Back to Insom04' On-Line! Home Page.

Lucien Carr Remembered

Lucien Carr  1925 - 2005

--"…what is born of Spirit is spirit,"

For Lucien Carr

April 9th, I attended a final farewell to old friend Lucien Carr, held at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, an old Anglican Episcopal place of worship since the early 1920s, where Lucien's son Simon had arranged for a traditional service.

I was determined to try and be as cheerful as possible, as a way of celebrating as well as paying homage to Lucien's own boundless energy. Like Lucien, and Jack Kerouac, who introduced us in the mid 50's, I was and still am also a firm believer of living every precious moment of life to the hilt, and enjoying all the blessings, and using all the set backs in a positive way, (as post graduate field research for an eventual degree as a full fledged licensed and accredited Doctor of Hangoutology). Lucien never needed a degree of this kind, because when I met him in the mid '50s, he was already so sophisticated and worldly and so much fun to be with that even while you always felt at home with him, you knew he was always a step ahead and expected you to follow.

When I arrived at St. Lukes and took a seat, I read a part of the program which was given to us before the service. Reading through the various texts helped me to put into perspective something about this great mystery and adventure that we call life on earth.

The service began, and during the Requiem Eucharist celebrating Lucien's life, I was truly moved by hearing the reading of the following two excerpts from John 14: 1-6, which was printed as part of the program. It was a portion of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, the Pharisee, when Jesus explained how it was possible to be born again, after already having had an earthly birth.

"What is born of flesh is flesh, what is born of Spirit is spirit....The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit

The phrase, "…what is born of Spirit is spirit," leapt off the page for me.

i began thinking not only Lucien but of all the amazing people I have been blessed to know in my life, so many of whom had that special indefinable quality that has nothing to do with physical beauty, fame, money, reputation, social position, possessions or all the other superficial things which can be taken from you in a second. These were the feelings which emanated from truly soulful people, spiritual reverberations which you can feel, but which always remain unspoken, yet are still always powerful and nourishing to be around.

I realized that the spirits of people liked Lucien whom I have met around the world all had a presence that stays with you long after you meet them, and that this strength of spirit has no differentiation due to religion, nationality or race. It is simply a true level that has always been here for all of us. This Spirit World (whom the Lakota people feel is the real one) is definitely a reality, and one that we are ALL born into, but sometimes forget about, in which case that spirit lies dormant within us, waiting to be nurtured.

Here, in this beautiful old church, we were all together, celebrating Lucien's memory, and suddenly I could feel his spirit, which transcended the ceremony, as it floated around the room for all of us to share, and I could feel Kerouac and others also join us in the room, as we all listened to the heavenly sounds of the choir up in the balcony singing Bach.

During the service, I flashed back a few years to Gregory Corso's memorial, at the huge Catholic church in the Village where he was baptized, where Patti Smith and I played a duet in his memory, and remembered Allen Ginsberg's wild series of memorials, and the memorials of all the other people over the years who were drawn together through the spirit as well as friendships with Kerouac himself. I felt that they were also there with us for this afternoon, but realized that I couldn't go out with them later that afternoon, and that now with Lucien gone, there was almost no one left.

It was Lucien who introduced everyone to everyone else, and kept up his friendship with Jack to the very end when most of the old group had given up on him. very end, when many of Jack's friends had given up on him.

Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg

When I spent time with Lucien and Kerouac in the mid fifties, we would always end up our evening adventures by going to Lucien's place whenever Kerouac was in town, staying up till the sun rose, playing music, singing songs and telling stories of our latest escapades, while his kids would stay up way past their bedtimes, watching and listening to a bunch of crazy joyous hyperactive supposed grown-ups celebrating being together, while Lucien's wife, like a true saint, put up with all of us, making us feel at home and enjoying the merriment as well.

