Saturday, April 9, 2011


Lenore Kandel

Small Prayer for Fallen Angels

too many of my friends are junkies
too many of my psychic kin tattoo invisible revelations on themselves
signing their manifestos to etheric consciousness with little
hoofprint scars stretching from fingertip to fingertip
a gory religiosity akin to Kali's sacred necklace of fifty human heads

Kali-Ma, Kali-Mother; Kali-Ma, Kali-Mother
too many of my friends are running out of blood, their veins
are collapsing, it takes them half an hour to get a hit
their blood whispers through their bodies, singing its own death chant
in a voice of fire, in a voice of glaciers, in a voice of sand that blows
over emptiness

Kali-Ma, remember the giving of life as well as the giving of death
Kali-Ma, remember the desire is for enlightenment and not oblivion
Kali-Ma, their bones are growing light; help them to fly
Kali-Ma, their eyes burn with the pain of fire; help them that they see
with clear sight

Kali-Ma, their blood sings to death to them; remind them of life
that they be born once more
that they slide bloody through the gates of yes, that
they relax their hands nor try to stop the movement of the flowing now

too many of my friends have fallen into the white heat of the only flame
may they fly higher; may there be no end to flight

from Word Alchemy
Grove Press, 1967

photo :

By the time she had moved to San Francisco in 1960, Lenore Kandel had published three very short collections of poetry (now extremely rare) having been born in New York City in 1932, her father the author of the hardboiled classic City in Conquest. In the movies it starred James Cagney. It all makes sense to Lenore Kandel who rode with the Hell's Angels, was exotic provocateur of The Love Book and for decades on end kept her reputation as an author on that slim dynamo of a book and Word Alchemy ~ no two books in the poetry world like them.

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