MEMORIAL PAGE FOR IRA COHEN

Please post poems, photos, and comments here. Love, Michael

Ira with lobster and camera, photo from Terri Carrion

46 comments

  1. Whatever You Say May Be Held Against You
    Selected Poems by Ira Cohen, 2004, printed on handmade paper in Nepal
    an homage to Ira’s golden ricepaper adventures from Shivastan Press

  2. Namaste friends of Ira~ I would like to remind everyone that the Shivastan Press is a memorial to Ira & Angus’s “Great Rice Paper Adventure” & is still publishing great poetry on handmade paper in Nepal~ please check my website http://www.shivastan.org for more info.
    Here is a poem I wrote thinking about Ira after he passed on into the Akashik Records…

    Insider Outsider for Ira Cohen

    When we first met with the Kathmandu set

    on a sunny day in Woodstock

    You explained the joy & the pain of publishing poems

    on handmade paper in Nepal in the 70’s

    & You inspired me to start my Shivastan Press in Nepal in the 90’s

    to continue the creative tradition You & Angus started

    Bardo Matrix, Star Streams, Dream Weapon

    Spirit Catcher Book Shop

    All now rare as opalescent vulture’s teeth & 1000 year old unicorn eggs

    A book is a beautiful thing

    You name dropped me an avant garde education

    Bowles, Burroughs, Gysin, Ziprin & Corso

    Midgette, Malanga & Maclise

    Paul Babes, Little Ira, Ganesh Baba, Jack Smith & Penny Arcade

    Vali, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein & Joey Ramone

    Peter Lamborn Wilson, Louise Landes Levi, Janine Pommy Vega,

    Charles Henri Ford & Indra

    etc, etc, etc!

    Morocco, Amsterdam, New York, Kathmandu

    Italia, Ethiopia, Angkor Wat & Timbuktu too…

    Now that the translucent psychedelic opium bubble

    swirling on the edge of time has burst

    may the purple shadow of your poetry never diminish in size

    Your work will live forever in the Akashic records of eternity

    Born of parents who could not speak

    You never stopped speaking

    or creating

    or writing

    & I tried to devour every golden razor tongued word

    You were right when you screamed at me on the phone:

    “You don’t know anything!!!”

    Was the bat palace really Shangri-la?

    Why did Mata-ji cry on that houseboat on the Ganga in Banaras?

    Was the Bardo Matrix press really financed by the CIA

    & King Birendra of Nepal?

    Why did the silently smoking sadhu

    hold his arm in the air for 12 years?

    How many million pilgrims shit at the Kumbha Mela?

    How did Paul Bowles make love to a Moroccan?

    How did William Burroughs make electricity from dead cats?

    Was mylar photography really inspired by butterflies wings?

    Did the secret caverns below the self arisen stupa

    really connect to Lhasa?

    How big were the roses in Bir Singh’s garden?

    What did Jack Smith’s bejeweled lair look like?

    How did Vali get those tribal tattoos?

    How many topless angels can dance on the head of your pen?

    Has the gold dust in your squid ink finally faded?

    Does the one legged blind beggar cry for you?

    Is it true that “Whatever you say may be held against you”?

    If Groucho Marx said you had an ethereal body

    would you hold it against him?

  3. Flame Schon says:

    absorbing the meaning of the death of Ira:
    I don’t know that I can really keep any kind of even keel or balance now that Ira is no longer physically in this world. It seems that I totally depended on his being there to support, just by his being there-without words or sometimes with words-to support my still flame consciousness, that to which I return ever and always, and know that that place is where I’ve always been so that I keep refinding myself there in that place of perfection, and now it’s as if some rudder has gone and I wobble. And this state is so intolerable that if I can’t soon find this balance again by whatever means, perhaps by simply calling to his everpresent spirit, that sense of him , bodiless anyway, is needed for my support ..a rudder really. yes, that word sounds right. And if I can’t keep and more to the point incorporate that present sense of his brilliant essence…then going on in this world is intolerable and I feel that I could soon succumb to the pull of death.
    He was some kind of key..to our time. and to timelessness.

