Spontaneous Poetics – (Philip Lamantia – 3)

Philip Lamantia (1927-2005)

AG: Would you like to hear some more (Philip) Lamantia?

Student(s): Yeah

AG; Lamantia and (Gregory) Corso, oddly, are [1975] very much alive. Both Italian, both word-alchemists, mantic word-manipulators. This is called “Astro-mancy” – short lines.


The stars have gone crazy
and the moon is very angry
The old civilization
that rolled the dice of Hitler
is surely bumbling
into a heap of catatonic hysteria.
Another civilization
secret for sic thousand tears
is creeping on the crest of
future. I can almost see the
tin of its triangular star.
I’m writing this from lost Atlantis
I wonder when I’ll get back
to the alchemical castle
where I can rebegin my work
left off in the Middle Ages
when the Black Beast roared down
on my weedy parchments and spilled me
into an astral waiting room
whose angels, naturally in flaming white robes,
evicted me for this present irony:
idleness, mancy & the Dawn
instead of getting down to
the super-real work of
transmuting the Earth with love of it
by the Fire prepared from the time of Onn!
No matter, I’m recovering
from a decade of poisons
I renounce all narcotic
& pharmacopoeic disciplines
as too heavy 9-5 type sorrows
Instead I see America
as one vast palinode
that reverses itself completely until
Gitchi Manito actually returns
as prophet of a new Iroquois Brotherhood –
this needs further devopment –
I foresee a couple of
essential changes:
a break-out generation
of poet-kings setting up
The Realm Apart
of sweet natural play
and light metal work
matter lovingly heightened
by meditation, and spirit
transmuted into matter,
the whole commune conducted by
direct rapid transcription
from a no-past reference
anti-rational, fantastically poetic
violently passive and
romantically prejuduced
Each one his own poet
and poetry the central fact
food & excrement of culture
I see you smiling tolerantly
O liberal lip (another utopian
bites the dust) but no! you just
can’t see what I’m reading while
in the act of transcribing it.
I know at least three other
supernatural souls who envision
much the same under different names,
but the nomenclature’s not more than
the lucid panorama I telescope
as, on this summer night’s
torpor, it passes from under my eyelid and

grabs you, earth returned
into the middle of Aquarius, one millennium forward.

AG: That’s his basic prophecy.

[The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia will be available this summer, published by the University of California Press. A momentous occasion. This poem will be among them.]

(Allen’s reading of this poem of Lamantia’s may be heard at approximately twenty-eight-and-a-half minutes in here)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *