Anne Waldman on Peter Orlovsky’s Passing:
“The Shellean farmer astride hid Pegasusian tractor” as Gregory Corso once knighted him passed on today, May 30 2010 to the elysian fields, a bardo of becoming. First glance hour earlier Peter was resting with “trach” in throat in orange sheets at the kind Vt Respite Center in Williston, Vermont (but no extra tubes/ heroic measures for this advanced cancer on his lung!), a copy of the Songs of Saraha by his pillow, photo of beloved Allen Ginsberg companion of many years on the wall, other Buddhist images, iPod of music he loved including chants by Buddhist nuns, cards from friends and out the window a bird feeder with finch and red-winged blackbirds landing/taking off. Chuck and Judith Lief, faithful guardians and friends at his side. He had been moved less than 48 hours earlier from intensive care at a hospital in Boston, finally to hospice. His body we were touching we noticed suddenly turned cold like death was in the room. We got the nurse. Judy and I stepped out when suddenly Chuck called us back. Peter had opened his eyes. Chuck said “It might be the last time”. By his side now, looking into his eyes told out love, I thanked him for his presence in our lives, his poetry his care and love for Allen, his work at Naropa. Ah, I thought a flash of recognition shivering through! slight movement of mouth, light coming in on his handsome face through the window now, and Judy singing om a hum vajra guua padma siddhi hum in crystal voice said “don’t be afraid”. Joined in. Last breathes, one coming late, staggered: his heart/breath stopt. Poet Christina Lovin in room with nurse gave gentle witness who checked the clock 11:39 I think or so a.m. Earlier we’d played recording of Peter singing his Raspberry Song with great heart-soaring yodel and “how sweet you are”. “Make my grave shape of heart so like a flower be free aired and handsome felt” ( “The Snail”). Tibetan Book of the Dead readings, in full final repose arranged with blue shirt, hands folded, consciousness a joyful gardener sprite? no fear, no fear working its way out…
Anne Waldman 5.30.2010
Vt Studio Center
Snail PoemMake my grave shape of heart so like a flower be free aired & handsome felt, Grave root pillow, tung up from grave & wigle at blown up clowd. Ear turnes close to underlayer of green felt moss & sound of rain dribble thru this layer down to the roots that will tickle my ear. Hay grave, my toes need cutting so file away in sound curve or Garbage grave, way above my head, blood will soon trickle in my ear - no choise but the grave, so cat & sheep are daisey turned. Train will tug my grave, my breath hueing gentil vapor between weel & track. So kitten string & ball, jumpe over this mound so gently & cutely So my toe can curl & become a snail & go curiousely on its way.