  4. massimo de feo says:

    September 20 2001 in Staatsbibliothek – Munchen, Germany. Photo by massimo de feo

    good trip Ira
    see you

  5. [...] Links: Ira Cohen’s Obituary A Memorial Page For Ira… Oldest Identified Ritual… In The Mind Of An Infant… Inattentive Super Heroes? [...]

  6. Flame Schon says:

    stills from At Home With the Majoun Traveler , 33min DVD available from me:
    email
    flame.schon@gmail.com

  7. Flame Schon says:

    still image from video AT HOME WITH THE MAJOUN TRAVELER
    33min DVD available from me

  8. Michael says:

    for Masafumi (Gabun) Suzuki and Ira Cohen, April 25 (LA time)

    masa, you died on the morning that ira died in the evening
    did you rush up quickly to greet him at the gates?
    you were both photographers and two of the brainiest
    of your generations, even though you’d dislike such brainless
    accusations, but now you’ve vanished, you used to talk
    about vanishing point, then you’d leave the room
    unnoticed as if you were shy, until you picked up a pen
    and people knew you were a force of nature

    ira, you suffered and went down slowly but perfectly
    like a souffle in a five-star restaurant who knew worth
    you never kidded about anything for a short time
    and said “there’s nothing a non-psychedelic can
    teach a psychedelic person” in that way you
    were the oscar wilde of your moment
    and your photos of jimi hen and others bent space
    or injected more life into the subject than could have been there
    suggesting a dramatic flair by you to draw out absurdity
    which reflected you, absurd king of duke ellington avenue

    rest in peace, two separately, two legacies, two lives lived to the max
    two bodies of work, two people who decided to time it together
    for no reason and were unaware of each other’s passing

    sleep on it like you slept between life and death
    now you are traveling between death and life
    or nothingness and mudras of gold-flecked dreams
    what you left is enough to chew and be ransacked
    by the wind and rain with your voices ringing out

    —John Solt

  9. Michael says:

    Ira and Terri Carrion, El Paso, Texas 1973 (photo by MR)

  10. Flame Schon says:

    Mikki Maher and Ira in At Home With the Majoun Traveler
    33 min DVD shot Oct ’08, available from me.

  11. Flame Schon says:

    Ira Cohen and Sheldon Rochlin, photo by Mary “Vie” Mier, NYC sometime in ’90s

  12. Hail and farewell, Ira.
    .
    .
    .
    IRA COHEN from Last Night’s Dream Corrected
    ===========================================

    On Writing Poems

    Every day I see the poem
    which lies concealed in my
    heart. If writing prolongs
    solitude
    it also brings about the encounter
    with one’s greatest need,
    that ray of light, the beauty
    which transforms
    our identity into words
    our very aspiration without
    which we will be bereft
    whether of dreams or divine
    connection.

