Death Poems: Death &Amp; Fame - Poem by Allen Ginsberg

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Death &Amp; Fame - Poem by Allen Ginsberg

When I die
I don't care what happens to my body
throw ashes in the air, scatter 'em in East River
bury an urn in Elizabeth New Jersey, B'nai Israel Cemetery
But l want a big funeral
St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Mark's Church, the largest synagogue in
Manhattan
First, there's family, brother, nephews, spry aged Edith stepmother
96, Aunt Honey from old Newark,
Doctor Joel, cousin Mindy, brother Gene one eyed one ear'd, sister-
in-law blonde Connie, five nephews, stepbrothers & sisters
their grandchildren,
companion Peter Orlovsky, caretakers Rosenthal & Hale, Bill Morgan--
Next, teacher Trungpa Vajracharya's ghost mind, Gelek Rinpoche,
there Sakyong Mipham, Dalai Lama alert, chance visiting
America, Satchitananda Swami
Shivananda, Dehorahava Baba, Karmapa XVI, Dudjom Rinpoche,
Katagiri & Suzuki Roshi's phantoms
Baker, Whalen, Daido Loorie, Qwong, Frail White-haired Kapleau
Roshis, Lama Tarchen --
Then, most important, lovers over half-century
Dozens, a hundred, more, older fellows bald & rich
young boys met naked recently in bed, crowds surprised to see each
other, innumerable, intimate, exchanging memories
"He taught me to meditate, now I'm an old veteran of the thousand
day retreat --"
"I played music on subway platforms, I'm straight but loved him he
loved me"
"I felt more love from him at 19 than ever from anyone"
"We'd lie under covers gossip, read my poetry, hug & kiss belly to belly
arms round each other"
"I'd always get into his bed with underwear on & by morning my
skivvies would be on the floor"
"Japanese, always wanted take it up my bum with a master"
"We'd talk all night about Kerouac & Cassady sit Buddhalike then
sleep in his captain's bed."
"He seemed to need so much affection, a shame not to make him happy"
"I was lonely never in bed nude with anyone before, he was so gentle my
stomach
shuddered when he traced his finger along my abdomen nipple to hips-- "
"All I did was lay back eyes closed, he'd bring me to come with mouth
& fingers along my waist"
"He gave great head"
So there be gossip from loves of 1948, ghost of Neal Cassady commin-
gling with flesh and youthful blood of 1997
and surprise -- "You too? But I thought you were straight!"
"I am but Ginsberg an exception, for some reason he pleased me."
"I forgot whether I was straight gay queer or funny, was myself, tender
and affectionate to be kissed on the top of my head,
my forehead throat heart & solar plexus, mid-belly. on my prick,
tickled with his tongue my behind"
"I loved the way he'd recite 'But at my back allways hear/ time's winged
chariot hurrying near,' heads together, eye to eye, on a
pillow --"
Among lovers one handsome youth straggling the rear
"I studied his poetry class, 17 year-old kid, ran some errands to his
walk-up flat,
seduced me didn't want to, made me come, went home, never saw him
again never wanted to... "
"He couldn't get it up but loved me," "A clean old man." "He made
sure I came first"
This the crowd most surprised proud at ceremonial place of honor--
Then poets & musicians -- college boys' grunge bands -- age-old rock
star Beatles, faithful guitar accompanists, gay classical con-
ductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trum-
peters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger
fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin auto-
harp pennywhistles & kazoos
Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India,
Late fauve Tuscan painter-poets, Classic draftsman Massa-
chusets surreal jackanapes with continental wives, poverty
sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters from American
provinces
Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate biblio-
philes, sex liberation troops nay armies, ladies of either sex
"I met him dozens of times he never remembered my name I loved
him anyway, true artist"
"Nervous breakdown after menopause, his poetry humor saved me
from suicide hospitals"
"Charmant, genius with modest manners, washed sink, dishes my
studio guest a week in Budapest"
Thousands of readers, "Howl changed my life in Libertyville Illinois"
"I saw him read Montclair State Teachers College decided be a poet-- "
"He turned me on, I started with garage rock sang my songs in Kansas
City"
"Kaddish made me weep for myself & father alive in Nevada City"
"Father Death comforted me when my sister died Boston l982"
"I read what he said in a newsmagazine, blew my mind, realized
others like me out there"
Deaf & Dumb bards with hand signing quick brilliant gestures
Then Journalists, editors's secretaries, agents, portraitists & photo-
graphy aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborors, cultural
historians come to witness the historic funeral
Super-fans, poetasters, aging Beatnicks & Deadheads, autograph-
hunters, distinguished paparazzi, intelligent gawkers
Everyone knew they were part of 'History" except the deceased
who never knew exactly what was happening even when I was alive

February 22, 1997


Comments about Death &Amp; Fame by Allen Ginsberg

  • Gold Star - 57,324 Points Michael Walker (9/14/2019 7:27:00 PM)

    A very frank stream of thoughts about his death and funeral. I like it being at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Or was it St. Mark's Synagogue (more likely for the Jewish poet) . He talks of affairs with young men, which few other poets would do. I agree that his poetry is witty, 'his poetry humor saved me /from suicide hospitals'. Brilliant. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 13,452 Points Michael Morgan (12/30/2014 11:35:00 AM)