Now, during the service, I realized that even if Lucien and almost everyone else from that happy time are no longer here, his spirit will always be reflected in the work of so many of us whom he brought together. Lucien always encouraged us to pursue excellence, telling us to always strive do better than expected when creating artistic work, and hopefully through that work, to enrich the lives of others.

In spite of his vast knowledge of literature, Lucien was not only interested in the work and spirit of his friends who were authors and poets during the amazing era of the 1950s which later received the dubious catch-all cliche of Beat.

Lucien was also interested and knowledgeable in the enduring work of the musicians, composers, painters, actors and all the artists who were part of a much larger community, all of whom were united by a merging of each other's spirits, with each one of us contributing something of our own. Being with him made you sense that community that he also, inclusive and life-affirming.

At the same time, even in his most gregarious moments, he could spot a charlatan with a special radar that he possessed, which seemed to from his great innate honesty, a quality which helped him to become a great editor for most of his professional life. I am sure that part his legacy will remain in hearts of the young people with whom he worked as a master editor at UPI News Service for several decades. His fellow workers always held him in high esteem, just as his old friends always did.

I looked to my right as the processional came down the aisle, and sitting across the aisle in the church, held in the arms of his beautiful mom Miia, was Dody Muller's grandson, only nine months old, staring and checking out everyone with his dark eyes. a few years ago, Lucien and his family had all been at Dody's 70th birthday party, and during a break in the long afternoon, Lucien, Dody and I all hugged each other and marveled at how lucky we were, in spite of our wild younger days, to have such incredible children, who were all there at the party to celebrate Dody's life.

Dody said to Lucien and to me......" Whatever they say about us in the future, we must have done something right. Look at our fantastic children."

At the service, when his sons spoke, I was reminded again how remarkable his own kids are.

Four nights before the service for Lucien took place, Dody's daughter Miia, her husband and her nine month old son had come down to the Cornelia Street Cafe in the Village to hear me play, and, in addition to the music we played, we had readings with music of Kerouac's work, as I had done at Lucien's house for years after the last public performances Jack and I gave together. Dody enjoyed these times at Lucien's as well.

Miia and I talked about Lucien, and how we would be together at the Service at St. Lukes to honor his memory, and I told her again how we all hung out with her mom and his then baby-aged kids before she was born. During this, her son seemed to be checking us out as we spoke.

Miia told me at the church that when she and her husband went out to the country after coming to be with us in the Village that the next morning when they woke up, their son was sitting at the piano for hours playing.

When I greeted him at the reception after the memorial service at the church, he stuck out his hand, as if he was signaling me to play, and I not only saw Dody's spirit in his eyes, I also felt HER spirit, right in the room with Lucien's, all while eating some cantaloupe and grapes and talking to Lucien's relatives and old friends.

I decided right then that when he gets a little older, i will tell him stories about his grandmother Dody, and how she, Lucien, Kerouac and I all hung out on those very same streets a half a century ago, so that in the year 2079, when he is 74 as I am now, he can tell his grandkids what happened way back in the mid-1950's, as well as what happened to him during his lifetime in this new Millennium.

Now I know that I can't ever visit Lucien in Washington to go sailing with him, as we had often planned to do, or talk to him on the phone from some funky motel or airport when I am on the road, to tell him about what is happening in 2005 in a far off place that I know he would love, because he would see the hidden beauty of whatever was there that would be overlooked by everyone else.

Still, wherever I am from now on, I know that I will always be able to still feel his spirit, and somehow communicate with him in that special way, as I increasingly do with many others no longer here, who like Lucien, will always will have a special place in my heart.

Like most of the remaining hyperactive workaholic but still fun-loving members of our Era, I always share with young folks the importance of Charlie Parker's immortal recording of his composition, "Now's the Time." When kids tell me that they wish they had been around in the 40's and 50's, I always remind them of the title of Charlie Parker's classic, and that this is the perfect time to be here. Just as Lucien always did, I try to avoid being stranded in the quicksands of nostalgia.

