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Shivaratri 1979 by Ira Cohen

‘The tongue of a water buffalo is big & covered with straw’

Shivaratri 1979 by Ira CohenThis is a big poem full of tourists  & cameras set on tripods,
this is a poem seen from bamboo scaffolding of the Golden Temple’
a poem with one hand reaching up out of the earth counting on a rosary—
This is a poem of lost children looking for money.
a poem trying to hold a split bag of rice in a moving crowd,
this is a poem burning like charas in the pipe of a friend,
a poem of Shivaratri carried on staggering legs to see the king,
this is a poem striving towards the light sparked from the heart of Basudeb,
this is a poem which wants to tie itself around your neck like the skinny legs of The Man of the Sea—
this is a poem interrupted by elephantiasis,
this is a poem leaning against a temple wall drawing energy from the sun,
this is a poem smiling with no nose,
a poem reluctant to sing,
Ira Cohen in Kathmandu 1978-1979a trident of a poem aimed at your pineal,
this is a poem of pilgrimage,
an offering of struck bells to a dead dog in the river—
This is a poem looking down on pagodas,
this is a poem waiting for opium.
this is a poem of suicided sadhus
surrounded by trees in a foreign land,
anonymous as the voice on the loudspeaker,
this is an anonymous poem covered with birds….

(george farrow scanned the poem & wrote: “108 copies of this poem were published by Ira on hand made Nepali rice paper. I still have two copies given to me by Ira at that time”).

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