(this is the time of the great light)
  if there is a dark time
  i will hide the body
  in a world place
if waves of darkness sweep the beaches
of the world place seeking to carry
  THE LIGHT away like sand
  i will carry the light
  to the Quiet Place
(this is the time of the great light)

From the North American Book of The Dead by d.a. levy

 selection from The Burial Grounds of the Cat Nation (portrait of a Young Man Trying to Eat the Sun)


A poet who wrote usually in only lowercase letters and did not capitalize his name.  Like many poets who wrote within the paradigm of what is considered America, he was noted as a nobody in high school.  He longed for infinity but was partially afraid of it, and wrote about how he would throw himself out into it in spoonfuls.  Supposedly an intense fellow, he was fond of starting a statement with "it's funny..."  He was once jailed at the age of twenty-something for giving his poetry to high-schoolers in his hometown of Cleveland.  He was prone to bouts of melancholy and longing for an ancient home where children owned the sun and carried its rays in their foreheads. 

He also spoke of flashing a light in your forehead that you could flash at someone to telepathically give them a signal of a common truth; this according to Levy was the same light that one could supposedly walk down the street and flash at themselves. He spoke of reincarnation. He said that he knew he had been here before, but as who or what he had forgotten. Supposedly, he or somebody else killed his body in 1968. It is possible that his spirit made it to the lotus of a thousand petals that is mentioned in his Buddhist inspired poetry. Although part Jewish on his fathers side, he was a follower of Buddhism and created a Tibetan Stroboscope (collages that involved politics, pop culture and Buddhist words and phrases). He was also the publisher of a periodical called the Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle.

Levy was one of those poets that was against academia. He didn't think that it was real poetry because it was edited. He was an autodidact. He stayed at a friend's place for free under the condition that he would write and read as much as possible. It was here that he created the Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle using movable type and a mimeograph machine. He would publish not just his own writing, but that of his friends in Cleveland and of new writers around the country, including that of Charles Bukowski.

Although he was a poet in the 1960's which is often stereotyped to be a time of drug use, he was not an advocate of using them. He found the means of using acid to expand ones consiousness "too clinical". In fact he often got an unsatisfactory alchohol buzz from one beer. This is not to say Levy was merely an introvert, he held regular poetry readings at a church, an event that was called The Gate, and was a co-creator of a group called the Underground Thought Patrol.

The thing about d.a. levy's writing that could be said as most poignant is how raw and real it is.  He said what he wanted to say without having to justify himself.  Although he drew from Buddhism and Judaism, he knew how to convey his metaphysical longing in an original way. One might get the feeling while reading some of his writing is that you could imagine that it was written in a spiral notebook at twilight, while he sat alone smoking handrolled cigarettes, listening to the echoes of eternity calling him home.


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