    Jan. 26, 2006

  13. Stacy Fein-Hager says:

    I met Raphael Cohen first at Psychedelic Solution in the late ’80′s. “Who is that most handsome one?” I thought, he was for sure a cosmic brother, we were meant to be friends, a few minutes later I met Ira, magikal and potent his appearance and humor(charm) confirmed we were part of a cosmic love family. There were days, weeks when I was in transit or lost but living 12 blocks away, I would go to 110th for refuge, for peace of mind. I was always welcome to sit AND BREATHE, to contemplate what seemed like a world I no longer fit into and to laugh with Ira and Raphael (Raph and I are of the same generation) kindred spirits. Sometimes Mikki would be there or Lakshmi so young and bright eyed in braids… When we all (and I mean MANY) went down to 8th St. for the premiere of Ira’s movie a window on the world was OPEN it was more than an event it was an opening of the “doors of perception” w/o the drugs just color film and Ira’s vision/narration. The throngs of people piling out the theater when the movie was over were the “Downtown collective and students who heard the call of Mystic Fire’s invitation. Morgan screened the film that evening I remember.
    Ira was the King Poet sans ego a VITAL figure in our journey/education. I remember being at Max Fish for Ira there was a performance we were there for with Wayne Lopes and Sylvie Degiez. For some reason I was in pain and in tears. Ira looked at me wondering, but all I could do was lift my hair to bare my nape and show him my tattoo. I was crying because I was a Jew and I knew he too a Jew by birth would understand the dilemmas of faith, family and art. The tattoo shows Durer’s praying hands emerging through flames surrounded by a green “om”, it was never finished because it hurt too much. Ira looked at me with those great eyes of his and didn’t say anything but gave me a hug, his way of compassion. My tears were about recovery, depression and how I wandered from my family of origin. During a hard time Ira and Raphael were mon freres sympathetiques. I was their neighbor involved in an experiment, I turned to trad meds for help, we would talk about it–the mental and the physical aspects of the new drugs, the amazing nothingness I felt. Being at Ira’s was more dependable and solid (uplifting) than the pills and their prescriber. The Cohen’s were real and understood the void, they were my spiritual guides during that period comforting me with their welcome at home and tea, my closest friends too were similarly ancestors of Camus and the Sixties. The Cohen’s Steve Hager and I, Judith and Hanon (The Living Theater) were back then “Les Bohemes du Nord: the UWS freaks living amidst the Yuppie invasion. (Sure there were others freaks too, we weren’t “special”). Going to Ira’s house was a treat, we would sit in chairs surrounded by the piles of books, maybe the phone would ring which was indicated by a flashing light bulb on the ceiling (for Ira’s parents). Yeah, we were all in Ira’s world and that’s where we wanted to be–close to Ira there were so many or are so many of us. Years later I returned to W. 110 and couldn’t believe the amount of books that had accumulated. Raphael would humbly complain there was no room left for him–books were everywhere-LITERALLY. Ira performed until he could no longer, he was willing (he sometimes privately dreaded it) to be the (star) part of many Gift of Eagle Orchestra’s (Sylvie and Wayne’s) performances at the Kitchen and Makor. Maybe Ira didn’t consider himself a beat, but we all knew he was the last of them. RIP Ira Cohen. Condolences and love to his beautiful and brilliant children, Raphael and Lakshmi especially big hug to Raphael who has read more books than most people I know. X, Stacy

  14. Michael says:

    Obit in The Guardian

    “Doyen of the Beat generation feted for his psychedelic photos of the underground” A fine piece by Frank Rynne, accompanied by a slide show of Ira’s photos…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/may/13/ira-cohen-obituary

  15. Michael says:

    For Ira Cohen … Keeper of the Akashic records.

    Crazy man takes my black shmotta from your hospital room
    it returns with open hand of steve dalachinskey
    Later Stilled you I in timeless silent stare
    somewhence between birthmark and budha
    pen-knifed ink tatooed on my paper heart
    doing upside down mudra magic with gummy worms
    outside ‘Herbies cuoferi’ on 110 th st.
    taking London strides to october gallery
    where you wrote the last samuri in a book
    I gifted made from English meadow flowers
    challenged double decker bus for the road
    looming big caped in black lunged I between as offering.
    Unpoliced poet pulling Malangas ‘Living theatre’ from Italian prison
    band aid buttoned old Nicon marrying words to pictures
    the haunted rose finally talks to the angel
    sitting on cosmic straw with matz
    listening to the sound of jade growing in stone
    rather then the gingle of gold
    wearing Kaufmans eyes blinded by loud sounds of Hunkes hipster shirts
    did the ex proffessor of tempest and torment confess to her mic
    that the listener risks all in the nightmare of Corsos mindfield ?
    where Angus makes Omas’ bent bowls sing arye with sounds of light
    and Villons noosed neck need not know the weight of his ass
    where the insomniac sleeps the big sleep
    we seek undying dreams as death dreams us back
    where Luca puts his head thru a hole in the Romanian Flag
    which now drapes around Andrei cadrescus’
    still stretching like suspenders of nations that have no meaning
    here no one sleeps in these times
    when the maker is the monsters myth
    here the minoans still bemone dolphins deaths
    waitng for drunk gods to drown
    as the brown owl stays up all night
    filling the white goddess with stolen meat
    four hour phone calls pass like moments planning plays
    where Bobby produces ‘a ship of fools’ at 631
    Vali as captain hennas’ your beard to look like an Afgani tourist
    fantasizing a gypsie wedding
    pissing in the same can thrown into inseperable seas
    with Lyonal as navigator using five dimentions at once
    inventing stars to go by
    you as mate busy keeping records of cultural icons
    personal happiness too low a star to shoot for
    and I as crew trying not to fall overboard while
    landgarden in panama style
    collects the songs of the ancients thru gulls cries
    in constant constellations of creation
    through the sound of silence
    brings back coconut economics
    and now… you are the temple.

