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Lions Roar : September 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2010 35 marianne Faithfull, Allen and Peter sought the help of a twelve-step program. There, Allen came to understand the ways that he had unconsciously encouraged Peter’s de- pendence on him. They officially separated for a time, while Peter continued to have girlfriends. but Allen made sure that his old buddy always had a roof over his head. When Allen drew his last breaths af- ter midnight on April 5, 1997, Peter was beside him. “goodbye, darling,” he said, kissing the poet’s head just before the mo- ment of death, making good on his vow. The last time i saw Peter was shortly after that, at an auction of Allen’s shirts, photographs, and other personal effects at sotheby’s in new York. The blue-haired ladies taking names at the door looked wary of the bearded stranger claiming to be on the guest list. “Well, who are you?” one of them finally asked. “i’m mrs. Allen ginsberg!” Peter roared. They let him in. And Allen made good on his vow to Peter as well. money from the ginsberg Trust helped Peter escape the city and buy a modest house in st. Johnsbury, Ver- mont. There, Chuck and Judy lief, senior students of Allen’s buddhist teacher, Chö- gyam Trungpa, cared for him in his last years, with the help of other members of the shambhala sangha. Peter died of lung cancer at the Vermont respite house in Williston on sunday morning, may 30, 2010, surrounded by old friends like poet Anne Waldman, cofound- er of the Jack Kerouac school. Chuck wrote to me shortly after Peter died: Despite becoming more and more reliant on oxygen, Peter was a dedicated member of the small St. Johnsbury meditation center, and a frequent participant at celebrations and major events at Karmê Chöling. He had a meditation instructor, and looked forward to getting copies of each new book of trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings as they were published. He enjoyed receiving letters and calls from old friends. even though he did not write in the later years, Peter noticed everything going on around him, using the poet’s mind which Allen found so naturally present. goodbye little Peter, gentle Peter. never will i forget how sweet you were. ♦