Archive for ginsberg

Beat Memior #5 by Marc Olmsted (with Richard Modiano)

Posted in Beat Memior, Marc Olmsted with tags , on August 4, 2012 by Scot

In November 1977, old friend Richard Modiano, out from New York, hitched up from L.A. after visiting his mother.  Richard has kept a meticulous journal since his teenage years, and frankly these memories are far more detailed than my own…

…I let myself in and took a shower. Around 4:30 phonecall from Allen Ginsberg for Marc I answered and took a message.  I told Marc when he got home and he phoned back and sd we meet Ginsberg at City Lights and should leave soon (…) At the Bookstore we met Ginsberg and with Bob {Sherrard} we went to the Savoy-Tivoli to meet Neeli {Cherkovski}. {Bob and Neelie were an item then – MO}.  On the way we met Jack Micheline who drunkenly stopped Ginsberg to recite a poem.  Ginsey listened patiently and sd “Better write it down so you don’t forget.” On the way over we talked about Martin Duberman’s play about Kerouac which only Bob and myself had read, both of us thought it was bad. Ginsberg had read Duberman’s book about Black Mountain College, good gossip but said {Black Mountain instructor Robert} Creeley had objections.

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THE BEAT MEMOIR pt. 4 By Marc Olmsted

Posted in Beat Memior, Marc Olmsted with tags , on June 10, 2012 by Scot


Allen invited me to see Burroughs, January 1977, when I was visiting NYC.


As you may know, Burroughs’ residence at 222 Bowery was nicknamed the Bunker.  It was a converted YMCA, and had literally no windows.  The walls were painted white with tiny minimalist art like old colleague Brion Gysin’s, the door was shiny steel.  I thought it was definitely a great space and safe shelter, then and now.  Various young cats were hanging out with Bill at a big table like you’d see in a conference room, like James Grauerholz, his longtime secretary and now-platonic companion.  Burroughs was extremely gregarious in this environment – a few drinks in him, some weed, he was a hilarious story teller.

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A Beat Memior by Marc Olmsted

Posted in Marc Olmsted with tags , on May 27, 2012 by Scot


Then, most important, lovers over half-century/.…
“He taught me to meditate, now I’m an old veteran of the thousand day retreat –”
–  imagining his funeral, Allen Ginsberg’s “Death & Fame”

Phonecall 2 AM –
the famous old
poet, friend for
23 years,
calls to
tell me he may
be dead in
a month – terminal
liver cancer –
result of Hepatitis
C –
“You’ve been so good
to me over all
these years” he says
I’m startled
“You’ve been so
good to me.”
“Then it’s been
a good thing.”…

-(excerpted “BONES” from my What Use Am I a Hungry Ghost?: Poems from Three Year Retreat)


At the back of the bar was Bob Kaufman, legendary black Beat poet that I’m not sure I was aware of yet.  He was quite loaded and seemed quite mad.  “Allen!  Allen!” he shouted across the room, and sat down on the floor of the bar, reciting a poem from memory.  It was mostly incoherent to me, except for something about the ancient pagan god Dagon.  Ginsberg listened attentively with one finger raised and pressed against his lips.   It was a characteristic gesture I would see countless times.  When Bob was done, Allen turned to me and said, “Good poem.”  Kaufman suddenly leered at me, “You’re with Big Daddy, huh?”  I probably blushed, but in fact I was terrified.

We walked in the cool North Beach night, 1974..  Allen said, “I’d kinda like to sleep with you.”  I confessed that I’d “never experienced sodomy.”  He said not to worry.  He later told me that hearing me use the word “sodomy” gave him quite a thrill.

I arrived with Allen in Shig Murao’s apartment on Grant Street.  Shig had been busted for being behind the cashier at City Lights bookstore when Howl was initially confiscated.  He was a very kindly Japanese hippie who made himself scarce in the second floor apartment.  The place was mostly bookcases full of first editions.  After looking at some of my poems and making kind remarks, Allen signed Yage Letters for me as an intro to Burroughs (who was coming to town to read) and suggested I touch Bill’s heart when I met him.

Allen and I retired.  He showed me how Neal Cassady would let him screw him, which was facing me and thrusting between my legs.  Afterwards we lay together.   “Don’t be mean to me,” he said.  And we slept.

In the morning, he taught me Buddhist sitting, both of us naked and facing the bookcase on Shig’s tatami mats, awareness of my outbreath dissolving into space.


Teenager 20 – nearly gave up writing after running into academy wall of college – same old story: your mind ain’t o.k. as is – met Allen Ginsberg who gave permission – sanctity of the ordinary-basic haiku moment, H. Miller’s matchstick in gutter, Howl’s holy bum and asshole refined through Buddhist practice – everything’s o.k. but we still need discipline – I was big confused pain early 20’s, later relaxed due mainly to that original permission, a meadow for me to see I didn’t have to be tortured, though took a good 10 years and will always be a mess, probably, still in better shape than that kid who first saw him lead drunken Trungpa Rinpoche to stage – Ginsberg’s contribution: beyond poetry, politics, to show the space of mind both exist in, where problems unravel, poetry rises and self lets go – a chance for us all to the last outbreath.

