1967 Dream (The Visiting Tibetans)

William Carlos Williams – 1961 (two years before his death)  – photo: courtesy Yale University, Beinecke Library, Special Collections (photographer unknown)

Allen Ginsberg dreamt, vivid dreams, and was in the habit of writing them down. It was an essential part of his practice.  It was a discipline and habit he maintained all his life. The recently-published The Fall of America Journals contains a number of such dreams. Here’s  one of them.

April 12 1967 Dream  – The Visiting Tibetans

Making a map of house-by-house streets home neighborhood in Benares which is River Street in Paterson – walking past the Himalayan Mall, it’s the Quarry –

Philip Whalen is up on the podium in the church beginning to read his poetry, as  he commences there’s a rustle of Tibetans droning ceremonial mantras in the sparsely filled back room, & up in the organ lofts invisible songs and chanting. Whalen continues undisturbed & then falls silent for a while, in a nonce the chief priest rises and his pupils file  out, I go talk to him in the lobby, he lays out on a chaise lounge, the young tall guru student and re-wraps silk robe over his nakedness & tells me of a letter he’s received from W.C.Williams, very old, near death, asking them to visit, and asking me to come sing interpret as friend.

I’m overwhelmed, it all concludes so logically & explain to him that Williams so near death will probably die in their ceremonial presence in old old age, how strange that threads of separate study should bring me together with WCW and themselves to the last fatal room.

Maretta (Greer) is there, has her old cheque made out to me and asks if it’s all right if she stay to St Vitus Dance Day or Padmasambhava Birthday a month ahead before departing.

I say of course yes and lay my head in her lap weeping happily that all fates are reconciled, Tibetan & Patersonian in Williams’ Deathbed, that I be present – Meanwhile the young Guru shows us some forms & thangkas being worked out –

Printed medical-neural forms oracular of nature spotting WCW’s particular psychic stage – with analytical comments like “Demand pectoral chakra opening – Demand Tibor Triumph” – “Demand Tibor Triumph”?  I think WCW a doctor even on his deathbed will be able to identify these Bardo Thodel instructions, how just! the form “was printed by Rahanma Behen”. The artist’s lady friend had laid out a delicate arty Tibetan medical sheet-form for them to use & adept in West.

An altarpiece, Tibetan style,  being constructed (as in) Seattle (recv’d phone-call invitation to read at Wash(ington) U where Shakyamuni resides) – oddly enough I see at bottom the central figures with small eyes, and clay-modelled, colored brightly with black eye dots for eyes and black dab of paint on pink upper lip in Charles Chaplin‘s effigy – & there’s [?] & others of the east – the Tibetans used them all, couldn’t tell the horses from the transient supporting cast, how charming and naive! – but notice how Charlie’s definite black mustache stands out amongst all the larger droopies red and grey handlebars the others sported for their less definite style.

Woke, remembering “Passaic and Ganges, one”. How in Paterson the effort should be to clean the Passaic, & return it to Holy River status for Bathing.

Oberlin, 1967

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