Philip Whalen

Philip Whalen passed away June 26, 2002
A Zen Buddhist memorial service will be held for Zenshin Philip Whalen
at Green Gulch Farms and Zen Center on Sunday, September 1 at 2:30 p.m.
Richard Baker Roshi officiating; there will be a chance for appreciations.
Green Gulch is located at 1601 Shoreline Hwy (Highway 1) just south of Muir Beach.

Feel free to submit a memory or devotion.


John Aiello * Charles Plymell * Valery Oisteanu * Eddie Watkins * Mary Sands

Bonnie Finberg * Jay Larson * Lawrence Carradini


Photograph copyrighted by Larry Keenan
Photograph copyrighted by Larry Keenan

 

 

FOR PHILIP WHALEN

"What an unholy curse, now, for a poet to go blind & lose his eyes! And what can we do? Just gather there beside your bed, try not to weep, reading this last book of poems to you --"

I.

6-26-2002:

Advisory over
The computer
(relates)
That Whalen
Has perished.
The death
Of yet
(another)
Marked man
Is done
(retreating)
To my desk
(gone)
Back into
The webs
(of)
The past
(I)
Went back
To read
A poem
(writ)
Over 14
Months ago
(written)
In anticipation
Of this
Very moment

("You)
Wrote Whalen's memorial
That long ago?"

"I dreamed
The story,
Then wrote
The electric whisper
(of)
The river down
In words-":

II.

Philip Whalen
(now)
Dead too
(great)
Old graybeard scribe
(succumbed)
To tabernacles
Of blindness
(in)
The spirit mist
Of the still
Blue morning

("everything)
Has its end
(animal)
Or man
(we)
Live these
Infinite fists
Of time
(according)
To predetermined schedules
(pre)
Defined limits
(when)
The blossoms separate
From the stem,
You're gone
(reclaiming)
The shape
Of some
Secondary 'form'
(twisting)
Into sacred realms
Of wind
(dimension)
Without proportion
(naked)
Into the mouths
Of invisible worlds
(where)
The light reigns
(no)
More fear
Of darkness"
(now):

III.

Whalen is dead
(and)
A vast community
Of poets
(mourn)
The human memory
Of his body
(but)
If he were
Still here tonight
(he'd)
Most likely flash
The butterfly knives
Of both eyes
(perfect)
In counter
Clockwise motion
(whispering):

"When it's
Your time
(go)
Forth willingly
(brave)
With big
Golden heart
(following)
In step
With God
((there)
Gone back
(un)
To the last
Holy place
(there)
Beside the icy
White-foaming water
(wrapped)
In an endless
Blue hood
Of stars-"

--John Aiello;
Midnight, 6-26-2002:
This the day of Whalen's death--


Philip Whalen, Charles Plymell, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Philip Whalen, Charles Plymell, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
1963, outside City Lights Bookstore

 

 

Phil Whalen's City

I was on Sandoz or Owsley/ panicked in '63
Found my way to Phil's house/ he gave me tea
Gave me his Blake book/entered his little garden
He gently pushed my head down to a flower
I walked back home in a new kind of power.

--Charles Plymell


The Paradox of Self & Other
     to Philip Whalen

Invisible zen-detective rides the dragon boat
In search of Buddha's from Ch'ing Dynasty
With the shadow of Gertrude Stein
To the Temple of the Rehabilitation of Dreams
A Modern Agnostic Rationalist?
Buddhist with Beat connections
Poet with organic intensity
Drinking his heavenly Tea
Immortality surging from the depth
Buddha university in space
Philip sleeps on a white Lotus.

--Valery Oisteanu


Already on the other shore
where did you go from here?

The light you shed on things still sings.

--Eddie Watkins


You were never a big vegetable
unless vegetables are great men
on mountains

                                with hats

--Mary Sands


He sang the unstruck note,
and fell into the weather,
long since reconciled
to shadow storms.
He promised something once,
forgot, lost among
scented memories
that tax the mind
until the heart breaks.

--Bonny Finberg


dear friend:

words came

wet with impernament tears
phillip whalen's glasses are
empty

i didn't know
     i had missed the final date
proof of silence
               and innocence

--Jay Larson


Disquieting Muse

     for Philip Whalen

I can¹t hear you.
The phone keeps feeling
for something steady, while

everything else
is change.
I pick up the receiver

and hold it
like an ice pop
to my ear.

     About the republic -
History is an explanation.
Bananas fall from oak
trees, and rise
from the center of our
galaxy, shooting stars,
away. Our galaxy is less
than what we
see, though we see only our self
and that is not the world.
It is
a planet
    We¹ve never spoken,

yet I will miss your no more words
and eat the ones you¹ve left.
The phone will feel for something

steady, while everything else
is
change.

I
Can
hear you.

--Lawrence Carradini

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