Scattered Elegy/Eulogy for Philip Whalen

To zap the demons of attachment
you told your premature mourners
to place your corpse on a table
strewn with frozen raspberries

*

Today is July 18, 2002,
and the last time I sat in Boulder
was summer 1975–
you arrived, and I was
reading your novels & poems
and saw no more need to
sit at the knee
than with Trungpa–
while inwardly
the connection was
clear as the sun,
consciousness,
another day–
the mystery of Dasein

*

the Poetry Wars had ended
just before my bus arrived
from Oregon, Sept. ’74

and though I had written
Martin Fritter : Karmadzong :
from the Dalles or Hood River
homestead where friends
put me up between
sticker picker shifts
at Cascade Locks Lumber

there was a much quieter mode of
whatever: meeting:
than the farewells
of my Oregon friends–

e.g., the first night in town
Country came down the hall
with a couple of monks
and laughed: Lost Horizon
is playing! we walked
to the movie theatre,
call it The Rialto, I dunno

*

Sitting on the hill
mulling over
the visitor’s suggestion:
to divest everything
& head for a San Francisco zendo together

my apparatus must have remembered
the guest’s announcement
down in the dining hall
that her breasts were growing
suddenly, inexplicably large–

Upstairs–in Pullahari,
was it? red carpet–
sitting there beside her
anyhow, on the hill–

my thingee must
have failed to conceal

my interest–

I wanted those tits!

*

Was it a lesson in nonattachment?

When she did not cotton to
my overt interest in

those tits–

I realized we were all nuts.
That logic would not avail.

That J.H. was right
up at the site near
Red Feather Lakes–
"we’re all fuckin’ neurotics."

That I was not supposed to
go to San Francisco with her
pretending nonattachment,

a craven, minklike, otterlike
dharma critter in the night.

The logos was not a prefab
pattern, as it were.

We were responsible
–like an improv company
of actors, variously
comic, tragic, pathetic–
for making it up.

But, Phil, that goes without saying.
Right?

*

I’m bigger than you now,
my girth exceeds all
rime & reason

this morning I tried a quieter
voice, the appraisor
arrived

from Peoria, I left him
with my mother
in the aluminum shack

I hope to see
amortized
or whatever.

The dada-
dicticism?

No goal. We must
love the chaos.
If all issues

were resolved–
what dreams, what
guilt-quilts,

what cosmic loneliness
would come
flooding in?

In other words,
when the I
thinks of Boulder

1974-75
it is not
Jim McCurry

any more than
say, Frog #456679
popping a bubble

of some
unlabeled
whatsis

in the swamp
outside
jmccurry@sandburg.edu

which, by
the way,
is my new

signature,
I’m told,
Adios–

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