Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I only mer him a few times, but I dug him. For me, as for everyone who met him or read his poetry I assume, he was not only an original personality and poet, but a beacon for honesty and humility. If anyone embodied Kerouac's idea of the "beat" as "beatific"—and "the holy goof" (as Kerouac referred to Neal Cassidy) it was Orlovsky.

He was always honest and humble with me at any rate. Not humble as in humble pie but humble as in realistic about everyone's place in the universe including his. That trait was sometimes mistaken for a kind of immaturity or even a deficiency of intellect or mental wellbeing.

He had his problems, like all of us, but his simplicity to my mind and in my experience though often childlike was also often brilliant. Here's a link to an obit and another from which I borrowed the image above, the way I'd like to remember him, and a poem that is to my mind not just uniquely his voice but inspiring. He was always one of my favorites and too unheralded as far as I'm concerned.

1 comment:

Robert Berner said...

Dear Lal--Thanks for posting this--the NY Times didn't. Not many of that generation left now who set us free from the dead-weight of boring academic poetry.
But today's Times did carry an obit for Andrei Voznesensky. It closes with a noteworthy quotation from him:
"Poetry is the only hope. Even if
you do not believe it, you have to do it."
Requiescat, Andrei,
Bob B.