Bone Ornaments & Mirrors

Richard Arthure

Cover: Vajra Yogini by Gurmi Lama

40 pp., 2003



—for Allen Ginsberg


At age 20 I first read HOWL and a tremor ran through underground student union potsmoke

acid-test Beatle brewed cities from Newcastle to London to Paris and back.

Oh shock of recognition and Baudelairean ecstasy, hearing the true and vibrant

voice of America not to go unheard by this sick sad planet.

In 1961 at Byre Theatre in St. Andrews, Scotland, I read Beat poems at midnight

to stunned excited audience. Xmas teeth! They loved it and howled for more,

though heaven knows it wasn't exactly the best minds of my generation saved by sanity.

Traveling with Chogyam Trungpa to India in 1968 in Benares by holy Ganges

we encountered crazed and awe-struck hippy pilgrim pointing to the very spot—

right here, man, see—

where Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky got stoned with the sadhus.

At sacred cave of Paro Tagtsang in Bhutan saw vision of New York skyline

and knew that I would come to north America, and came choiceless to New York

blown by wind of karma in 1970, year of Kent State massacre Black Panther riots

while Trungpa came to Montreal apartment adorned with poster of Einstein

and you, Allen, sporting stars and stripes and sandwich board of legalize pot.

That summer on burning Manhattan sidewalk outside Museum of Modern Art samurai movie 

black-bearded poet in a hurry, you stole our taxi, Allen the famous cab-thief rushing.

Two days later you came to meet Trungpa Rinpoche at Dawn's 5th floor walk-up lower

 East  Side apartment and we chanted—or rather sang —the Sadhana of Mahamudra

 harmoniumized with chords.


March of 73 you gave me The Fall of America inscribed

“For Kunga Dawa, dirty liar in thanks for lies,

       Bodhisattva Compassion to my suffering sweat, Love Allen Ginsberg. AH.”

Link in chain of ten-things-lead-to-another—pratityasamutpada—and who knows what

occasional karmic encounters at TV studios and Dharma gatherings across America.

 Now ten more years have passed and we are somewhat slowed down fellow travelers

on Dharma and Shambhala path. You have become Bodhisattva bard

who gave meditation instruction to Chinese interpreter,

gentler by far than what you were, shinjanged, patient and generous beyond belief

to Naropa students and assorted Dharma bums from Boulder to Bangkok,

from Beijing to New Delhi traveling electric neon poetry highways from minarets of

Moscow to Prague to Istanbul, Rome, London, New York, San Francisco

legacy of Blake and Whitman visionary cocksucker poet for this suffering planet.

Another decade slips away and last night in Alfalfa's grocery apparently by chance

we met again—one more link in the cosmic karmic chain of auspicious coincidence.

You had bags of fresh vegetables, more than you could carry,

and I was able to be your taxi driver, watch while you cut up leeks with practiced hand,

listen while you praised the leafy carrot tops, chopped them into your stainless-steel cauldron,

Allen the alchemist, stirring life-enhancing soup, organic ingredients, macrobiotic,

big life, big fish in Naropa pond, grain of sand in big universe, proud pedophiliac,

impossible hide under bed, humble practitioner, always good friend.


Welcome back, Allen,

welcome Dharma brother,

writing whatever needs to be written,

teaching whatever needs to be taught,

singing whatever needs to be sung

without doubt.  AH  AH  AH


for Allen Ginsberg, clean soothsayer, with thanks forsooth.






Instead of doing the laundry

I’ll sit on a red zafu

And watch my thoughts go round and round







                      Meditating on emptiness

                      Spilled tea on the zabutan

                      Cup not as empty as I’d thought








                                              Fat cloud floating up there

                                              Just too damn lazy

                                                To write a poem