7 reflections for jim carroll

~a poem i wrote for my friend/inspiration jim carroll shortly after his passing on to the other side on september 11, 2009.

love, life and peace to you. [poet billy lamont]~

LINK TO POEM : https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/jimcarroll/2fauoDD2qFg

7 reflections for jim carroll by billy lamont                February 9. 2010 

1. inspiration 

in a sweaty upstairs apartment 
of a small cape in east northport, long island 
on scorching hot 90 degree summer days in 1989 
two young men feverishly play vinyl records 
and pray for their inspirations- 
u2, the alarm, the beatles, patti smith, the doors, skinny puppy 
and the jim carroll band 
a yound poet screams his lyrics into a microphone and a sound effects 
until he no longer has a voice, or is he finding his voice? 
the toxic banana's guitar is cranked up 
distortion and effects pedals color the notes blazing through the 
on fire with the passion of a new dream, to give hope 
happy nightmare! 

2. a poet 

when you first start out 
no one tells you about the loneliness 
essential to being a poet 
perhaps it is buried in the pages of an old baudelaire book 
the poem "the albatross" 
that a sexy young lover once gave me 
few tell you the price of such illumination 
of living so passionately and without boundaries 
like you jim 
"the cost of such height and vision 
while secretly wishing you were down in the stadium with others" 
but driven to write so tirelessly through the night 
to form the perfect couplet 
skillfully chiseling the words of a new poem 
from left over postmodern iron and steel 
without the luxury of marble in this robot naked culture 
no one chooses to be a writer 
a writer has to write 
and if he is not allowed to; he will write even more 
ferociously and desperately 

with expression 
and heart 
the blessing and a curse 
jim, you did it all 
shined light on the alleyway sufferings 
and shouted it off new york city rooftops 
and kept us laughing with your backstreets humor 
all the while 

jim, i'm remebering you today 
a new york poet, diarist, musician- a brilliant artist 
an early inspiration that metamorphosis' into an acquaintance/friend 
i'm remembering you today 
as i sit and drink this cup of coffee 
in this lonely existential cafe 
on a freezing february afternoon in 2010 
i will always remember you... 

jim, you never were some warhol art experiment 
more than some cruel and demented 
sociological  study of misfits and artists 
given drugs and then filmed to see who is the strongest 
like some first sick reality tv show, the real piss factory 
you were much more than that! (you smiled and agreed when i told you 
(note: i'm not talking about lou reed and the velvet underground they 
are fabulous) 
you have a rare artist soul 
overlooked, used, misunderstood and tortured 
you were new york's own arthur rimbaud! 

jim, in your later years 
i believe my prayers wrapped around you 
like God's grace 
like the prayer cloth you told me you wore when you were younger 
after keith richards gave it to you 

like your mother's fervent prayers during your teenage years 
still echo through eternity 
and found God's hearing ears 
Jesus didn't hurt you the way the church did 
Jesus stood beside you 
Jesus shed bloody heart tears for you 

like the words ripped from your soul 
still bloody 
as you sculpted the poem 
that wanted to be born 
or exorsized from your spirit 

a remarkable new york poet 
and the power of the avante-garde 
you were not interested in titles or degrees 
just raw poems ripped from real souls, still bloddy 
raw like scrapes after hitting the pavement 
of a city downtown street on a scorching summer day 
after you just made a game winning lay up 
in a basketball game with such form, style and grace 
before the fall 

3. death:memorandum 

you died at your desk 
doing what you loved 

~your heart fainted before your new masterpiece 
"the petting zoo" 
before the glory that passed through you 
and graced the page~ 

4. the wake: synchronicity 

a single long stem red rose on a closed coffin 
i arrived after most of the others 
i think i may have been the only one 
who kneeled and prayed 
by your coffin 
patti smith said you are now with her other friends 
who passed on 
robert mapplethorpe, allen ginsberg, william burroughs 
her beloved fred "sonic" smith 

at the appropriate time 
compassion and love brought me to the front of the room 
to speak 
it was like i was in slow motion with the room filled 
with your catholic family, friends and ny punk legends 
all out of focus listening 
it was like i was called to be the perfect odd fit for this moment 
as i awkwardly and nervously 
shared the heartfelt gift of blessed hope given to me. 

jim, here's synchronicity for you: 
[like your 8 fragments for kurt cobain] 
it was like i already had a memorial service for you 
when my best friend 
called with the news about you on a monday- 
said you passed on to the other side on friday- 
that sunday afternoon i had encouraged my neighbor 
she had been minutes from death on saturday night 
i told her of the prayers i said for her that night 
how the ambulance crew faught to keep her alive 
how they resuscitated her 
50 feet from where i sleep 
while my son enjoyed the gift of sleep without ever waking 
i told her how happy i was that she was still alive 
and i spoke of you, jim 
your life and art 
i needed an example of life's wonder and a reason for her to live 
and the only words i could think of were yours, 
"you could have gone to florence 
and looked into the eyes of bellini or raphael's portraits" 

jim, did you stop by to say goodbye to me 
on the way home to eternity? 
or did an angel bring you to mind 
to help a sister in distress? 
it felt like you were there alive 
as alive as my son choosing to play on the wood floor 
that my neighbor laid upon twelve hours before 
moments from death 
as alive as this woman still was 
it was like i already had a memorial service for you 
i don't know what it means 
but felt driven to share it with your family of friends 
at the wake 
felt driven to share that news that 
you were alive in eternity, 
"like it were news delivered 
from a distant galaxy" 
you are still alive in eternity 
just in a different form 
you live on in your poetry 
and we will see you again! 

