On the Death of Peter Orlovsky. ~ Anne Waldman
“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 guru padma siddhi hum in crystal voice said “don’t be afraid”.
Joined in. Last breaths, 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
Psychiatrists Convention Jan. 14. 1966 – Velvet Underground First Public Appearance(super 8 films). Lou Reed & Velvet underground;
At the Dom on 8th Street (Manhattan) april 1966
Village Gate June 7. 1966
Barbara Rubin, Tuli Kupferberg, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Ed Sanders, Gerard Malanga, Andy Warhol.(Storm De Hirsch)
From Chuck Lief:
“Peter died this morning at 11:30 am. We are working on the funeral arrangements now, which will take place at the Karme Choling Meditation Center in Barnet. Vermont. Most likely on Wednesday June 2. Judy and I—and particularly Peter—appreciate all your support and good wishes.”
Thanks to Chuck and Judy for taking such good care of Peter, and thanks to Peter for loving Allen, for all the poetry and song and organic vegetables, and for being so sweet to me when I was a kid-poet. Goodbye, dear Peter. ~ Steve Silberman
Please send prayers, metta (loving-kindness), and good thoughts to Peter Orlovsky.
Got this heartening news from Peter Hale today. Chuck Lief, the wonderful member of Allen and Peter’s sangha who is taking care of Peter, also left a note on the Our Allen wall.
Love beams to Peter.
Just heard that they were able to get him to Vermont today. He improved enough in the night that travel was acceptable. He’s now checked in to the Hospice, and as Chuck put it “The contrast from Boston is incredible. The staff is exceptional and the Doctor is perfect for this stage. All about comfort care and dignity.” Seems to have improved Peter’s mood immensely. Still no telling how long he’ll last, but at least he’s in a very comfortable situation.
You could write him at Vermont Respite House, 99 Allen Brook Lane, Williston, VT 05495-2102. From what I gather hearing from people really does help.
A sad update about Allen’s comrade and our friend Peter Orlovsky. Please keep him in your thoughts and meditations. Let’s send him a big out-breath of love and appreciation. ~ Love, Steve Silberman
Peter Orlovsky, long time companion of the late Allen Ginsberg, and longtime Naropa poet and Dharma maverick is in critical condition. Chuck and Judy Lief are attending to him. This message below is from Peter Hale, Director of the Ginsburg Trust: Respite House is a hospice.
~ via Ellen Pearlman
Dear folks, just got this from Chuck Lief,
“Peter has taken a serious turn for the worse. His right lung is basically not functioning and he has developed pneumonia. Not clear how stable we can get him. Judy and I are en route to Boston. If we can do it we are still going to bring him to Respite House tomorrow, one of us in the ambulance. But we may not have that choice.
If you want to let people know this would be a good time to direct thoughts to Peter.”
A contextual note from ele editor Waylon Lewis: Peter Orlovsky was the charming, wild, nutsy, sweet longtime partner to poet Allen Ginsberg. I grew up knowing him in Boulder, Colorado and later at Karme Choling in Vermont, and he was never anything but sweet, and charming. Our elephant community love and best wishes to him right now. Most photos from Allen Ginsberg dot org: