• Louis Landes Levi • ISBN: 978-1-887276-17-7 •
“Louise is Sarasvati, goddess of poetry.” – John Giorno, Giorno Poetry Systems”Louise landes levi’s guru punk is sex in the city light years delivered from tv usa’s yuppie mortification. the fast breath of punk and the endless flow of buddha. like passing beauty in the subway. it’s there, it’s gone, it’s there again.” -Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth
Tracing a road that runs from Milarepa to Michaux, from Isabelle Eberhardt to Jack Kerouac, Ms. Levi, author of little known classics such as The Highway Queen and The Water Mirror, offers a compilation of spiritual experimentation & ‘ordinary’ road adventure. Here musical genre, iconoclasm & itinerancy mix as we observe the author’s devotional impulse
Encountered lst. ‘Guru’ in the leaves, in the attraction of the dark.
Encountered lst. Punk reaction when entire anthology of poems was lost at age
8. Refused footwear in general. Injunctions against eating bananas in the street
left me indifferent. I ate my bananas in the local neighborhood ‘Russell
Gardens’ Great Neck, NY/ Golden Ghetto, USA.
Myself (Age 3)
I learned meditation at an early age. My parent‹s house was unbearable to me. I
sought ‘refuge’ in a near-by forest. I found a bush that served as alternative housing.
Moreover there was a look-out tower which prevented invasions from
unfriendly spirits, animals & people. Later I brought my boyfriend there. I
brought my boyfriend there but he still didn’t really ‘touch’ me.
Either he was shy or I was ‘too’ pure.
I later remet him (my highschool boyfriend). after many calamities
& a new refuge…Buddhism & especilly my Master, NN. Heroin offered to him —
(the highschool boyfriend) an alternative landscape, in much the same way, I
thought that ‘practice’ (of meditation).did for me,.both being methods of altering
consciousness. His heroin habit had disturbed me when I was 20 (he paid an
unexpected /expected visit to me in Berkeley,Ca.)(where I was studying).
We finally slept together,in Mexico, I think but I didnÕt like the
paraphanalia of ‘dope’.
I later became a type of ‘healer’ or at least friend of those with this or
similiar ‘habits’. An esoteric horoscope, made in Amsterdam, said this was
my ‘fate’. I felt compelled to ‘help’ him (when we remet) besides, he knew a
lot more about me & was a lot ‘kinder’ than anyone else IÕd met along the
way & he had class, even as an addict. Besides, it was time for him to go
beyond ‘pure’ & ‘impure’ & to touch me.
In the final stages of the ‘cure’ in the ‘Tower’ in Bagnore, the demon(or
demoness, to be specific)-of the drug materialized & so did my worst hopes &
fears. NN said he(the highschool boyfriend) wouldn’t die & he didn’t. He (the
highschool boyfriend) lost an eye & became a visual artist. I lost my faith &
became a wanderer. I had already been a wanderer, a la Alain Fornier
but now my ‘wanderings’ were emotional & psychic, not just
mental & physical.
The Tower, Bagnore
The Tower, Bagnore.
There were particuilar ‘Masters’, who went beyond convention &
even(‘apparently’) identified with my outsider status. These men taught me the
inner ropes, they were kind & generous. One was a woman. The yogini sister of
Yehudi Menuhin. I spent many hours on street corners & ‘piazzas’
playing my sarangi (sa-ran-gi: instrument of one hundred colors-a bowed harp, believed to be
a precursor of the Viola d’Amore). I cld. not ‘make sense’(talking) but sitting with my
instrument I cld. make music. I never arrived to my ‘posts’
by chance. They were indicated & carefully marked.
Graffiti at Francos
Graffiti at Francos
My ‘Guru’ intervened on many occasions. He resurrected me when, at a
certain point, I cld. literally do no more, than writhe on the streets of Paris. At
least I chose a good city for my ‘downfall’. He enabled me to reform my priorities
without losing the Vision of (Enlightened) Mind. My (or his) ‘method of’
instruction & (realization) was to BE (‘myself’)—
independant of parental & peer disapproval,
jealosy, rejection &/or fear (mine).
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
When asked if I cld. print a book called Guru Punk.
He asked me what Punk was. I said, “O you know, those songs I used to sing.”
He said, “that’s fine”. I said “that’s fine because you are the Guru in question”.
He knew I was attracted to extremes
& encouraged my personal inclinations in all matters.
I had friends in high places but made friends
‘On The Road’ in the ‘bars’ & ‘piazzas’.
Travelling with the truck drivers, I found myself writing lyrics
that arrived with melodies already formulated.
I called this genre of music Guru Punk & hoped to become an International
Star of the phenomena. This did not mean abadoning sarangi & the
‘meditative music’ I hoped to evoke. “Trans Joseph & the Karmic Traces” (an
ephemeral band that ‘manifested’ at ‘Merigar’) exhausted my fantasies, in this
direction, at least, but the book that bears this title is no less a witness
to a genre, or lifestyle.
In Khandala, a hill station north of Bombay, I met a beautiful young Rimbaudian figure
…rather I listened to his songs & recitations of known & less known religious texts.
He wore strange ragged attire & a beautiful collection of necklaces. Angelic,
he was also punk & I recognized this long
before I completed my studies of Indian Music & Sanskrit .
