I would be remiss in my duty as a true blue, dyed-in-the-wool stone NY Yankees fan if I did not mention George Steinbrenner. Can’t say I ever had a lot of warm feelings for the man. I thought he was obnoxious. But, under his reign the Yankees had two great winning periods. The first, during the Reggie Jackson years in the ‘70’s and early ’80’s, and then more recently during the Joe Torre years. And he certainly left his mark on the game.
While was not my favorite guy in the world, I can’t bring myself to say anything nasty about him, unlike Rush Limbaugh, whose remark didn’t insult Steinbrenner as much as it probably did African-Americans. The fact that this blow-hard had a voice in our society is a really sad commentary on the state of our culture.
The NY Yankees, of course, are the greatest baseball team in the history of the game. A number of the team’s players through the years, such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson, have actually walked on water.
In 1965, together with fellow poet, Ed Sanders, Kupferberg formed the Fugs, a rock band that . . . well, it’s hard to think of a concise description, so let’s just say that the Fugs was not a group that had any Top 40 hits. Like Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, the Fugs were a satirical rock band, but in Kupferberg’s words, “We were more literary.”
According to the official Fugs website, Kupferberg suffered a stroke a few months ago at his home in New York City, which left him severely visually impaired, and in need of regular nursing care. You can read his obituary here in the NY Times.
And here is one of Tuli Kupferberg’s poems, dating back from sometime in the ‘60’s. I think I copied this out of Evergreen Magazine, or it might have been Rolling Stone, circa 1969. Don’t read it if the F-word bothers you.
I want to fuck flowers
Flowers want to suck me
Kinsey should have given me a chapter
I would go down in fucken history
Daffodils and tiger lilies
Open up their fleshly lips
I would dare the thorns of horror
For a taste of red rose hips
You may keep you birds and wild bees
You may keep your soft does eyes
Nor can sweetgirls passion equal
Sweat peas coming through the rye