Allen to Peter, 1961 (on Dissolution of Ego)

The Ginsberg-Orlovsky correspondence. Mindful that yesterday we provided you only with selected snippets. Here’s one uninterrupted letter from that voluminous correspondence (only a small segment of which was made available in Straight Hearts’ Delight – and only the Orlovsky side in Peter Orlovsky – A Life In Words.)

Here’s Allen writing from  ℅  U.S. Consul, Tangiers, Morocco, August 3rd, 1961, (to Peter in Athens)

Dear Peter,
Strange day yesterday, woke up depressed, thinking I am a poet, & all along had been your lover – I am Allen Ginsberg – and all along that has been me, and I didn’t want to go thru with it any more felt like suicide – then during the say something slowly happened, ideas changed a little – and I realized I was not tied down to being Allen Ginsberg – not being a poet – so decided to let my identity drop & my awareness grow & went thru a day of bliss as I found I was free – lots happened, I saw Bill (Burroughs) and since my eyes had changed, he changed too & I saw that his cut-up meant also this cut-up of identity, nothing worse really. (Timothy) Leary was great here, calmed everyone. Bill dug him & Gregory (Corso) went out to Casino with him happy – Bill meeting him in England late this month, they both go to Harvard where Bill will experiment with white noise & sensory deprivation machines, etc.

Timothy Leary and William Burroughs, 25+ years later, on the porch at Burroughs’ house in Lawrence, Kansas (“Friday March 13, 1987 8.30 a.m”) – Photograph © Philip Heying

Leary told me that he agreed with Bill that Poetry was finished. Because he felt the world was really moving on to a new super-consciousness that might eliminate words and Ideas.
It’s just this point that had bugged me with Bill & hurt my pride – so I realized that at any rate part of my hurt was pride  – or better dependency for security on my identity as a poet and my life work as a poet.
Well gee I better get this off this I thought – & once I decided, sort of, to be free of thinking of myself in such strict ways, I was able to accept once more ideas.
Since then, Leary left & (Alan) Ansen left – yesterday, both gone. I told Bill I wanted to see him alone  & he says yes & then we began a rapport again – I think aside from my own vanity pride (which his basic ideas were attacking and so it hurt me  temporarily) – and aside from his own carelessness & vanity & sloppiness because he is busy – that Michael (Portman) has been in the way . He kept hovering around the door when we were talking inside, & when Bill and I went out for lunch, he said, “I guess I’ll come along” & intruded on us. Bill said while he was gone for a second “He’s too dependent on me, that’s his problem” – so Bill sees that – I see it less as a conspiracy of Bill & Michael now – Bill does want everybody included – or thinks he does – probably truly does – but the basis of inclusion must be that we drop our minds, i.e. my mind says I am poet & Orlovsky’s lover, so when I get high I vomited with anxiety when I realized I was not that separate self but the same as everyone else.

Michael Portman – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – © Estate of Allen Ginsberg

I guess your leaving must’ve robbed me of last prop, and it was courageous of you to do the same thing for yourself & take off and be a cloud & no more a part of theidea we had together, which was partly beautiful idea, but as idea doomed to fail after Zen-cut-up-loss of role-identity. The beautiful shiver tho’ always remains.
As to sex, talked with Bill (Burroughs) about that – his objection is to the use of sex as part of the idea of identity, as part of re-affirmation & support of me-ness & ego – he admitted that sex might be a way of merger of souls on ego-less basis like we have had it, – and so he doesn’t put it down, finally, in itself, but only where it is corrupted especially in civilized countries where it is part of power-ego grab. There’s no real argument between you.
Lots came to a head when Bill & Mike gave Mark (new kid) majoun, we were at (Paul) Bowles’, and Mark got panicked. – Bill & Mike were too high to notice – I took care of Mark who was suffering isolation – and realized they were too fucked-up to notice & care for him – I brought Mark out of it- & Bill said he was in error – I think it was nastiness on Mike’s part.

