Taking a break today from the Ginsberg-Blake transcriptions (tho’ plenty more of that to come), here’s a little archival video (not the best of quality, but worthy nonetheless) of Allen, alongside Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog in 1992, at the One World Poetry Festival in Amsterdam. We hear several poems from Allen (all of them from Cosmopolitan Greetings).
AG: So for the evening you have some program that gives the account of what we’re going to do. To begin with, we’ll do about eighteen minutes of poetry and I will begin with a song, or a poem, with song sticks, so I’ll begin with some kind of music. So..before I sing to this.. I recently spent a week in, several weeks ago, in a hospital. with heart failure..
SV : (re translation into Dutch – (“hartfalen”) – Everybody understands you Allen, I could read you in translation but it’s not necessary.
AG …and one of the things that my doctor told me to do is not to eat salt (said the doctor) and don’t smoke.
So “Don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke” – (Allen begins performing/ improvising “Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag”)
1976 My father Louis Ginsberg died. So… he was a poet.. and when he passed I talked to my teacher guru Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who said, “I extend my thoughts as your father enters dharmakaya. Please let him go and continue your celebration”.
(Allen sings next “Father Death Blues”
“Young”…”Maturity” – Young I drank beer and vomited green bile…now I vomit air”
Next “Sphincter” –
SV: “Sluitspier“ (Simon Vinkenoog) starts reading the poem in Dutch
Allen reads it in English )“I hope my good old asshole holds out”….”Hope the old hole stays young/ till death, relax”)
AG: What’s next on the program? Does anybody have a program?
SV: There’s poems you didn’t do
AG: Oh then I’ll just read straight.. Right.. Ok.. ”Cosmopolitan Greetings” . These are one-line poems also – “To Struga Festival Golden Wreath Laureates & International bards, 1986”
So these are instructions from the King of May – (“Stand up against governments, against God”….”Candor ends Paranoia”)
AG: I have a few words here – Anger Spots– “Spot Anger”– “If you get angry you got two choices -Konk your head on the floor with words/ Bang the kitchen table, slap taxicab doorsm insult hotel toilets…”….”…Fairy feather-slight/raising a big iron pipe/to konk Mr Temper Tantrum on his green bull noodle & fly off/ over Manhattan weaving silver laughter/round skyscrapers spires”)
“After the Big Parade” – (“Millions of people cheering and waving flags for joy in Manhattan..”…..”Will another hundred thousand desert deaths across the world be/ cause for the next rejoicing?’)