    — Herbert Kearney

  16. Michael says:

    The Poem Again is Yours: A Tribute to Ira Cohen

    by Steve Dalachinsky at http://www.realitysandwich.com/tribute_ira_cohen

  17. steve dalachinsky says:

    for Ira Cohen

    your death was so real
    like being in a movie
    you were buried today
    & bobby said it was all very
    jewish
    & some little kid had ½ his body
    ½ his mouth blown off by a car bomb
    in iraq
    so they brought him here
    to feed him ice cream for his birthday

    alan g. & ira l. said a lone hawk hovered over your
    grave as they laid you to rest – rest
    & you always with the appetite of a hawk
    & heart of a dove
    evoked the natural world with your dinosaur bones
    you sought what could never be truly represented
    in the “real” world
    tangible you endured
    rendering the “real” thing false
    evolving
    involved
    informed
    invested in this LIFE beyond this life
    always a small group of the faithful
    seeking your every move

    it’s too beautiful today
    said the BIG RED flowers
    not like yesterday – all grey & misty wet
    when the breath they forced into you choked on itself
    & the great machine that you were shut down
    in the midst of spring’s silence
    big body lost in the paradise of the JEWS

    it’s a great upheaval today
    said the big white, yellow & orange flowers
    all confused
    who are you talking to? she asked
    to impending summer little girl – they answered
    short skirted little girl
    & the guy wearing the Disney t-shirt that says
    NO MORE MR. NICE GUY
    says that this Futurist’s unique forms of continuity &
    space would seem like cartoons today
    & Apollinaire
    died of WAR & Pestilence – small fragments
    of his body blown away
    just disappeared into the battle stained air of metamorphosis
    zero relative cube architecture
    a non- manifesto-ist in a time ruled by manifestos
    & great art everywhere succumbed to &
    influenced by influenza
    gutfreund
    contrast of forms – romanticism – solidarity
    & the cone itself was a symbol of the future
    & your warm chromatic swirling strength
    quiet feet in the corridor
    “what’s happening to lakshmi” you say
    “she’s falling off the page”
    “the pillow is falling off the bed”
    “my leg is falling off the bed”
    “why don’t i get a fucking blood connection”
    “ i need a fucking shot”
    “i’m gonna punch you in the nose”
    “i don’t want the pillow to fall”
    let it fall – i say – “fuck you” you say – bag ½ full of piss
    the afternoon rush is quieting down
    she sweeps silently along the corridor

    it cannot be true
    what the old Nicaraguan poet
    incanted
    what the long gone scientists
    claim
    that we all evolved from a
    single cell
    you & the hawk perhaps
    the ice cream cone
    the muddy rainbow
    there are unstoppable counterfeiters
    out there
    hence uncountable counterfeits
    remnants
    all that is left of original civilization
    the inside story of a vital brain
    closing doors while opening minds
    you leave it all behind now
    NOW behind you now
    waiting to play your song
    waiting for the world to begin again
    born of mutes
    an automatic son – your links to the very origin
    land of the free – free links to the world
    the universe whose hands you are now in
    traveler wherein you travel with your autobiography
    beneath your arm/your skin
    & our biographies as well within this one/celled DNA-circus
    waiting for you to bring toward your chin
    hidden behind your long white beard
    GOD or something like that
    anyway
    see-er / translator of traditions
    here/now the angel of death finally annoyed
    kissed you on the forehead – & the skin peeled off its lips
    & you surrendered said hello to the bright light
    your shoulders lightening – the pillow falling
    your vocabulary communing with the SEASONS
    solutions – your very memory multi-layered
    multi-celled lingering in the substance

