Diane Di Prima – “July 28, 2000” (2000)

October 27, 2008 at 9:54 am (Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

so I am printing out poems to send to the 26 magazines who want them
or say they do
I figure I’d better get on it while I have the time
my book is done
at Viking even now getting messed with in unthinkable ways
and I have the time and I better use it
yesterday I went to visit a friend who’s dying and that always reminds me
get the poems out while you can, youknow
and everything else for that matter
not to mention I had a dream last night that wasn’t so good

so I am printing out poems and the phone rings and it’s someone from the Examiner
and only this morning I read the Examiner will soon be extinct so I wonder
how the guy feels about that and I pick up the receiver
he says he heard Gregory Corso died last night and he wants a quote
they always want a quote and usually I ignore them
but this time I say he had the greatest lyric gift of any of them
Allen, Jack
and the greatest innate genius

yeah says the guy but you know genius and discipline don’t often go together
I have discipline the guy says but no genius
I am finished printing a poem to Sharon Doubiago and want to get on with it
before we all drop dead, you know? so I tell him to call Allen’s office
Allen will still have an office after we’re all gone
and that office will always have quotes for everything I am so grateful
and he wants to know about Gregory’s time in San Francisco
and I tell him to call City Lights and then I hang up

by this time my printer is spitting out old haikus
I only have 68 poems and 25 magazines want them or say they do
and I want to send at least three poems to each, so they’ll have a choice
and I’m trying to figure this out when the guy calls back he says
he got thru to Allen Ginsberg’s office and the woman who answered
said only “He Breathes!”
that’s good I said and I thought about Ray Bremser
and Jack Micheline, and my friend in Mill Valley and all the rest
me too, soon “She Breathes No Longer” they’ll say and somebody
will mention my lyric gift but no discipline
and what a bitch I was so I get my sweater
and go to the Asian/American Restaurant, it’s Chinese/Peruvian actually
but suddenly I decide I don’t want to leave the house
so I cook some pasta and think about Gregory breathing and I write this
while the pasta is getting cold
and I can’t help it I wish I could give him some ziti with summer sauce
and Sara Raffetto my friend breathing not so good
Allen too
and he wasn’t even Italian

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