jim, you were no saint 
but you are a saint 
when you believe in Jesus 
when you secretly light a candle for a friend- 
the apostle paul called his congregation 
"saints" in his letters 
the greek word means "holy ones" 
it's not about you 
or them- the church 
or me 
in the end anyway 
i will let you down 
i will let you down 
it's all about The One 
and His awesome grace!!!!!!!! 

i found myself stumbling out of the wake 
on to cobblestone streets of the west village 
and little italy 
until the friendship of the jim carroll band 
surrounded me and invited me to a cafe- 
dinner with terrell and steven 
and their loved ones 
glad i had the company of some artists 
that night 
and such great ones! 
i told them of early inspiration, 
"the city drops into the night," 
"it aint hip to sink that low unless you plan a resurection" 
good conversation 
warm southern fried chicken 
and a bottle of red wine 

5. the funeral: mystical 

the next morning i walked down carmine street 
where my beloved nana lived in the 1920's and 30's 
until she moved to long island 
carmine street is where our lady of pompei catholic church is 
where jim's funeral was 
inside the church a women sang the most beautiful "ava maria" i have 
ever heard 
it resonated and echoed up to Heaven 
with pure passion 
it felt like my beloved nana 
was sitting next to me 
like when i was a child 
"ava maria" was her favorite song 
she passed on when i was a teenager 
thought it broke my heart forever 
but felt her undying love lying in my sacred heart that day 
~a realization~ 
this is an old catholic church in my nana's old neighborhood 
my nana must have gone to this church 
i later found out this was her home church 
and that she married my grandfather in that church in the 1930's 

the mass 
and holy communion 
i overheard one man say he hadn't had communion in 30 years 
until that day 

my prayers for you, jim 
were given "wings" 
transformed into song by patti smith 
her heart's passion coalesced with mine 
in one voice 
one spirit 

outside the church 
patti, i wanted to hold you 
to comfort you 
kiss away all your beautiful pure tears 
pure like your heart rhythms 
pure like your natural beauty 
you were kind and generous 
when you said that you were glad i spoke at the wake 
your mystical heart somehow understood 
for a moment i didn't feel lonely 
i couldn't even answer you 
just stuttered, stared and touched my heart 
it was beyond words anyway 

6. meditations and reflections on the funeral 

the funeral, the funeral 
don't want to be oversensitive 
or hyperspiritual 
it's more natural for me to be cynical 

the funeral, the funeral 
don't want to be oversensitive 
or hyperspiritual 
but it was kind of mystical 
it felt like i was looking through a crystal 
with light being purified and filtered by God 
before it fragments and shines out in different colors 
crimson red like Jesus' blood 
like italian red wine 
purple like luther's "royal priesthood of the everyday believer" 
majestic like love from the common man 

the funeral, the funeral 
don't want to be oversensitive 
or hyperspiritual 
maybe it's even more mystical 
more like God's pure light shining through me 
in this poem 
like sunlight passing through the stained glass window 
of an ancient catholic church 
God shining through the different colors 
of an artist's personality 
rare gem-like colors 
on the church floor 
covering the dirt that no one sees 

the funeral, the funeral 
i decided to leave before the burial 

the paradox 
Jesus was 100% man 
100% God 
the paradox 
we are 100% men and women 
but when we believe in Jesus 
we receive forgiveness and the promise of eternity 
we receive The Holy Spirit 
we have God 100% in us 
and everything becomes pure 

7. pure 

pure the way you liked your heroine when you were a street kid 
pure like your mother's prayers in your teenage years 
pure like ointment on an old church wound 
pure like the raw power of your writing and art 
pure like the integrity of a punk rock song 
pure like your inspiration and our new year's day conversations 
pure like my nana's prayers for me through the night 
when i went out to party as a teenager 
pure like my nana's love when i diden't deserve it 
pure like "ava maria" sung in a catholic church in little italy 
pure like patti's tears and song of mourning for you 
pure like fire 
and then beauty rising from the ashes 
pure like forgiveness and dinner with new friends 
pure like a kind and loving heart 

pure like white 
white untouched freshly fallen snow 
on new york city streets 
pure like your white shroud 
Jesus' burial cloth 
the shroud of turin 

like grace 

copyright Billy Lamont 2010 

witty mojo
This is probably the best Jim Ode I have ever read such is his style in your presentation of word fertile proverbs...you must have really known the very essence of Jim, cuz in my verbal interpretation, you crossed the Eyes, and dotted the T's...the T's being Touching,Tough,Torture....those three T's give only a breath to the insight you profess in these reflections, yet it's all I could write  cuz so much is here to remark on. I give your words reference with pure silence... good stuff  all the way to the end bily