Still, at the memorial for Lucien, and all that transpired on that lovely spring afternoon at St. Luke's Church, I suddenly became conscious, when reading that phrase, "What is born of Spirit is spirit," may have been said two thousand years ago but would always remain modern.

Because it is a timeless truth, it is always right on time, as Lucien himself always was, because in that living spirit world, Now is always the time.

David Amram

April 13, 2005

Putnam Valley NY


To Learn More about Lucien Carr, Click Here.




- News, New & Of Note!  - Click Here for the latest happenings from our friends and family in the Poetry, Music and Art World! -

Insomniacathon On-Line! has compiled a list of Links to International and Domestic Relief Agencies and Organizations who tirelessly strive to spell suffering and help those who can't help themselves. Do what you can For Humanity. Click Here To Learn More!

Long time friend and compatriot, David Amram, shares a touching reflect of his good friend. Click Here To Read his reflect "For Odetta".

On The Griot Trail - Bowery Poetry Club founder, Bob Holman and Kora sensation (and Griot guide) Papa Susso's 7-week journey through Senegal, Gambia and Mali to capture the culture, sights and sounds of endangered languages. Click Here To Join Bob Holman and Papa Susso on their fantastic journey!

Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac - AudioPlay adaptation of the Patrick Fenton play "Kerouac's Last Call" - Click Here to Learn More, Link and Listen to Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac!

Pix, Clips and Page from kindred Keepers of The Flame! Join us in celebrating the LifeArtSpirit of Allen Ginsberg! Click Here to Enter!

As The Poets and The Players make their way from The Heartland to The Cities and Beyond they bring back their Sights, Sounds and Stories from The Road. Click Here for their recounts and Learn Why . . . Travel Is Fatal!

On Sunday, December 11th 'Ode to the Sidewalks of New York Jazz & Poetry Reading' will happen once again hosted by legendary musician, composer, author David Amram & his Trio at the Bowery Poetry Club. - Click Here For More Info! - ALSO View Pix and Clips from May's Ode Celebration!

Philip Lamantia, one of the four members of "The Jazz/Poetry Trio" (Lamantia, Jack Kerouac, Howard Hart and David Amram) passed on March 7th. His friend and fellow Trio member, David Amram, looks back fondly with his reflect . . . Click Here to Read. " FOR PHILIP LAMANTIA."

Insom 04' Galleria!  - New & Expanded! -  Click Here to Enter! -

Dave Amram Birthday Special! Click Here for VidClips, Pix and Debut Mp3's from  the new CD "The Long Road To Nowheresville!"
Click Here to read about The History of Insomniacathon.

To Learn More about The Literary Renaissance, Click Here!

- Click Here for Links to the Family and Friends of Insomniacathon in and around this World! -

On Sunday, Feburary 20th, Writer, The Gonzo Journalist, Kentuckian and Friend, Hunter S. Thompson headed on from this world to the next. Click Here to read the emotes, reflects, rants and raves coming in to Insomniacathon On-Line!

"Reflections upon The 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On The Road" is Now Available from Published In Heaven Books! - Click Here For More Details!

Jack Shea - Filmmaker, Poet, Songwriter, Friend.  - Click Here for More -

Messina and Amram at Insomniacathon 96'  -  New Orleans

Seven years later, old friends do it again in Louisville at Insomniacathon 2003

On Thursday, Feburary 10th, Playwright, Arthur Miller passed on. Click Here to read his friend, David Amram's, reflect.


Robert Creeley, one of America's most celebrated poets and a leading figure in the literary avant-garde, passed away on Wednesday in Odessa, Texas. He was 78. Click Here for more.

Frank Messina and Dave Amram perform the Kerouac classic at Insomniacathon 2003

To Learn More about David Amram go to:



Insomniacathon On-Line! is proudly supported by:

A Power Point in the Poetic Universe!  - Click and go to: -