Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010)

Peter Orlovsky, October 1988, New York City – photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries / Allen Ginsberg Estate

Peter Orlovsky, Allen’s partner’s, birthday today. He would have been 88.  Happy Birthday Peter!

Here’s his wonderful “Frist Poem” (First Poem – at the heart of Peter’s poetry was his wonderful idiosyncratic spelling), written in Paris in 1957, and included along with other works in the sadly-out-out-print-now Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs

A rainbow comes pouring into my window, I am electrified. 
Songs burst from my breast, all my crying stops, mistory fills 
 the air. 
I look for my shues under my bed. 
A fat colored woman becomes my mother. 
I have no false teeth yet. Suddenly ten children sit on my lap. 
I grow a beard in one day. 
I drink a hole bottle of wine with my eyes shut. 
I draw on paper and I feel I am two again. I want everybody to 
 talk to me. 
I empty the garbage on the tabol. 
I invite thousands of bottles into my room, June bugs I call them. 
I use the typewritter as my pillow. 
A spoon becomes a fork before my eyes. 
Bums give all their money to me. 
All I need is a mirror for the rest of my life. 
My frist five years I lived in chicken coups with not enough 
 bacon. 
My mother showed her witch face in the night and told stories of 
 blue beards. 
My dreams lifted me right out of my bed. 
I dreamt I jumped into the nozzle of a gun to fight it out with a 
 bullet. 
I met Kafka and he jumped over a building to get away from me. 
My body turned into sugar, poured into tea I found the meaning 
 of life 
All I needed was ink to be a black boy. 
I walk on the street looking for eyes that will caress my face. 
I sang in the elevators believing I was going to heaven. 
I got off at the 86th floor, walked down the corridor looking for 
 fresh butts. 
My comes turns into a silver dollar on the bed. 
I look out the window and see nobody, I go down to the street, 
 look up at my window and see nobody. 
So I talk to the fire hydrant, asking "Do you have bigger tears 
 then I do?" 
Nobody around, I piss anywhere. 
My Gabriel horns, my Gabriel horns: unfold the cheerfulies, 
 my gay jubilation.

Here’s the “Second Poem”, written just over a month later:

Morning again, nothing has to be done, 
 maybe buy a piano or make fudge.
At least clean the room up for sure like my farther I've done flick 
 the ashes & butts over the bed side on the floor.
But frist of all wipe my glasses and drink the water 
 to clean the smelly mouth.
A nock on the door, a cat walks in, behind her the Zoo's baby 
 elephant demanding fresh pancakes-I cant stand these
 hallucinations aney more.
Time for another cigerette and then let the curtains rise, then I 
 knowtice the dirt makes a road to the garbage pan 
No ice box so a dried up grapefruit.
Is there any one saintly thing I can do to my room, paint it pink 
 maybe or instal an elevator from the bed to the floor,
 maybe take a bath on the bed?
Whats the use of liveing if I cant make paradise in my own 
 room-land?
For this drop of time upon my eyes
like the endurance of a red star on a cigerate
makes me feel life splits faster than sissors.
I know if I could shave myself the bugs around my face would 
 disappear forever.
The holes in my shues are only temporary, I understand that.
My rug is dirty but whose that isent?
There comes a time in life when everybody must take a piss in 
 the sink -here let me paint the window black for a minute.
Thro a plate & brake it out of naughtiness-or maybe just 
 innocently accidentally drop it wile walking around the 
 tabol.
Before the mirror I look like a sahara desert gost, 
 or on the bed I resemble a crying mummey hollaring for air, 
 or on the tabol I feel like Napoleon.
But now for the main task of the day - wash my underwear - 
 two months abused - what would the ants say about that?
How can I wash my clothes - why I'd, I'd, I'd be a woman if I did 
 that.
No, I'd rather polish my sneakers than that and as for the floor 
 its more creative to paint it then clean it up.
As for the dishes I can do that for I am thinking of getting a job in 
 a lunchenette.Robert L
My life and my room are like two huge bugs following me 
 around the globe.
Thank god I have an innocent eye for nature.
I was born to remember a song about love - on a hill a butterfly 
 makes a cup that I drink from, walking over a bridge of
 flowers.

Here’s Peter in 1979 reading his poems in Vancouver 

A unique and remarkable poet and an extraordinary man –  Peter Orlovsky  (1933-2010)

Here’s the painting by San Francisco painter, Robert LaVigne, that led Allen to fall in love with him

Nude With Onions (Portrait of Peter Orlovsky) – Robert LaVigne, 1954

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