Number Song

Notes on Sitting Beside a Nobel Corpse



Anne Waldman is an internationally known poet, performer, professor, editor, with strong personal links to the New York School, the Beat Literary Movement, and the experimental strands of the New American Poetry. She has also extended performance to new dimensions with her "modal structures" as in the celebrated "Pieces of An Hour" (for John Cage). She is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, a program she co-founded with poet Allen Ginsberg in 1974.

She is the author of over 30 books including, most recently, Vow To Poetry: Essays, Interviews & Manifestos, Coffee House Press, 2001) Marriage: A Sentence (Penguin Poets, 2000) the 20th anniversary edition of Fast Speaking Woman City Lights Books), Iovis: All Is Full of Jove: Books I & II (Coffee House Press), Kill or Cure (Penguin Poets). She is also the editor of The Beat Book (Shambhala Publications), and co-editor of Disembodied Poetics: Annals of The Jack Kerouac School (University of New Mexico Press). She was an Assistant Director (1966-1968) and the Director of the St. Mark's Poetry Project (1968-1978) and edited The World Anthology, Another World and Out of This World, compendiums of writing from The Poetry Project which included writings by three generations of cutting edge, and culturally active poets and writers.

She has also been on the guest faculty of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and advisor to the Prazska Skola Projekt in Prague. She was the director of curriculum for the Schule fur Dichtung in Vienna in Fall of 1999 (a decade-old program she helped develop) and has taught classes and workshops in literature, creative writing and performance for a number of other projects, universities, schools in the US and abroad. She has been a guest at recent festivals in London, Italy, Prague, Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico.

She has had books published in Italian and German and work translated into French, Turkish, and Czech. She is featured on the video, "Battle of The Bards" (Lannan Foundation) and "Eye In All Heads" (Phoebus Productions/Boulder). She is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and is a winner of The Shelley Memorial Award for poetry. She has recently released a CD of her poetry and songs co-produced with Steven Taylor entitled Alchemical Elegy: Selected Songs & Writings" and co-edited with Lewis Warsh The Angel Hair Anthology (Granary Books, 2001), an anthology of work from Angel Hair Magazine and Books, an alternative press of the 60s and 70s.

Also, she has collaborated and performed with jazz musician Steve Lacy, collaborated with composer and musician Steven Taylor, musician Mark Miller, dancers Barbara Dilley, Douglas Dunn, Lisa Kraut, and has worked collaboratively with artists Joe Brainard, George Schneeman, Red Grooms, Susan Rothenberg, Richard Tuttle and Elizabeth Murray, among others. She has been the Director of the Naropa Abroad Program to Bali, Indonesia and makes regular visits to that part of the world. She is a two-time winner of the International Poetry Championship Bout in Taos, New Mexico.

She traveled with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder revue in the 1970s, and recently performed at Town Hall in New York City in a Tribute for Bob Dylan's 60th birthday. She is a 2002 recipient of a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts.

Number Song

I've multiplied, I'm 2
He was part of me
he came out of me,
he took a part of me
He took me apart.
I'm 2, he's my art
no, he's separate.
He art one. I'm not
done & I'm still one.
I sing of my son. I've
multiplied. My heart's
in 2, half to him & half
to you,
who are alo a part
of him, & you & he
& I make trio of
kind congruity.

Notes on Sitting Beside a Nobel Corpse
- Light Breeze Stirring the Curtains, Blue - Faint Tremor of His Blue Shroud

Allen Ginsberg will never raise this body up,
go out board a shiny airplane travel
a thousand miles - Denver? - thousands - Milano?
to pump the harmonium -- how ecstatically he does this! -
chant OM NAMO SHIVAYA all ashes, all ashes again"

Allen Ginsberg will never sit across the street
hunched over Chinese noodle bowl,
the old professor stayed up late reading the young poet's poems

Allen Ginsberg will never meditate this body,
spine straight to heaven, holding up
the roof of the world on the bright orange cushion

Allen Ginsberg's eyes will never water again -
of tear gas, Bell's palsy, or flow on the
death of a guru, read Blake Shelley lines
to freeze your soul & you weep you weep
& the whole Naropa Disembodied Kerouac tent is weeping

Allen Ginsberg will never tell awkward teen boy
he's known since birth he's sexy again
from hospital bed, the boy stood at the window
while his mother sobbed
because Allen Ginsberg said he's dying today

Allen Ginsberg will never brush this corpse's thin hair,
get groomed, oil feet, brush teeth
(he's so conscientious!)
mix mushroom leeks & winter squash breakfast again

The telephone rings, Allen Ginsberg will never answer it again

Allen Ginsberg will never embarass China,
Russia, the White House, dead corrupt
presidents, Cuba, the C.I.A. Universe again

But Allen Ginsberg will ever ease the pain
of living with human song & story again
that's borne on wing's of perpetual prophecy -
life & death's a spiral!
He's mounting the stairs now with Vajra Yogini

Full Century's brilliant Allen's gone,
in other myriad forms live on
See through this palpable skull's tender eye,
kind mind kind mind don't die!