Lafcadio Orlovsky Recording

Lafcadio and Peter Orlovsky, August 1995 – photo: Allen Ginsberg

A quick note in preparation for some upcoming William Blake postings (it was announced recently by the Tate, incidentally, that, in September of 2019, through to February, 2020, they’re planning a major comprehensive William Blake exhibition)

January 1979, Allen is in New York with Peter Orlovsky and his brother, Lafcadio, on his way to Boulder, Colorado (to Naropa) to teach Blake.

The audio record is flawed (in several places), but it begins here – with Allen reciting Blake’ s charming  “My Pretty Rose Tree”, a cappella, and Allen and Lafcadio experimenting with the tape-recorder

 AG Well  it’s probably working now Try this – just talk into that

LO Talk in

AG Yes

LO: Hallo Allen, how are you today?

AG: Well, Today is January 3rd 1979, Lafacdio Orlovsky

LO: Allen you just said January, what?

AG: January 3rd 1979

LO: January 3rd 1979

AG: And here you are visiting New York

LO: Where’s the top to my toothbrush. I can’t find it. Where is it?  Is it in the back of the sink?  Is it somewhere there? I looked there. I still can’t find it. Now I know it’s gone. It’s like as if it vanished  My five dollars is also gone.

AG: Where did it go?

LO : My (dime), (I’ve looked, is gone, three, four times), has gone too…(Marie [his sister]’s dime, Marie’s dime)

AG: Uh-huh

LO: We’re going to Boulder, Colorado tomorrow, Allen, Allen’s going on another plane

AG: Right

LO: Peter’s coming along too

PO: I’m going to be coming along with you

LO: So he  came here to visit Denise (Mercedes). She’s in the bathroom, bath-tub.. I’m shaving myself later. I’m making tea now. I’m letting it stand about five minutes.

PO: Very good.

LO:  and I hope I have a good time in Boulder Colorado. I wonder what is going to be there, what we’re going to be doing, whom we’re going to meet . Will I meet any queers?

PO: Yeah

LO: Will I meet any homosexuals?

AG: Probably

LO:   I hope not.. My mother doesn’t want that to happen. She said no.

PO: And how do you feel about it?

LO: I said No . I said maybe . He (Allen) says he’s going to take me to see some friends.

AG:  Remember the time you and I slept together  and I tried to screw you?

LO:  Remember when me and Allen went to bed together, we made together?

PO:  Did that bother you?

LO:  Roommates together. I remember. It was on what apartment? on what street?

PO: Second Street

LO: Second Street. Number?

PO: I forgot

AG: 170 East 2nd  where I wrote Kaddish

LO:  170 East 2nd  where you wrote  Kaddish? –  poems?

AG: Yeah

LO:  Okay I’m going to bed now and  I’m going to have my tea first. I got to get a good shave.

PO: I was wondering, did Allen do you any damage then, or insult… ?

LO: No, Allen didn’t. Everything’s alright.

AG: Oh, ok.

LO: But I don’t know about what’s going to happen in the future, what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day or the next one.

AG: Well, I ‘ll try to keep my hands off you!

LO: Allen looks like he’s busy writing some… and Peter went to sleep, and I left you in the kitchen. I hope my tea’s still there. Goodnight.  Can I hear my voice now?

AG: You can hear your voice, if it’s still working. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s still working… No, that”s what I was worried about – [examining tape recorder] – oh, it’s working – So, to stop it you go like that.. Signing off at 10.30 pm.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at the beginning of the tape and concluding approximately three minutes in]


Leave a Reply

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