Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 539

Leading off this week with another of the Fall of America Tribute Volume II videos – Oliver Ray & No Land feat Allen Ginsberg – Cremation Piece (On Neal’s Ashes).

Oliver Ray notes  – “A lot of the poems in Fall of America take place in the ear, the book is in many ways an extended road trip journal which culminates with the death of Neal Cassady whose spirit is forever connected with the road and who was familiar with so much of the imagery we see through the windows of the poem. “Cremation Piece” is an attempt at an audio cremation, a pyre made from images collected from the poems and stitched together by No Land, gathered around Allen’s tender poem for his friend.”

No Land (we’ve featured work by her before – here) writes:

“In Spring 2021, Oliver Ray invited me to collaborate with him on a track he was creating for the Ginsberg Estate involving Allen’s poetry. I very happily accepted. When I was a young poet, I had often attempted communications through the veil with Allen, seeking him out for guidance, imagining him father-like, a gemini-nyc-kindred force. To work within this bygone-but-still-ignited realm of poet spirit was a deep gift and a way of thanking Allen. Oliver’s early musical sketches were moving to me, haunting, heart-felt, with a “drive thru Maya wall” reach beyond. While ruminating on what I might contribute, Oliver and I simultaneously began a journey of traveling across country –  back and forth several times, between New York City, the Southwest, Maine, California and all between. Allen’s voice accompanied us often in the car. Pieces from The Fall of America Volume 1 compilation, Naropa lectures, poetry readings – we heard Allen riff on the painted desert in pink New Mexico. What guidance and mysterious parallels between our journeys and his, fifty, sixty, years apart – might have culminated in this Cremation piece – which was also sculpted, recorded and mixed between both NYC and the Southwest. Travel notes, radio shards, poem fragments, road shines the need & love “to go”, the Way, ramblers-motion-ethos. In the studio I worked from a similar times and planes, selecting lines of Allen’s from all different years that struck me, combining and speaking them into new forms. I like to imagine Allen would welcome our contribution as a continuation of the work of poets who travel between all the states.”

Oliver is responsible for “Synth, Acoustic Guitar, Chakapa, Fire, Old Radio Broadcast and Voice”. No Land,  for “Film, Vocals and Ginsberg Poem Arrangements” .Cornelius DuFallo also appears on violin.


And there’s another cut from the forthcoming (Mark) Kramer-produced The Lion For Real, Reborn project  (release date, November 3rd, next Friday) –  Kramer’s  interpretation of “Don’t Grow Old”  (words and voice – Allen,  music and instruments, Kramer)

“Twenty-eight years before on the living room couch he’d stated at me, I said/ “I want to see a psychiatrist – I have sexual difficulties – homosexuality”/ I’d come home from troubled years as a student. This was the weekend I/would talk with him./  A look startled his face, “You mean you like to take men’s penises in your/ mouth?”/ Equally startled, “No, no”, I lied, “that isn’t what it means”/   Now he lay naked in the Nath , hot water draining beneath his shanks,/Strong shouldered Peter, once ambulance attendant, raised him up/in the tiled room. We toweled him dry, arms under his, bathrobe over his shoulder- /he tottered thru the door to his carpeted bedroom/sat on the soft mattress edge exhausted, and coughed up watery phlegm./We lifted his swollen feet talcum’d white, put them thru pajama legs,/tied the cord round his waste, and velds the nightshirt sleeve open for his/hand, slow./Mouth drawn in, his false teeth in a dish, he turned his head round/looking up to Peter to smile ruefully, “Don’t ever grow old”.


Lou Reed – photo by Allen Ginsberg

It’s the  anniversary of the death of Lou Reed, today  (10 years on). We draw your attention to our 2013 post – here   (see also here).  Will Hermes‘ pretty much definitive biography is just out – Lou Reed – The King of New York a must-read (you can read a section from it – here)

It’s also the anniversary of Dylan Thomas, born on this day, October 27, 1914 – (see here  (and our posting on the occasion of the Dylan Thomas Centennial – here)

and today marks the Roy Lichtenstein Centennial – Roy Lichtenstein and Allen Ginsberg’s collaborations may be perused here

and next week (Friday Nov 3). (more about it next week) the upcoming  James Schuyler Centennial

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