The Craziest Reading Ever

by George Green

George Green

was Weiners and Orlovsky at the Church.
Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg’s Russian boyfriend,
was an oddball friend of mine from the neighborhood
who sold hot bikes and copped amphetamine
in front of my apartment on First Avenue.
At the church he only read about feces removal,

trucks hauling tons and tons of fecal matter
or sewage sludge, to monofills upstate.
Peter, you see, was certifiable,
and so was Weiners, the poet we’d come to hear,
who’d packed the church right up to the sacred rafters,
and who wouldn’t read, just stood there at the mic

and mumbled gibberish. “Read your poems John!”
yelled Allen Ginsberg, gruffly, for John had played
the same bughouse routine two years before,
coming without his teeth and refusing to read,
although this time his clothes were even goofier,
bat-collared paisley shirt and camel bell bottoms,

and he was sipping wine from a plastic cup,
which wouldn’t mix well with his medications,
if he had even taken his medications,
but we loved him, anyhow, though he wouldn’t read.
At Ginsberg’s funeral I felt just like
an FBI man sweating in his suit,

because I wasn’t like the other beatniks there,
and felt his poems were vastly overrated.
So during the eulogy when Peter crept up
to give me a kindly Buddhist back massage,
which made some of the mourners smile at us,
I wanted to announce that I had come

only to take attendance, and not to honor
Johnny Depp’s and Madonna’s favorite poet,
and that Peter and I were valiant castaways
who’d met as customers before the precinct purge
of Flacco and the dealers, who ruled for years
with chaos all the courtyards and the rooftops and the hallways.

Last updated August 19, 2022