to do two things: flip or flee.
“I don’t do either. Hangs him up. I told him,
“I said, ‘I’m God’s Own Drunk and I love every hair
“’On your twenty-seven acre body.
“’I’m a fearless man!’ I reached up
“And took the bear by the hand.
“I said Mr. Bear, we’re both beasts when it
comes right down to it.”
“Took him right by his big, old, shaggy man island sized paw
“And said “You’re going to be my buddy, Buddy Bear.
“And pretty soon he started to sniff and snort.
“Tapped his foot. And he got up and started to do the Bear Dance.
“Two sniffs, three snorts, a half-turn and one grunt.
“We was dancin’ and a yellin’ and finally, my love –
“It upped and got so strong that I laid back on that sweet green hill
“With that big, old buddy Bear’s paw right in
mine and I went to sleep.”
In Buckley’s pantheistic world, “Everything isalive.
“Everything has an embodied soul. Everything is of worth.
“Everything is beautiful. Everything is God.
“Everything is you – and you’re the king of the earth.”
“The problem of humanity, of progress, is to be beautiful;
“To be more gracious, more sweet, more divine.
“And when you balance yourself, the truth is that the world’s a family –
“Then love will hit you. Love is swinging. Love is fine.”
Before Buckley finally stepped off the stage
He uttered a last benediction:
“It has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily
“Strolled in the garden of your affection.”
For his re-routing American culture (and not paying police bribes)
Buckley had his cabaret licence withdrawn
Which meant that, thanks to the NYPD, he couldn’t work
And thus his end was undeservedly forlorn.
His sad fate led to a public campaign against the police
For their depriving him of his cabaret card:
They were seen as having destroyed a clown prince
And were roundly condemned as fucktards.
To Buckley the dives he worked in were, “atomic age cathedrals”
Built on the “seashores of Bohemia”
Where all malice was transcended with moral miracles in jive slang
And his advice to fans, “You have courage, great warrior!”
Joseph Jablonski, who took a trip with Buckley,
Described “the spirit of the sixties as preexisting
“In Lord Buckley’s aggressive, optimistic humour,
“Optimism being a colourless way of describing
“The brilliant dialectical gold rays the one and only
“Lord of Swing could direct to the blind apostles
“Of nineteen fifties-style miserabilism.”
Beside Lord Buckley, America was a fossil.
Was he mysteriously be-twinkled by timetraveling goblins
From the utopian sixties?
The tutelary spirit of idealistic and free-loving
Hippy, peacenik pixies?
Both Allen Ginsberg and Quincy Jones loved Buckley
For the purity of his attitude,
And for establishing the idiom for both rap and the Beats –
At their best, both quests for beatitude.
His daughter spoke of his saintliness,
And of his “insights into lives and souls.
“He had kindness and compassion and never put people down.
“I might look at someone and say ‘what an asshole’
“But my father would always soften my prejudice by saying,
“ ‘Well, he’s just not himself today’!
“Sure, he could identify the negative in people,
“Though to use it against them? – no way.”
“Did I say all?” asks Buckley in ‘Desolation Angels’
Just before dying, according to Kerouac
Who’s bewailing, “This modern America of crew-cuts
“And sullen faces in Pontiacs.”2
“No matter what people tell you,” said Robin Williams,
“Words and ideas can change the world. It’s true.
“There was an old crazy dude who used to live a long time ago.
“His name was Buckley. My Lord, my love goes with you.”
The deck may have been stacked against Buckley
In his card game with the cops
Yet his legacy’s avoided capture, and without his hip
There’d never have been any hip-hop.
He showed the mind could be expanded by
Words that give you a buzz and a blast
And prompt what he describes as “wig bubbles”,
Buckley’s hip phrase for thoughts.
Lord Buckley’s obituarist wrote that “The Lord of Flip Manor,
“Prophet of the Hip and Royal Holiness of the Far Out, has gone
“To his reward. It probably won’t be as swinging as his life,
“But Valhalla will have a hard time keeping him down.”
“It is difficult”, the writer adds, “for anyone who knew Buckley
“To think of him as dead and gone.
“It is more like he has been on an extended engagement in Reno
“And he can’t get back to town.”
