Saturday, August 2, 2014

Thoughts In Fort Lee

dekHarry Helmsley
[Leona Helmsley (1920-2007),  and Harry Helmsley (1909-1997) - Manhattan real-estate developers - "Diane and Roger Napoleon"?]

A previously-unpublished Allen Ginsberg poem?

Marc Olmsted, in his freshly-published scrapbook/memoir, Don't Hesitate - Knowing Allen Ginsberg, notes, “To my amazement, in editing this book, I realized this particular poem ["Thoughts In Fort Lee"]  had, to my knowledge, never been published, not even in Allen’s posthumous revised Collected Poems”. 
There are, of course, a number of such uncollected texts - "The Collected Poems", one must always remember, is not the same thing as "The Complete Poems" - Some of these fugitive writings will be gathered in the months ahead, and put together for a proposed collection. In the meantime, this typically Ginsbergian bio-metaphysical late rumination. Thanks, Marc    


Diane & Roger Napoleon’s real estate empire
extended up to the Napoleon Castle Hotel’s penthouse
stainless steel & gold doorknobs bathtubs bars & windowsills
But Roger got Alzheimers & couldn’t keep his money books
Diana went to jail for back taxes and cheating at cards
Lost control of her castle, lawyers ate her Empire.
She got sick and spend years maintaining her body,
skin growth, liver failure, kidney disturbances, upset stom-
But the castle of flesh ceased to function
She was left inside with her soul.
What is that? Where will it go? Who am I?
asked Napoleon in bed, eyes closing for the last time on
9/7/92   3PM

The sorrows of Boney, or meditations on the island of Elba. Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

oops! August 2 up-date! - a couple of eager readers have alerted us to the fact that this poem has been published before!  (as "News Stays News" in Cosmopolitan Greetings - page 103) - Red-faced, but we still feel ok about drawing your attention to it - (and also to Marc's highly personal and entertaining memoir).

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