Allen Ginsberg – Free Blues Improvising

We focused last week on the painter Larry Rivers (Allen’s landlord, incidentally, at 404 East 14th Street at the very end of his life) – Larry and Allen were long-time friends and associates.  Here’s, courtesy of the Larry Rivers Film and Video Archive “Allen Ginsberg at a Larry Rivers Happening –  Allen (with little or no thoughts in his head), fresh back from a meditation retreat, 1975, following the precepts of his teacher, Chogyam Trungpa,  attempts to improvise a blues (“Finishin’ My Blues”):

Footage begins with Allen consulting with the guitarist, working out the chords –  F,G,C,D

Finishin’ My Blues

“Sitting in Larry Rivers loft, not knowing what to say/Somebody’s got a guitar here, he knows what to play./Now its up to me to figure out what there is to say.

I haven’t been in New York City/Three months out of this year/But I’ve been three months
Sittin’ meditatin’ and there I did not shed a tear/ In fact I cursed the ghost of William Blake and got rid of all my fear.

I saw my ego as a vampire and I saw my thoughts as some kind of God/ But when I started thinking of that, I realized that having a divinity was odd/ (he said) said spare the child/and (why don’t you) spoil the rod.

(So) I’m sitting here and I don’t know what think or say/ Well the whole reason is that
my mind has gone astray/ (giving me forever) trouble with eternity/there ain’t no other way.

First part best part is your making up poems like the blues/But more for what’s better still is
you don’t have any news/ And because of that emptiness, that’s why I’m sittin’ here finishin’ my blues.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.