Thursday, April 3, 2014
[Allen Ginsberg, Maretta Greer and Gary Snyder at The Human Be-In, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967 - Photograph by Leo Holub]
[Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Maretta Greer at the opening of Timothy Leary's Meditation Center, Hudson Street, New York City, 1967]
Maretta Greer, another of Allen's "girlfriends", his mantra teacher, spiritual goad, and sometime live-in companion, when she wasn't (as she was, a good deal of the time) wandering barefoot around India.
She'd left home at aged fifteen to become a saddhu.
Gordon Ball recalls glimpsing her in Allen's company, in 1966 at the Jonas Mekas Cinematheque:
"She was silent, slim, blonde and high-cheekboned, a small wool cap on her head, a big dark heavy coat from neck down. Lips tightly closed, head and back erect, she moved slowly, deliberately, quietly, sternly, a crane among ostriches. She was Maretta Greer, back from many months among saddhus in India, Pakistan, Tibet. Someone in the crowded linoleum-floored lobby whispered, "She knows Tibetan!".
They met when she had just returned from an Indian sojourn, in 1964. Maretta came round and introduced herself.
She famously stood on stage between Gary Snyder and Allen in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and led the chanting in the 1967 Human Be-In
Here's Maretta singing "Hare Krishna" with/for The Fugs, alongside Allen, in 1967, on the album Tenderness Junction
Ed Sanders recalls her sorry state only a year or so later:
"It was a snowy January day. I was at Peace Eye (bookstore). All of a sudden a cab stopped and Maretta Greer stepped out, fresh from JFK airport.There she was barefoot in the snow, the cab speeding away. She'd been deported from India. She was trembling with excitement, quite beautiful...She was trembling and distraught. I invited her into the store. She was hallucinating. She pointed at the store desk and said, "They are caught in the Transylvanian Transvestite Time Trap!"..
Allen's perhaps less generous confidence to Gordon Ball - " Her problem is she thinks wherever she is is her own private garden"
That's a problem?