The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle

Edited, with an investigative essay on Levy’s life and mysterious death, by Mike Golden.

Step into a slightly fractured Buddhist world as you explore the strange phenomenon of d. a. levy, a suicidal visionary who published a dharma rag out of Cleveland, Ohio, in the late 1960s. WARNING: Contains explicit language. —Tricycle

The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle is a mad, antic, terrifying, confrontational, psychedelic journey beyond the beyond. Mike Golden’s language slip-slides right into the middle of the whirlwind, embracing the nuances, the demented excessive rhythms of a time when all bets were off and most if not all of the culture was up for grabs.” -Rudy Wurlitzer, author of Little Buddha, Two Lane Blacktop, Walker, Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, and Nog-Flats-Quake-Slow Fade

“Another poet cut down too soon, assassinated! d.a. levy, Cleveland’s bard resurrected from the dead letter office of the soul and delivered at last by Buddhist Third Class Junkmail on lifeÕs railway to heaven-with thanks!” -Barry Gifford, author of Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, Jack’s Book, and Wyoming

“levy’s story is the best unknown story to come out of the 60s! His mysterious death illuminated his life, one in which he burned too brightly for the gray skies of the city he couldn’t leave.” Cleveland Free Press

“Enthusiasts and scholars will welcome this comprehensive look at a local oracle.” Publishers Weekly

“Golden is to be commended for putting together this omnibus volumeÉa nice start toward the increasing attention that (levy) eventually will be paid.” Kirkus Reviews

“Golden has hunted and been haunted by levy’s ghost for most of two decades. This book should be of lasting benefit to anyone who cares about the poetry and history of late 20th-century America.” New York Press

“Golden makes the post-beat time when the 60s were winding down and poetry and revolution seemed twin-born come aliveÉ (He) makes us believe levy was “the original zen cowboy,” alive with holy fire, wanting to spread the word of enlightenment and peace and personal freedomÉ The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle recaptures some of the magic of the period. This book is like Cerberus, the dog with three heads. It’s a commemoration, an artifact from a not quite lost time, a screed, a prayer and a testimony.” The Memphis Commercial Appeal

“[levy] was like Jeremiah. He had the potential to be a great religious writer - a prophet.” -Ed Sanders, The Fugs; author of The Family, Tales of Beatnik Glory, Investigative Poetry, 1968

“We were the Meat poets, baby. We got down to the bone. levy, Doug Blazek in Chicago, Ole, some pretty good writing came out of that period. Not like today. Too many out there with too little to say. -Charles Bukowski

“It was a grim scene. But what did I know? I came from Philadelphia. Cleveland was a place where a lot of sensitive middle class kids-outcasts-committed suicide, and this was before LSD! The scene was filled with depression, a beatnik kind of sensibility. I remember getting giggly on the grass once, and they all turned on me!” -R. Crumb

“Cleveland was a very heavy police state in a very literal way. The Cleveland police were notorious for their outrageousness and for their storm trooper tactics.” -Allen Ginsberg

“d. a. levy is the true son of Kerouac’s railroad earth. An American spirit of nether underground, who needs to be discovered by anyone interested in the history of radical poetics. For one so ahead of his time, now is definitely the time.” -Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth

“Time travel may not be realized in our lifetime, but if it were, I realized as I put down The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle, I would return to the wilds of Beat era Cleveland in 1968 as a primer for radicalizing myself, and skip New York and Paris, avoiding the doppelganger conflict of watching myself get arrested at demos, the insane police violence I saw at war with war, losing my virginity, getting my first poem published — you better stop me right here-Mike Golden has created the look, feel and smell of d. a. levy’s blood.” -Bob Holman, The American Book Review

The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle not only rescues a visionary poet/artist/publisher from the trash-heap of America’s forgotten, but it is also the most direct take on the 60s I’ve ever read. The evocative and provocative essay by Investigative Poetics reporter and Gonzo journalist Mike Golden makes a hot intro, it makes levy’s bio read like a romantic tragedy movie: born 1942, loner youth, half-Jewish, starts Cleveland post-Beat Zine scene publishing R Crumb, Ed Sanders, Lou Reed, Ginsberg, Bukowski, et al, refuses to budge from the scene he created even when hounded by FBI and Cleveland police, jailed for obscenity (his poems) and views (pro-marijuana), appointed teacher at Madison Free U where he teaches a course telepathically (the students all agree: best course ever,) dies by his own hand (or maybe not) in 1968 at age of 26, having cranked out 55 books and numerous magazines on his homespun mimeo machine. The book includes some striking color reproductions of levy’s quintessential 60s psychedelica collages, urdeconstructivist porn, and Buddhism. This book will spark a whole new (old) way of looking at poetry.

The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle reminds us yet again that the sixties were a somber time and that aspects of fascism have always thrived in America. Mike Golden’s work on d.a. levy is brilliant. —Jim Harrison, author of A Good Day to Die, Wolf, Revenge, Legends of the Fall, and The Road Home

The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle collects d.a. levy’s poetry, his collages-in both color and black-and-white-and other examples of his art, in a splendid large-format celebration of levy’s unique contribution.

A visual artist, and an important figure in the concrete poetry movement, levy was also an activist and mystic who either committed suicide or was murdered at the age of twenty-six in East Cleveland. This occurred after two and a half years of intense media coverage, police harassment and court trials, and just as he was starting to be recognized as one of the most important geniuses of his generation.

Edited, with an investigative essay on Levy’s life and mysterious death, by Mike Golden.

d. a. levy

You know, whenever I think about becoming
an angel / a bodhisattva / a rain deer
locking antlers with the clouds
chariot rolling on blue sky
knocking down war monuments
with thunder bolts & a good screw
a meal of tantric mulligan stew
spooning the last drops of the pot
with grass fumes until the Astral POP
(can we hold hands out here?can we
touch the mind electricity of our
aethereal love forms?)
Whenever I think
of becoming, say, a poet
a master of wild words before they die
I ask, should I water them and suffer
VERB SPASMS of the action writer
& if i wrote what i wanted to write
it would be as empty as becoming
what I want to become?
listen you fuck-offs
MOVE OUT into the Universe Juice
Whenever I think about becoming
anything i get scared
& start thinking
it must be a wonderful thing
to be like everybody else
so terrified of death they
can not even remember it,
so frightened of the responsibility
of becoming ANY THING they struggle to do
nothing & Oh hell,
i didn’t really want to be an angel anyway
no one would understand & the
pay is lousy
it’s one of those non-union jobs
keeps you on the floor
for me to stop murdering me
with the survival illusion
whenever i think about becoming

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