    Bravo! A sympathetic self-portrait/eulogy, though the self-as-subject-type expressionism would boggle even Whitman. Lots of good characterizations, here; lots of nice ghostly evocations; lots of nicely palpable sensual data. Creating a sympathetic self- the geist of the poem- is perhaps Ginsberg's forte. Curiosly observant of the tradition wherein the deceased is visited by 'presences' with whom he interacted. Only natural, I suppose. (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Pha Thanh Gian (4/27/2005 10:59:00 AM)

    Nice poem! Lots of sensual and vibrant emotions infused in 1 long self-eulogy! Daring and intimate... (Report) Reply

    12 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
Death Poems
  1. 1. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death
    Roger McGough
  2. 2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion
    Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  4. 4. Death Is Nothing At All
    Henry Scott Holland
  5. 5. Because I Could Not Stop For Death
    Emily Dickinson
  6. 6. Nothing But Death
    Pablo Neruda
  7. 7. A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, O..
    Dylan Thomas
  8. 8. A Dream Of Death
    William Butler Yeats
  9. 9. A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv
    Khalil Gibran
  10. 10. Father Death Blues
    Allen Ginsberg
  11. 11. Death Wants More Death
    Charles Bukowski
  12. 12. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death
    William Butler Yeats
  13. 13. Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  14. 14. A Death Blow Is A Life Blow To Some
    Emily Dickinson
  15. 15. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner
    Randall Jarrell
  16. 16. The Beauty Of Death Xiv
    Khalil Gibran
  17. 17. A City's Death By Fire
    Derek Walcott
  18. 18. Death Xxvii
    Khalil Gibran
  19. 19. A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An ..
    Phillis Wheatley
  20. 20. First Death In Nova Scotia
    Elizabeth Bishop
  21. 21. After Death
    Sara Teasdale
  22. 22. Death Leaves Us Homesick, Who Behind
    Emily Dickinson
  23. 23. Gacela Of The Dark Death
    Federico García Lorca
  24. 24. A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  25. 25. The Death Of Joy Gardner
    Benjamin Zephaniah
  26. 26. A Ballad Of Death
    Algernon Charles Swinburne
  27. 27. On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady,
    Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
  28. 28. The Death Of The Hired Man
    Robert Frost
  29. 29. On The Death Of A Young Lady Of Five Yea..
    Phillis Wheatley
  30. 30. Death &Amp; Fame
    Allen Ginsberg
  31. 31. Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  32. 32. Go Down, Death
    James Weldon Johnson
  33. 33. I Have A Rendezvous With Death
    Alan Seeger
  34. 34. Death Fugue
    Paul Celan
  35. 35. Love &Amp; Fame &Amp; Death
    Charles Bukowski
  36. 36. On The Death Of Anne Brontë
    Charlotte Brontë
  37. 37. For The Anniversary Of My Death
    William Stanley Merwin
  38. 38. Fugue Of Death
    Paul Celan
  39. 39. If Death Is Kind
    Sara Teasdale
  40. 40. On Death
    Anne Killigrew
  41. 41. Death
    Heinrich Heine
  42. 42. On Hearing Of A Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  43. 43. As At Thy Portals Also Death
    Walt Whitman
  44. 44. Death Stands Above Me, Whispering Low
    Walter Savage Landor
  45. 45. An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  46. 46. The Death Of The Flowers
    William Cullen Bryant
  47. 47. A Death-Bed
    Rudyard Kipling
  48. 48. A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late..
    Jonathan Swift
  49. 49. Absence Disembodies—so Does Death
    Emily Dickinson
  50. 50. All But Death, Can Be Adjusted
    Emily Dickinson

Death Poems

  1. Death Be Not Proud

    Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then? One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

  2. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death

    Let me die a youngman's death not a clean and inbetween the sheets holywater death not a famous-last-words peaceful out of breath death When I'm 73 and in constant good tumour may I be mown down at dawn by a bright red sports car on my way home from an allnight party Or when I'm 91 with silver hair and sitting in a barber's chair may rival gangsters with hamfisted tommyguns burst in and give me a short back and insides Or when I'm 104 and banned from the Cavern may my mistress catching me in bed with her daughter and fearing for her son cut me up into little pieces and throw away every piece but one Let me die a youngman's death not a free from sin tiptoe in candle wax and waning death not a curtains drawn by angels borne 'what a nice way to go' death

  3. And Death Shall Have No Dominion

    And death shall have no dominion. Dead man naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.

  4. Because I Could Not Stop For Death

    Because I could not stop for Death- He kindly stopped for me- The Carriage held but just Ourselves- And Immortality. We slowly drove- He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility- We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess- in the Ring- We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain- We passed the Setting Sun- Or rather- He passed us- The Dews drew quivering and chill- For only Gossamer, my Gown- My Tippet- only Tulle- We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground- The Roof was scarcely visible- The Cornice- in the Ground- Since then- 'tis Centuries- and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity-

  5. Death Is Nothing At All

    Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

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