When interviewed by Studs Terkel in Chicago
Shortly before Lord Buckley died,
Terkel was concerned that the audience
Who’d tuned in were fully prepared:
“Just remember,” Terkel said, “what he has to say makes sense
“In it’s own strange and unique way.”
“Take it easy but take it! That’s my sign off.”
Were Buckley’s last words after having his say. Lord Buckley
Lord Buckley is still audible through the aether
Where this mercurial comic’s vitalizing words
Are forever impregnated with his fairy-tale humor –
Mightier than both the pen, and the sword.
~ ~ ~
With grateful acknowledgments to Oliver Trager; David Amram; Jim Burns, ‘Beat Scene’; Albert Goldman; Wavy Gravy; Timothy White; Paul Krassner; Joseph Jablonski; City Lights Books; Jack Foley; Malcolm Ritchie; Ian A. Anderson; Chris Radant; Douglas Cruickshank, and to P. St. G. who first introduced me to this non pareil.
New York City always has remarkable places to ‘discover’. ‘The Secret Loft’ is one of those special places. Performances of poetry, music, circus arts and more can be found here. If you know where to go. It is a ‘secret’. Here is Co-Owner Alex Newhausen talking about the space.
Alex Neuhausen and Lilly Wolfson are the co-owners of the space.
Ariel Iasevoli is the booker and producer for our circus and burlesque shows.
In the first biography of Ginsberg since his death in 1997 and the only one to cover the entire span of his life, Ginsberg’s archivist Bill Morgan draws on his deep knowledge of Ginsberg’s largely unpublished private journals to give readers an unparalleled and finely detailed portrait of one of America’s most famous poets. Morgan sheds new light on some of the pivotal aspects of Ginsberg’s life, including the poet’s associations with other members of the Beat Generation, his complex relationship with his lifelong partner, Peter Orlovsky, his involvement with Tibetan Buddhism, and above all his genius for living.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
From Publisher’s Weekly
It has become almost a cliché for biographers to speculate about their subjects’ psychosexual oddities. But speculation is not necessary when the subject is Allen Ginsberg, because the legendary beat poet and countercultural figure proudly proclaimed his psychosexual oddities, from his youthful incestuous impulses toward his father and brother to his little-requited infatuations with beat golden boys like Neal Cassady and his later eye for young male acolytes. Indeed, Ginsberg meticulously documented all his doings and feelings, and Morgan, his archivist and bibliographer, relies on that trove. Morgan does little to shape the material; each chapter, bluntly titled with the calendar year, simply recounts 365 days’ worth of parties, debauches, quarrels and breakups, drug experimentation, all-night debates about literature and philosophy, dead-end jobs, knock-about travels, psychoanalysis, ecstatic Blakean visions, depressed funks, homicides committed by friends, jazz, poetry readings and Ginsberg’s contemporary ruminations on all the above. The disorganized, onrushing flow of experience is occasionally eye-glazing, and Morgan offers disappointingly little interpretation of Ginsberg’s poems. But Ginsberg and his gang— Kerouac, Burroughs, Cassady et al.—are such vibrant, compelling characters that this mere straightforward chronicle of their lives approaches, as they intended, a fair imitation of art.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is not just the best Ginsberg biography, but the best biography of ANY of the Beats. From it you will learn an immense amount about how Ginsberg’s life intersected with those of Kerouac, Burroughs, Corso, Holmes, Hunckle, etc. Bill Morgan tracks Ginsberg’s personal and poetic development in amazing detail. One example: his meetings with William Carlos Williams are described with a specificity that I have not seen anywhere in Williams’ scholarship. I was constantly asking, “How did he get this fact?” It’s one of the great biographies of the last 20 years. OUTSTANDING WORK!
R Sikoryak talks about his upcoming show "Masterpiece Comic Theater" at the COMIC BOOK THEATER FESTIVAL presented at The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. June 3rd thru the 29th. This hour long multimedia show adapts R. Sikoryak's graphic novel “Masterpiece Comics” and its sequel and features re-tellings of classic literature in the styles of popular American comics. Inspired by epic poetry, Gothic romance, and Elizabethan tragedy, as well as superhero stories, cat cartoons, and gum wrappers, Masterpiece Comics Theater uses projections, a rotating cast of voice actors, and live sound effects in the manner of Sikoryak's long running Carousel comics performance series.