    & you threw the dice
    said farewell to the color of music
    said hello to the rumor of otherness & immortality
    left behind the deep clarity of your voice
    the reflective rewinding of a journey
    & its steps
    & you slipped the Akashic Record beneath
    your cape
    kissed the little boy of WAR on the forehead
    took a lick of his ice cream
    threatened to stick a pencil up the nurse’s ass
    set your wings in motion
    & said FUCK YOU to DEATH
    & HERE I AM!

    dalachinsky nyc 4/11 – 3/6/11

  18. Bonny Finberg says:

    The above poster of Ira’s poem “January 14, 2009/NYC” is available thru Cold Turkey Press at jacopbellaert2002@yahoo.com

    or, after June lst at: levitate108@hotmail.com

  19. Bonny Finberg says:

    LOSING IRA

    I saw you first across a room, 
    standing with the Witch of Positano,
    and began a long conversation
    that continued along roads
    back and forth between
    this world and the other,
    one foot in each,
    balanced on one foot or another.
     
    I saw you last, 
    hidden underneath the borrowed body
    that betrayed you,
    kissed your head,
    held you close,
    while you stared down the dim corridor
    between one breath and the next.
    Were your silent questions, 
    like your stare,
    vague dread,
    or were you trying to define
    your next encounter 
    with the wilderness?
    Was this your last argument,
    or have you transformed into
    one question that includes the answer?
     
    Ira, are you punning with the gods?
    Complaining to the spirits that they 
    don’t appreciate your offerings?
    No– I’d say they welcome you,
    singing in the mylar chamber, 
    delighted by the visions 
    only holy madmen can provide.
    Your wild beauties all around,
    caressing you and laughing at your jokes.
    No vanity or conceit at last,
    only pleasure, deep and simple,
    in your self and all that you created,
    a god among the other gods we all become,
    perfect beauty,
    perfect beauty,
    perfect beauty
    of your everlasting soul.
     
    Paris, 27 April, 2011
     

  20. Flame Schon says:

    At Home With the Majoun Traveler

  21. Ira Cohen–In Memoriam
    by Valery Oisteanu

    What’s next? whispers Ira and becomes invisible
    Scream no more, from unquenched fate
    We’ll see you on the other side
    A Jewish Shaman walks away
    While the big flutes are silent,
    The extinct cactus remains still
    The bells are thunderstruck
    Our holy man of the straw mats
    Melts benignly into the molecular earth
    After an endless battle with himself
    A distorted shadow in search of Ganesh Baba
    From Chelsea all the way to Kathmandu
    365 steps up to the Temple Swayambhu
    Kumbha Mela traveler overran by sadhus
    Blowing a dijiridou, jazz convulsions
    With potent magic mushrooms
    Psychedelic carnal lovers evaporating
    Disappearing on the magic carpet to the Kasbah
    Lamenting in the sub-ground Ethiopian churches
    Following the holy wind into the dessert
    Eating majoon, riding the sunset
    Tormented musicians of joujouka
    Helter-skelter from Tangier to Crete
    What’s next boychick? What’s hip?
    Poetry shrunk down to tiny crumbs
    Farfetched nightmares no more!
    An avalanche of absurd nothingness
    Yisgadal v’yiskadash sh’may rabo
    Sufi in Ira’s coffee, Shiva in Ira’s tea
    Buddha in his wine, Yahweh in his tap water!
    Last chillum for trans-hypnosis
    The king of Thunderbolt goes to sleep!

  22. Pamela Enz says:

    BELOW a link to a short inspired by the trial of a 22 year old Joseph Brodsky before he was sentenced to Siberia .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN5beLd2dTg

    AND 4 IRA who loved words :MANIFESTO

    FROM A WOMEN BORN as an ASSEMBLAGE of PENCILS FOR HANDS
    ( written at HoJo next to The Sunshine )

    “ I think I’ll hang out by myself talking in my head sometimes aloud not having to apologize for the gesticulating back and forth mumbling incoherently yet focused. I’m onto something here- a thought is using my body -an instrument.
    ONE INSIDE TAKES THE PENCIL

    “I’m a peaceful man and my wife makes empanadas for you to take into the mountains you CIA hogs.”
    They’re checking on me in the guise of a boyfriend too patient to be real he must be secretly salaried.
    “Jesse is dead, “ he said and suddenly it was raining and we were running down narrow cobbled Pre-America.
    You want me to fall. STUPID. It doesn’t matter – does it? What any one , them wants – we will out distance the negative.
    “Do you want to see something? You see where she goes – This kid Garcia is lost.”
    Well. It’s only September and it seems like the weather’s changed or could it be my blood? . I’m blushing. I don’t think you’re old. I think you’re ageless now perhaps angry at time. But something about it being what keeps us from falling off the earth sideways it’s gotta clue you what a big find this is. So keep to the story. Give the impossible room to take the improbable and give it a seat at the table.

