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






Reading Your Last Book, Fame & Death



Into the chophouse incinerator we go,


It's a Wednesday night


in a week of rain


I've just come from the hospital


where I had the greatest rest


in years-a real vacation:


frequent naps and three squares a day



I'm back with the same


medicine as you for the failing heart


and watch through your eyes unflinching


the round of events your last days, Fame & Death-


reality jostled by the finite witness, the bundle of


synapses, the no more with this ego


come what may.



To circle and circle your head in the photo


with my fingers, like rubbing your stomach


in the old days, intimacy


not entirely forgotten,


Old lover, you said as you signed my book,


I might say, lover, teacher, friend,


and look toward my own gaze through the fabric


at what was real, what is not, the who I ams


that might not climb again, best the uphill


slope, or swallow without hesitation


the final nothing at the top.



The body slides back,


a memory in the egg of the void;


to be quit of all this-reminded


in the medicines of the need for constancy,


a mothering of the heart-I  turn to your last days,


your dream with Peter, your vision


of historic funeral with the lovers talking,



The starry nursery rhymes of a bright old child.


How dapper you look in those clothes-


the shirt from Goodwill, the cashmere scarf:


a well dressed bard.


I love these last words,


this last time with you unencumbered


by futures, a last little human time.



Willow, NY, June 2006



[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Janine_Pommy_Vega.htm.]