In memory of Allen Ginsberg, who died on April 5, 1997, ten years and a day after the Vidyadhara, by Deanna Dana.
Deanna Dana writes: The parinirvana anniversary date has just past. Over the years, many of us have been inspired to write poems about the Vidyadhara and our connection to him in early April. There is another man, one of Rinpoche’s students, who died just about the same date, but ten years later. Some of you may remember. To that bodhisattva, I offer this:
FIRE tiger from another century, gone now these eighteen years
All the howling done, kaddish prayed, tears wept, elegies sung,
mourners silent and assuaged, gone home, some crossed over as you yourself
into that new beginning where haply, they forget.
The energy that was you now transmuted into” what
Where Missed Mist.
Your dream-dripped words still spread, a bitter-sweet jam, across page after yellow as
FYPC* page of the thick book from the shelf.
Waiting words. Words awaiting the eyes of seekers after your truth, eyes applied
to the pages of your mind partly, they get it.
But the pages don’t express what feeling caught in your eyes when Whatshisname said
that your politics were naive. The pages can’t express that stare, that complication
of mind trying so hard to get through, to express clarity.
Your mind eager, restless, troubled by the suffering you had you mended.
Your mind ragged from having to chase Naomi, hold Naomi, turn Naomi over to the
hospital; ragged from being a little boy with a man’s responsibility.
Your mind mended with the interested regard of others, the fond regard of others, the
love of others whom you loved;
toughened by the hatred of others;
toughened by the labels hurled by heterobullies;
toughened with the win in court;
toughened with continued activism;
mended with work: the poems, the drive of poems, pleasure of successful poems,
the continuity of poems; pouring out everything into poems;
mended when you shat out your hatred;
mended when you taught others what you’d learned;
mended with meditation;
mended with contemplation;
mended with chanting and song;
mended through your generosity;
mended because you forgave and you loved;
mended through purpose and perseverance;
mended through your devotion.
Standing in the KCL serving area, plate of food in hand, you watched the flow of sangha
around you” thinking.
You appeared sallow, sick, skinny, shrunken, bald, bearded,
Old. Dying. Holy.
You propositioned a youth, a handsome young man who turned you down, but later
regretted it. “I could have been his last loveboy!”
Wearing out, you began to follow the examples of others who went before you”
your fire monkey mother, your fire hare teacher”
Still you endured. You stayed in your body all the way into spring,
the wood pig year completely gone, the new energy burning, burning.
Then, though you doubted that you could do it, the warrior that you were stepped
Fire into FIRE.
* A file folder title signifying faded, yellow press clippings.