  23. Flame Schon says:

    Ira at Sheldon Rochlin’s memorial, Montauk, ’02

  24. gabor g gyukics says:

    Ira’s book cover of his poems that were published in Budapest in 2007

    plus a poem I wrote the other day based on his words

    Gabor G Gyukics

    it has nothing to do with the

    (in memoriam Ira Cohen)

    say farewell to all the previous notions
    walk among sleeping crocodiles
    towards the center of colors
    not withstanding to the magnetism of mysteries
    below the crowds of nothing under the skies
    along the chords of the infinite circle

    with silent lips
    with goggled eyes
    with storming calmness inside your skull
    your defenseless cells lead your invisible steps
    across the forbidden zone

    yellow fog feeds
    your leftover body

  25. Flame Schon says:

    DVD cover (reduced)

  26. Flame Schon says:

    At Home With the Majoon Traveler, a 33min DVD shot in Oct ’08 of my visit to Ira is available from me. I charge my costs. email me if you’d like a copy
    flame.schon@gmail.com

  27. Bonny Finberg says:

    Here’s a broadside of a poem by Ira.

  28. Flame Schon says:

    collage of video stills shot at Sheldon Rochlin memorial, Montauk, ’02

  29. Flame Schon says:


    video still from “Daughter of Dada Meets the Oracle”, Flame Schon,’09

  30. steve dalachinsky says:

    3. you earned your vacation (for i.c.)

    the old man could barely contain his life of waste
    the moaning child wore seashells in her cornrolls
    the young male panhandler repeated over & over again
    in a whiney sing-song voice / cheese burger cheese burger
    milkshake & fries
    the health worker could not contain the dancing
    abrasive crinkling he made with his little plastic bag of
    fruit snacks / the elevator is claustrophobic
    we are dying of smoking in a smoke free continuum
    experiencing mental retirement
    on an urban terrain
    you were buried with him / also raised with him
    laz’rus / orlac

    that’s all over we’ve waited long enough – monet’s bridge of summer flowers
    opposite the bed of the ailing poet
    klimt’s landscapes covering the hallways’ walls
    & scrubbed & slippery floors
    of beware FALL RISKS – in the left arm
    i.v. out naked big bellied thin whittled deeply bruised legs
    nothing is painless – soiled beautiful big yawn
    if only you would sleep / could sleep
    i would sneak away & glide down the newly polished corridors
    & out into the now climbing blood pressure of night

    OH GOD oh god you say softly over and over again
    repeatedly raising your hands & flapping your fingers about
    while lifting your left leg – all so rhythmically like music
    NO GOD – I say only once – t.v. always talking funny stuff
    what’s wrong with this picture / frame?
    a difficult position to almost know you are in – alive & not yet lifeless
    where are you & what are you now? only what you always are & only can be
    walking up hill towards you
    robins & daffodils – no shopping sprees or launch pads
    but a scratch behind the ear & on the thigh
    the skin so uncomfortable
    the desire for motion almost unbearable
    scratch the wrinkled forehead & still red cheek
    landscapes of smoky bldings entering a clouding evening
    serrated clouds slicing up the sunlight through big window you cannot see
    try to think of sadhus hashish & waxing poetic / try to forget the sound of waxing floors
    automatic reference to hazardous time – bio-rendoctory string theories
    molecular rewiring over a pond of water lilies
    a directory of arm moves & leg moves in almost stop/speed

    & the floor waxer comes to gobble us up
    & slide us toward a hundred more metaphors & ideas
    & there is no safety in #s nor wood – where is the compassion when we need it?
    a passion for community he might have said – soaking up extra points
    HA BLA HA BLA HA/BLA

