Cosmology of Beat

Cosmology of Beat 

Rana Bose

In the Cosmology of Beat

            there are back-bent cars parked on roads, detritus beside lampposts.

Rooftops above the Five-spot, with curling smoke,


           rising from black-grey still-shots on walls of poetry on fire with desire,

uppermost in the narrow corridors of prized lofts,

           going for cheap.


Still-shots of a messiah standing slouched, 

           Spouting, pouting defiantly 

on Wooster and Bleecker,


Mumbling Sanskrit slokas

Le Sang des Poetes painted on the walls.


Leroi Baraka, 

           the lone gunfighter,

           pensive in a loft up there, or

standing in the wings or

           leaning against a piano 

           that weeps and faints,

           that weeps and faints

as he begins to recite-

           the tale of his baptism by bop,

           in a black and white space, 

           septic, surrounded 

 by Peter and Jack, 

           pounding on Underwoods

fuelled by whisky,

           with handwritten labels.


In the cosmology of Beat,

           there are black iron stairs,

           that escape to below

           that escape to below

where sulks a twist,

           at the end of a martini,

at the bottom

           of the glassy pit, empty,

           as muffled horns screech to a cued stop,

for jalapeno and chips

 and a squeeze break

 for the needy.


In the cosmology of Beat

           the mind sits,

armed only with a swizzle stick

Swirling the dust

           from the Buddhist tantra

That makes the cosmos

           sound like physics-

gone to shit.


In the cosmology of Beat

           there is hope,

that the hum and the swirl,

           And the chance that

           a sound will emerge

and bulbs will sway

           and faces will turn,

In corridors

where whispers and chants, 

Once did ricochet.


In the cosmology of beat,

           It is said that

           Beats will come

In technicolour, 

in ekta fuckachrome,

           beats from a bongo, a harp

a piano will bojangle-

           and bo-beep 

           from a sax on the edge of the metro,

           will tunnel down,

           will tunnel down,

and take you away

in a whoosh, 

far beyond

           any obsession with Om!



Five-spot: Five-spot Café (1956-67), a café and performance space in New York City that featured cutting edge bebop and progressive jazz and attracted a host of avant-garde artists and writers.

Wooster and Bleeker: an intersection of two famous streets near Washington Square, Greenwich Village.  Bleeker Street was once a major centre for American bohemia and remains an important nightclub district; Wooster is home to many boutiques, restaurants and cultural institutions including the The Performance Group (later the Wooster Group), an experimental theatre company.  

Peter and Jack: Peter Orlovsky and Jack Kerouac

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