H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






The Dharma At Last


longdead in his dream the boys leap

                  one by one over the cliff into the wild splash

                                    & the singing current—the tow pulling them


                  down into green dark & silt where the sunken

trees fell & were pinned as well, great black

                  branches looming up in the murk, fish tearing


                                    the guts of whitened & bloated corpses as

                  their eyes stared, marbled spheres like moons

glowing in the dark.  by night, the water clears, the


                  shadow moon reflects off the pale carcasses—

                                    & he is awake, panting, the moon shining

                  thru his midnight window.  he hears the voices of


thousands singing & weeping as police line up

                  & swat batons swat batons swat batons & march

                                    march march into the now-screaming singers,


                  their ranks breaking—the one-eyed bard chanting

for calm—the ranks all fled, he left alone to sweat on

                  a factory floor, in a madhouse swabbing urinals.  now


                                    the dreams are all moonlit, no destination

                  & yet this weary traveler sings in his passing

steps, careless in the theatre of stars where the dead


                  walk with him daily, nightly, old companions

                                    urging him to rest as even days grow darker,

                  the news ever more ominous.  he must consider


the sleek craft of his final voyages, the turns in his

                  last river, the song he will compose to take him

                                    beyond his last lay to sing in dreams where


                  his companions fled, to learn to walk among

the living like a shadow in the daylight of

                  their certainties, waiting for them to leap at last.



[Originally published in NHS 2001, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs01/cope.html.]