    & your robe is replaced & your i.v. replaced ow ow ow you say so sweetly
    & your thirst for knowledge replaced by a very real thirst for water
    oh god oh god oh god & the more you drink the more lust consumes you
    & as the sheet is placed over your body
    your beaming face & flowing beard remain visible
    you look socratic i say & you smile & slowly turn to eye my wife
    as you drink & drink & drink
    & the more water you consume – the more your intelligence shines through
    oh god oh god oh come on
    & the more you drink the more your face opens like a flower
    ow ow ow the flower whispers – we are through waiting for an eventual end

    dalachinsky nyc

  31. Ira Cohen–In Memoriam
    by Valery Oisteanu

    What’s next? whispers Ira and becomes invisible
    Scream no more, from unquenched fate
    We’ll see you on the other side
    A Jewish Shaman walks away
    While the big flutes are silent,
    The extinct cactus remains still
    The bells are thunderstruck
    Our holy man of the straw mats
    Melts benignly into the molecular earth
    After an endless battle with himself
    A distorted shadow in search of Ganesh Baba
    From Chelsea all the way to Kathmandu
    365 steps up to the Temple Swayambhu
    Kumbha Mela traveler overran by sadhus
    Blowing a dijiridou, jazz convulsions
    With potent magic mushrooms
    Psychedelic carnal lovers evaporating
    Disappearing on the magic carpet to the Kasbah
    Lamenting in the sub-ground Ethiopian churches
    Following the holy wind into the dessert
    Eating majoon, riding the sunset
    Tormented musicians of joujouka
    Helter-skelter from Tangier to Crete
    What’s next boychick? What’s hip?
    Poetry shrunk down to tiny crumbs
    Farfetched nightmares no more!
    An avalanche of absurd nothingness
    Yisgadal v’yiskadash sh’may rabo
    Sufi in Ira’s coffee, Shiva in Ira’s tea
    Buddha in his wine, Yahweh in his tap water!
    Last chillum for trans-hypnosis
    The king of Thunderbolt goes to sleep!

  32. I’ll say this about Ira: he is the only person I know in New York who never ever locked his front door. It was open as he was open to whomever wanted to come in. And after a while I didn’t even knock. I turned that knob and pushed open the door, walked down that hallway, commonly dark with the several large Mylar photographs hanging there, and went into the living room or the bedroom, wherever he was. We’d talk, drink a bit, smoke, read poems, write together, take a walk, gaze at the life swarming around us and marvel at it all despite our despairs, angers and pains, because of our pleasures and friendship and simple wonder at what made it all tick. And sometimes, with nothing else going on, we’d turn the TV on and watch a movie, usually without the sound, or a Yankee or Knicks game, also without the sound, and put on a CD and sooner than not the words would come again, the phone would ring, someone else from somewhere else would walk on in and the party kicked in and this desperate adventure we loved so much would raise its haunch, spread its legs and lure us ever further into it, into us, into them and there and that and then. Bon voyage, Ira. In time we’ll be at it again disembodied but happy to know that we are never ever alone…

  33. Eddie Woods says:

    SONG TO UJJAIN
    for Ira Cohen

    Jetsam floating this silent tide
    pieces of marigold cropping the mind
    on a sky full of spring
    harsh dense falling on rooftops

    A gnarled tree blossoms in cobblestone
    lingering love thru a nighttime of noise
    whispered truths in the hypocrite’s tongue
    aged in weatherdamp far from death

    Remember O saddhu chillums at dawn
    winter melodies we forgot to sing
    poems of desire on the driftless canals
    singing themselves to a sleep beyond haunting

    Here in the shadows my own reflection
    red lights left other voyagers burn
    years cry out thin moments decay
    seize my heart in a rush of fire

    Petals of love I send in bondage
    reality dreams our souls forsake
    Amsterdam eyes awake & smiling
    eruptions of meaning all sound describes

    Atrophied memories flake in the sun
    desert the rains sustaining yr image
    mylar of the West!
    eastern impenetrables!

    Feeling now the deep of yr voice
    caressed by distances continents spread
    disarm all notions of time & beauty
    distinguishing us from the you I am.

