For Allen Ginsberg

By X J Kennedy b. 1929
Ginsberg, Ginsberg, burning bright,   
Taunter of the ultra right,   
What blink of the Buddha’s eye   
Chose the day for you to die?

Queer pied piper, howling wild,
Mantra-minded flower child,   
Queen of Maytime, misrule’s lord   
Bawling, Drop out! All aboard!

Finger-cymbaled, chanting Om,
Foe of fascist, bane of bomb,
Proper poets’ thorn-in-side,
Turner of a whole time’s tide,

Who can fill your sloppy shoes?
What a catch for Death. We lose
Glee and sweetness, freaky light,
Ginsberg, Ginsberg, burning bright.

Kennedy, X.J. “For Allen Ginsberg” from The Lords of Misrule: Poems 1922-2001. © 2002 X.J. Kennedy. Reproduced with permission of The John Hopkins University Press.

Source: Poetry (June 1998).


This poem originally appeared in the June 1998 issue of Poetry magazine

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June 1998
 X J Kennedy


Joseph Kennedy, better known to his readers by the pseudonym X. J. Kennedy, is a self-confessed "schizophrenic" as regards his writings. Kennedy noted to Contemporary Authors that "I write for three separate audiences: children, college students (who use textbooks), and that small band of people who still read poetry." But there is unity in all of Kennedy's writings—underlying it is a love of poetry and meter, a playfulness . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Poetry & Poets, Death, Living, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Elegy, Couplet, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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