People Who Died

By Ted Berrigan 1934–1983 Ted Berrigan
Pat Dugan……..my grandfather……..throat cancer……..1947.
 
Ed Berrigan……..my dad……..heart attack……..1958.
 
Dickie Budlong……..my best friend Brucie’s big brother, when we were
                                                        five to eight……..killed in Korea, 1953.
 
Red O’Sullivan……..hockey star & cross-country runner
                                                who sat at my lunch table
                                                            in High School……car crash…...1954.
 
Jimmy “Wah” Tiernan……..my friend, in High School,
                                       Football & Hockey All-State……car crash….1959.
 
Cisco Houston……..died of cancer……..1961.
 
Freddy Herko, dancer….jumped out of a Greenwich Village window
     in 1963.
 
Anne Kepler….my girl….killed by smoke-poisoning while playing
                                    the flute at the Yonkers Children’s Hospital                         
                                    during a fire set by a 16 year old arsonist….1965.
 
Frank……Frank O’Hara……hit by a car on Fire Island, 1966.
 
Woody Guthrie……dead of Huntington’s Chorea in 1968.
 
Neal……Neal Cassady……died of exposure, sleeping all night
                                            in the rain by the RR tracks of Mexico….1969.
 
Franny Winston……just a girl….totalled her car on the Detroit-Ann Arbor
                                    Freeway, returning from the dentist….Sept. 1969.
 
Jack……Jack Kerouac……died of drink & angry sickness….in 1969.
 
My friends whose deaths have slowed my heart stay with me now.

Ted Berrigan, "People Who Died" from The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan. Copyright © 2007 by Ted Berrigan. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Selected Poems (Penguin Books, 1994)

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Poet Ted Berrigan 1934–1983

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Elegy

Biography

Ted Berrigan—Edmund Joseph Michael Berrigan Jr.—was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the oldest of three children of Margaret Dugan and Edmund Berrigan, the chief engineer at Ward’s Baking Company. On both sides the family was Irish Catholic. Berrigan attended local schools and entered Providence College, a local Catholic school, but left after a year and enlisted in the army.

Berrigan was sent to Korea in 1954 but never saw . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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