RIP Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010)

When I posted about Ginsberg yesterday I had no idea Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg’s long-time lover and a Beat poet in his own right, had passed on May 30. He was 76.

The Times doesn’t have an obit up yet, same with the Voice (it’s shameful!), but here’s one from the Washington Post and another from the LA Times‘s Jacket Copy blog.

Here’s Peter’s poem “Frist Poem” (sic). The typo in the title was, if not intentional, then at least ratified by being published that way. As you’ll see, Peter’s spelling was idiosyncratic and he seems to have made a point in not letting other people (or himself) clean it up. The poem was written in 1957 and collected in his Pocket Poets Series volume Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs (City Lights, 1978). You’ll find a couple other poems at Brian Nation’s page on Orlovsky, which is where I clipped this one:

FRIST POEM

A rainbow comes pouring into my window, I am electrified.
Songs burst from my breast, all my crying stops, mistory fills
    the air.
I look for my shues under my bed.
A fat colored woman becomes my mother.
I have no false teeth yet. Suddenly ten children sit on my lap.
I grow a beard in one day.
I drink a hole bottle of wine with my eyes shut.
I draw on paper and I feel I am two again. I want everybody to
    talk to me.
I empty the garbage on the tabol.
I invite thousands of bottles into my room, June bugs I call them.
I use the typewritter as my pillow.
A spoon becomes a fork before my eyes.
Bums give all their money to me.
All I need is a mirror for the rest of my life.
My frist five years I lived in chicken coups with not enough
    bacon.
My mother showed her witch face in the night and told stories of
    blue beards.
My dreams lifted me right out of my bed.
I dreamt I jumped into the nozzle of a gun to fight it out with a
    bullet.
I met Kafka and he jumped over a building to get away from me.
My body turned into sugar, poured into tea I found the meaning
    of life
All I needed was ink to be a black boy.
I walk on the street looking for eyes that will caress my face.
I sang in the elevators believing I was going to heaven.
I got off at the 86th floor, walked down the corridor looking for
    fresh butts.
My comes turns into a silver dollar on the bed.
I look out the window and see nobody, I go down to the street,
    look up at my window and see nobody.
So I talk to the fire hydrant, asking "Do you have bigger tears
    then I do?"
Nobody around, I piss anywhere.
My Gabriel horns, my Gabriel horns: unfold the cheerfulies,
    my gay jubilation.

Nov. 24th, 1957, Paris

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