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Kaddish, Part I
For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, talking,
talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening toRay Charles blues
shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm--and your memory in my head three years after--
And read Adonais' last triumphant stanzas aloud--wept, realizing
how we suffer--
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember,
prophesy as in theHebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of An-
swers--and my own imagination of a withered leaf--at dawn--
Dreaming back thru life, Your time--and mine accelerating toward Apoca-
lypse,
the final moment--the flower burning in the Day--and what comes after,
looking back on the mind itself that saw an Americancity
a flash away, and the great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom
Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed--
like a poem in the dark--escaped back to Oblivion--
No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream,
trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screamingwith it, buying and selling pieces of phantom, worship-
ping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all--longing or inevitability?--while it
lasts, a Vision--anything more?
It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder,
Seventh Avenue, the battlements of windowoffice buildings shoul-
dering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant--and
the sky above--an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south, to--as I walk toward the Lower East Side
--where you walked 50 years ago, little girl--from Russia, eating the
first poisonous tomatoes of Americafrightened on the dock
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what?--toward
Newark--
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned ice
cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards--
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school,and learning to be mad, in a dream--what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window--and the great Key lays its head of light
on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the
sidewalk--in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward
the Yiddish Theater--and the place of povertyyou knew, and I know, but without caring now--Strange to have moved
thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstops doors and dark boys on
the street, firs escapes old as you
--Tho you're not old now, that's left here with me--
Myself, anyhow,maybe as old as the universe--and I guess that dies with
us--enough to cancel all that comes--What came is gone forever
every time--
That's good! That leaves it open for no regret--no fear radiators, lacklove,
torture even toothache in the end--
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul--and...
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