Ustadji, Bhundu Khan Sahib et al.
The ‘Masts’ of India were a chief concern of Meher Baba, the silent saint of the area (Khandala).
He recognized the superior qualities of these Beings who were incapable of expressing their insights, or in any
way communicating to(‘integrating’with) the so-called social & economic life around them. I was by nature a
‘mast’. My Guru therefore insisted upon communication as ‘method’. He did not ask me to cut my hair, give
up ‘poetry’ or play in concert halls. He asked me to ‘communicate’…of course, he deeply affected,
both what I could & would attempt in that direction.
This is not an ‘advertisement’.
NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT
greenery, the river
flowing, seeing the sacred world &
my place, shamaness/poet-
“Can’t stand working 9-5/loves her Master”
This is not an advertisement.
fr. Guru Punk
In a repeat of the childood loss, most of my work, the poetry fr. India, 8 yrs.
work of it & what followed, was thrown away in an ‘accident’ in Paris.
The concierege called it ‘House Cleaning’. After that I became…a ‘Buddhist’.
I recognized the repition as ‘karma’ & knew I had to ‘purify’.
I broke a microphone in Amsterdam, at the ‘Paradiso’ at an all night reading— just after my
Buddhist nun stage. The audience was filled w. people w. blue hair, oceans of it, & I was afraid my work
wld. be too ‘classical’. I later saw that I was better able to relate to the clientele of the Bern Cafe, a local bar
for musicians , writers & ‘punks’ in Amsterdam, than the so-called
‘sangha’ or the ‘Indian’ mafia, as I adressed my former
colleagues who now shunned me.
Bern Cafe, Amsterdam
Bern Cafe, Amsterdam
America, when I finally retured—somewhat ‘manipulated’ into doing so— was a foreign country to me.A loss of
faith, a stolen ticket & I landed on the shore of my birth, in the city of my birth. My poetry-a chance operation,
I soon (re)encountered the powers of sexaul attraction & money, I (re)entered the family paradijm.
“Don’t put parents in your play” advised the great poet Henri Michaux. Somewhat more transparent than when
I had left I (re)experienced the dynamic of close enounter
& the capitalist culture of the late
The angels & messengers were not found in areas of
conventional well-being. Their visits were unannounced, their speach unique, their teaching direct. Breath
does not distort, nor song, nor poetic genius. This world’s transitory nature is also the
domain of bliss.
Introduction, pt. II
Writihing on the streets of Paris was not exactly my idea of poetic justice. Whereas I actually enjoyed playing
sarangi in the Cafe des Artistes,
au Sud de la France.
It was not unusual for the lady Tantrics to abandon seemingly interesting gigs as princessess, or royal courtesans
for a simpler life style, involving, for example, pig-herding. The idea was to free the mind.
I had little use for the academic ‘hallowed halls’. The first time I escaped I was unfortunately raped & nearly
murdered. The timing was also bad. NYC would have been a nice home & I might have become dedicated to
the Black Velvet Underground or to Angus & Ira. As fate wld. have it, I instead became devoted to
‘devotion’ itself, unable to master ‘romantic’ love, I at least cld. love my ‘master’.
Little did I suspect the power of the outsider the ‘natural’ outsider, the ‘alien’ to attract suspicion, fear &
envy. Little did I suspect my own ‘madness’. Amsterdam was an interesting refuge & once relieved of
conventions I cld. never realize, I greatly benefitted from the solemn charm of the city.
So, the beloved
Now on our shoulders
late & slanting, the shadow
of Ivan, falls.
Become grateful for suffering
and seemingly joyful
the sharp fight of spider and bee
and the awaiting
At times my hand is already closed
as if there lay no longing
over my fingers
It is a far way
to the passionless mountain
of bare observation
Fr. the Flemish of Paul V. Ostijien (1908-1928)
Translated by LLL & Simon Vinkenoog
(fr. Guru Punk)
Ira Cohen, Louise & Hank
(ONE WORLD POETRY/1985)
Ira, Louise & Hank / l. to r.
My meeting with my ‘Guru’, recognizable in dimensions of dream, released a great silent activity, & a lifestyle
in which I at last felt comfortable. The truck drivers understood my real destination without ever questioning
me about it. Timings were immaculate. I considered all this a gift of the Goddess,
or ‘essence state’ to which despite obstcles, I offered my
devotion in joy
America was as challenging to me as to the first immigrant.
Although born here, my national status was never established through personal, economic or professional
liasons. I magically re-found a valuable friend & grasped onto him as onto a raft on the sea. Heroin didn’t scare
me & I was glad to have the chance to deal with a problem, his? I had avoided in childhood & often
encountered in beings far less familiar. Or was this a debt repaid?
I applied the samaya of the ‘guru’s blessing’ & learned to survive in foreign land Gradually it grew
familiar & the display increased, but thats for another book
La Conversatione Sacrae.
May all Beings be Free from Suffering
& the Causes of Suffering. May truck drivers & all outsiders & unrecognized
ajents (of divine love & compassion) be rewarded for their efforts on behalf of us.
May my Beloved Master & mentor Choegyal Namkhai Norbu & all Masters enjoy long life & radiance
in this & all dimensions.