– My contribution to Best Minds: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg, 1986 (for his 60th birthday)

Beat Memior ( part 2) By Marc Olmsted

Posted in Beat Memior, Marc Olmsted with tags , , , on May 12, 2012 by Scot


By Marc Olmsted

Costanzo Allione, Italian documentary filmmaker and future husband of meditation teacher Tsultrim Ewing (They met here for the first time), was shooting what became a great film on ’78 Naropa, Fried Shoes, Cooked Diamonds.  Beat translator Nanda Pivano came along.  She was the connection between Allione and Ginsberg, and had set up this meeting in Ginsberg’s apartment.  Allione was in Allen’s apartment with his crew catching the conversation of Burroughs, Timothy Leary and of course Ginsberg himself.  Part of the time, I was also running around with a Super 8 camera making what would become my short collage American Mutant.  Gregory came in with his 16mm camera and announced, “I’m gonna shoot everybody’s feet.”  And proceeded to do so.

The  film crew caught me over Burroughs’ shoulder.

The New Wave hip look came up again when this interesting queer had wrangled his way into Allen’s kitchen to hang with Leary.  The guy had a weird sort of glam look, not quite on the money with it – but he was clearly not a hippie even with Prince Valiant hair – maybe it was vague eye make-up or his clothes, but it was some different quality that was glitter queer like the New York Dolls (whom I didn’t even know about yet and were actually straight anyway).

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Posted in Marc Olmsted with tags , , , on April 29, 2012 by Scot


In San Francisco, November 1981, Ginsberg was going to read at On Broadway in North Beach, (directly above the legendary punk club, Mabuhay Gardens) and invited my New Wave band The Job to back him up.  Gregory Corso was also on the bill.  Bob Kaufman, the black poet of the North Beach bar Dagon poem recitation of my “first date” with Allen some years prior, had come along with Gregory.  Kaufman shuffled about like an electroshock causality, barely speaking.  Kaufman was badly beaten by the police years earlier and may have suffered some brain damage as a result.  By all accounts he was functioning normally until the police roust.

We all met backstage and Corso was cantankerous, “You young rock & rollers are just in it for the gold.”  I thought to myself, “If we are, I’ve yet to see it.”  I was splitting $90.00 between 5 band members, albeit more money than we usually saw.  He thought my friend Paul Stiver was a “Rolling Stone [magazine] shmuck,” as we stood back stage with the girl interviewer who shrank into the corner during this tirade.  I worried that Gregory might do anything, wander onstage, disrupt the band etc. Allen agreed this could very well happen with Gregory, but it would be alright.  I only half-got this “crazy wisdom” teaching, but I accepted it.  And Gregory behaved himself (special thanks to Richard Modiano’s journal in getting the details of this memory correct).

Allen told the band last minute that we could go on after his reading and play a few songs.  I had gotten completely soused (as opposed to functionally soused) thinking I was done for the night.  On top of that, the drummer had wandered away, clearly bored with the poetry.  He was found downstairs in the Mab.  At one point I was rushing down those stairs to run into Michael McClure walking up – he paid me a compliment about the band and I thanked him but told him I had to find the drummer pronto.  McClure frowned that I didn’t stop to chat – I had apparently fucked up with him yet again.

When we opened with a song I was so drunk that I forgot the lyrics.  I could only make up phonetic noises with vowels and consonants.  No one noticed.  After Allen and Gregory left, the energy of the remaining mob was barely containable anyway.  We did 3 or 4 songs and begged off.  While Richard watched the pre-show with Paul and the show itself and the final aftermath, Paul told him, “this would make a great Robert Altman film.”


Allen Ginsberg said “MARC OLMSTED inherited Burroughs’ scientific nerve & Kerouac’s movie-minded line nailed down with gold eyebeam in San Francisco.” Olmsted has appeared in CITY LIGHTS JOURNAL, NEW DIRECTIONS IN PROSE & POETRY, OUTLAW BIBLE OF AMERICAN POETRY, SIGNS OF LIFE (a Manic D Press anthology), PROCESSED WORLD, Flesh Eater Chris D’s BONGO CHALICE, BLUE SATELLITE and a variety of small presses. His work includes two books, MILKY DESIRE (Subterranean Press, 1991) and RÉSUMÉ (Inevitable Press, 1998).

Birdbrain by Allen Ginsberg with Marc Olmsted and the Job

Posted in Allen Ginsberg, Marc Olmsted with tags on April 29, 2012 by Scot

From the above account–This is pure Ginsberg–November 1981

Click Here to listen