    EDDIE WOODS

    Eddie Woods & Ira Cohen (1978). Photo © by Anne Nordmann

  34. Melinda Hunt says:

    Ira was kind enough to participate in the Hart Island Project poetry event last year on Mother’s Day, May 9, 2010. It may have been his last public reading. Each poet read a page of names of people buried on Hart Island and then a poem. Ira went first. The page that he read from listed people who died in in 1982 whose places of death had been redacted by the NYC Dept of Correction. Ira read the names as though he knew each person and they were his family.

  35. gabor g gyukics says:

    Long Walk

    for Ira Cohen

    The numbers on his telephone
    Disappeared from dialing too much.
    It was cold outside,
    He put his pants on, his shoes,
    a shirt, a cloak,
    a scarf around his neck,
    held a hat in his hand.
    He left to visit his acquaintances

  36. Flame Schon says:

    My clearest memory of ‘knowing’ Ira is connected to my going alone from NYC to take mushrooms in Huautla de Jimenez in the Sierra Mazatec in Oaxaca Mexico in Oct ’67.

    Whilst tripping on said mushrooms in a mud hut on the outskirts of the town, a inner roaring sort of sound began to overtake me. I remembered at that moment that I had read that at such time one must hold fast in ones mind to some figure of light and strength, and my mind went to Ira. I kept him in my mind whenever this roaring buzzing sort of sound came in waves as if to carry me away. And it worked. The thought of Ira protected me.

    I offer this anecdote to show who Ira was–for me= a touchstone and a thread, a guardian and a guide. Yes he worked through the mediums of photos and poetry and also through the spell cast by an unending stream of spoken words- a litany. His brilliant powerful essence, though, was what I invoked in that hut in Huautla.

    Even way back then, a ‘memory’ of the disembodied Ira which is what he’s now become.

  37. steve dalachinsky says:

    stone head ( for ira cohen )

    1.
    deaf fingers spell
    your name
    reminding us of death war love
    untidiness age & agelessness
    freaks & walking

    walking beneath the
    moon as it mingles w/the
    stuls & flames & coming
    wealth

    i place a stone on my head
    & dream that i am dead
    & paying homage to my / self

    i experience night as if it were a
    flickering beard of light
    invented by blind men in a storm

    i am demolished by pain & crowd
    control
    & my balls have no personality –

    dad gabs
    ( funanambulably ) while tip toeing on a tightrope

    a dream i have awake about death always
    about death scratching @ my thighs
    like a bored cat
    spool unspun a net of dnicts a copy/cat
    scrawler throwing his loneliness @ the sky
    & all remaining the stone on my head
    & my head struggling to become the
    mo on

    & between back & forth we become un-
    dangered.

    2.
    i am empty yet so
    full
    of my/
    self
    filled w/chattering
    si ………………………………..lence
    & shattered prisms
    all containing distances & tangled rain-
    bows

    brief thinking my hand to my mouth & the night
    a pile of cinders & deceased lang
    uage & lapened pupp(i)e(t)s.

    3.
    hot flash:
    the world is becoming endless

    hot flash: black is the color of the fractured light

    hotflash: time is the music of armies

    h ot f lash > a shivering # erects itself on his chest
    broken sleeveless

    24 + 42 + 2+2 +4+4 +4+2 +2+4 plus @+$=

    hot flash – the wind is a gypsy that thinks it is a mirror

    FLASH /// * i am stained so much you would think I was wearing a suit

    flesh; i am rusted & undone
    Oh sweet GACIHC

    hot flash?
    i wait
    a waiter
    weightless w/heavy
    socks
    gone in copia
    burying the emblems
    become a headstone -

    yet you remain sockless.

    steve dalachinsky brooklyn ny @ zebulon 9/25/04

  38. Andy Hoffmann says:

    Ira was an angel, still is. I published a couple little books of his poems, and he would call and tell me how much the books meant to him. And he would talk about his friends, about being too tired to travel, about films and books and poetry I had to read. When I wasn’t home he left long messages on my phone, my mistake to have ever erased them. I’ve never met another quite like Ira. Now, I can only hope he visits in my dreams. Peace and condolences to his longtime friends and family.

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