Gregory Corso, Paul Bowles, William Burroughs (crouched behind them Michael Portman and Ian Sommerville, Tangiers, 1961 – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg © Estate of Allen Ginsberg

I think one trouble here was you were isolated, I was confused, and since I was clinging to my identity with you, I could not see thru your identity to your heart, and I think you wound up over-affirming your identity and pressing down harder on it while it was under attack, instead of just giving it up & coming out free.
However I guess by cutting off from us, you wound up cutting your identity in a way and coming out free – so I guess everything is O.K  – hurrah! – all works out – don’t be mad at me. I love you – but the me-Allen that was loving you was a fake creep that could only bug you – it’s over for me I hope I hope – and I hope now for you too, I mean just don’t get hung on being Peter no more and all will be well and I guess that’s going to be well –

Now let’s see lots other has happened – long talk with Jane (Bowles) – she told me about her stroke in detail – seems she got brain area damaged & can’t therefore add or multiply and also, her vision is cut in that she only sees what’s ten inches on each side of her, not thirty inches.

Jane Bowles (1917-1973)

I will now take “Fall of America” and cut it up to get rid of my own self-assertion parts & recombine the images into a huge glorious poem expressing the Hope of the world for a vast new Consciousness, free of Names & Identities & Ideas of the self –
I wish you had stayed here with me but if you has not gone I might not have been forced to change and we might have got worse into a tangle of fighting identities but sure we would have got out of it  – all in all I think our idea of sex was right & beautiful & led us (or me) forward – & thank you Peter

Gregory is still a little Gregory & that’s all & that’s why he picks on everybody, he thinks he’s separate and superior, but he’ll lose his mind too.

Leary says the drugs cut off the ego part of the brain in the cortex, and leave an “open brain”, without ideas of self. That’s what scared me to vomit while I held on to my idea of what I should be – beat poet.

No, I don’t still think you are a firing-squad, I’m sorry I said that but I was defending my Idea and I think you were setting up a different Idea, and it was a firing-squad war of ideas in my mind when we both should have dropped – we both alas were too unhappy to drop our Ideas & get back in Union.

“Praise be the god that lasts”  yes praise be – as long as we don’t get hung up on the word or idea of god but be the gods.
“Man is only god that lasts” – yes & no – man is changing, I am changing, you are changing, god is growing in us but he has now grown so real that the word “God” is almost obsolete maybe –

I think Bill & Leary at Harvard are going to start a beautiful consciousness alteration of the whole world – actually for real – Leary thinks it’s the beginning of a new world.
Anyway, I was wrong in calling you firing-squad because we are all one.

Anyway, I think you’re right on Gregory’s book [American Express]. Bill hasn’t really read it either and doesn’t realize how it intuitively does capture the whole situation here – all these different parties & warring identities trying each one to be right – not realizing that only if all are wrong can all get together and be one new person – all take on a new life together without ideas of Allen & Peter & Bill & Gregory as separate persons & plans.

Anyway, I was wrong. So I’m sorry I laid all that woe of my own thoughts & fears on you while Allen was dying – I guess you had your own troubles too – I shouldn’t have left you alone here when I went (with Paul Bowles) to Marrakesh, maybe – but I was afraid of imposing that week of anguish on you & fighting more –
Anyway, it’s worked out magically for the best & you and I are both free now so forgive me & take me in thought hello & I’ll see you soon whenever we both can on free basis, I hope sooner than ten years because that would mean it would take ten long years for both of us to be really free – and we should be able to do that this year yes? – be free, I mean – in fact, let’s do it now – I see you – oops! – hello – goodbye – write me – how’s Greece? – how’s Peter? – Allen’s happy – all love – everything will be allright.   love   Allen
p.s. I wrote this fast and am not re-reading – will send it now – I’ll stay here another week – don’t know where next – Maybe take boat to London to see the Queen – stay awhile there and then take boat in Oct(ober) to Israel or India – Love Allen

I just re-read it and it almost says what I want to but I’ll write again and say it better.

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