I AM THE JACK IN YOUR BOX – One of Ira Cohen’s Final Readings

by Red Cell

This little snippet of Ira Cohen was recorded by Louise Landes Levi. In her own words: “I made some recordings of Ira reading his own poetry just a few weeks before he left 225 w. 106th street – This one, while he was seated upright in his chair was the first poem he read – L.”

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The always lovely and inspiring video and new-media artist Flame Schon (of infamous 60s subculture film Dope) also forwarded this lovely poem about Ira by John Solt to us.

for Masafumi (Gabun) Suzuki and Ira Cohen, April 25 (LA time)

masa, you died on the morning that ira died in the evening
did you rush up quickly to greet him at the gates?
you were both photographers and two of the brainiest
of your generations, even though you’d dislike such brainless
accusations, but now you’ve vanished, you used to talk
about vanishing point, then you’d leave the room
unnoticed as if you were shy, until you picked up a pen
and people knew you were a force of nature

ira, you suffered and went down slowly but perfectly
like a souffle in a five-star restaurant who knew worth
you never kidded about anything for a short time
and said “there’s nothing a non-psychedelic can
teach a psychedelic person” in that way you
were the oscar wilde of your moment
and your photos of jimi hen and others bent space
or injected more life into the subject than could have been there
suggesting a dramatic flair by you to draw out absurdity
which reflected you, absurd king of duke ellington avenue

rest in peace, two separately, two legacies, two lives lived to the max
two bodies of work, two people who decided to time it together
for no reason and were unaware of each other’s passing

sleep on it like you slept between life and death
now you are traveling between death and life
or nothingness and mudras of gold-flecked dreams
what you left is enough to chew and be ransacked
by the wind and rain with your voices ringing out

John Solt

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One Comments

  1. Flame Schon says:

    I believe that the first two photos of Ira on this page are by another Ira, Ira Landgarten. I don’t know who has taken the bottom one.

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