Please post poems, photos, and comments here. Love, Michael
Ira with lobster and camera, photo from Terri Carrion
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
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
& 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?
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.
September 20 2001 in Staatsbibliothek – Munchen, Germany. Photo by massimo de feo
good trip Ira
[...] Links: Ira Cohen’s Obituary A Memorial Page For Ira… Oldest Identified Ritual… In The Mind Of An Infant… Inattentive Super Heroes? [...]
stills from At Home With the Majoun Traveler , 33min DVD available from me:
still image from video AT HOME WITH THE MAJOUN TRAVELER
33min DVD available from me
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
Ira and Terri Carrion, El Paso, Texas 1973 (photo by MR)
Mikki Maher and Ira in At Home With the Majoun Traveler
33 min DVD shot Oct ’08, available from me.
Ira Cohen and Sheldon Rochlin, photo by Mary “Vie” Mier, NYC sometime in ’90s
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
it also brings about the encounter
with one’s greatest need,
that ray of light, the beauty
our identity into words
our very aspiration without
which we will be bereft
whether of dreams or divine
Jan. 26, 2006
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
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…
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
The Poem Again is Yours: A Tribute to Ira Cohen
by Steve Dalachinsky at http://www.realitysandwich.com/tribute_ira_cohen
for Ira Cohen
your death was so real
like being in a movie
you were buried today
& bobby said it was all very
& some little kid had ½ his body
½ his mouth blown off by a car bomb
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
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
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
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
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
what the long gone scientists
that we all evolved from a
you & the hawk perhaps
the ice cream cone
the muddy rainbow
there are unstoppable counterfeiters
hence uncountable counterfeits
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
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
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
The above poster of Ira’s poem “January 14, 2009/NYC” is available thru Cold Turkey Press at email@example.com
or, after June lst at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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,
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,
of your everlasting soul.
Paris, 27 April, 2011
At Home With the Majoun Traveler
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!
BELOW a link to a short inspired by the trial of a 22 year old Joseph Brodsky before he was sentenced to Siberia .
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.
Ira at Sheldon Rochlin’s memorial, Montauk, ’02
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
DVD cover (reduced)
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
Here’s a broadside of a poem by Ira.
collage of video stills shot at Sheldon Rochlin memorial, Montauk, ’02
video still from “Daughter of Dada Meets the Oracle”, Flame Schon,’09
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
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…
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!
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 & Ira Cohen (1978). Photo © by Anne Nordmann
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.
Link to Ira Cohen website
A link to Ira’s obituary in the New York Times
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
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.
stone head ( for ira cohen )
deaf fingers spell
reminding us of death war love
untidiness age & agelessness
freaks & walking
walking beneath the
moon as it mingles w/the
stuls & flames & coming
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
& my balls have no personality –
( 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
& between back & forth we become un-
i am empty yet so
& shattered prisms
all containing distances & tangled rain-
brief thinking my hand to my mouth & the night
a pile of cinders & deceased lang
uage & lapened pupp(i)e(t)s.
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
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
gone in copia
burying the emblems
become a headstone -
yet you remain sockless.
steve dalachinsky brooklyn ny @ zebulon 9/25/04
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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