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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