Rest in Peace Tuli Kupferberg

My Godmother hosted a talk show on a Manhattan Public TV station and I was a camera operator. I was in my early 20s and knew nothing of art and the only anarchy I was interested in was the metal in my headphones. Coca Crystal, TV Star introduced me to her scene. I met so many amazing and gifted artists and one of my favorites was “NYC citizen emeritus, a man who was a Beat, a hippie, a Fug, and a goddamned troublemaker, the blessedly strange Tuli Kupferberg“. (a great fan site of the show is here). He would read poetry and they would talk hippie politics while smoking pot and railing against the injustices of the system.

To sum up Tuli (according to Wiki): American anarchist, poet, publisher and musician. The biggest braggadocio of Tuli is his appearance in Alan Ginsberg’s Howl: who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten. The actual tale happened on the Manhattan Bridge and is also recounted in the prose poem “Memorial Day 1971” written by Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman:

I asked Tuli Kupferberg once, “Did you really jump off of The Manhattan Bridge?” “Yeah,” he said, “I really did.” “How come?” I said. “I thought that I had lost the ability to love,” Tuli said. “So, I figured I might as well be dead. So, I went one night to the top of The Manhattan Bridge, & after a few minutes, I jumped off.” “That’s amazing,” I said. “Yeah,” Tuli said, “but nothing happened. I landed in the water, & I wasn’t dead. So I swam ashore, & went home, & took a bath, & went to bed. Nobody even noticed.”

The New York Times has a nice obit here.

On Facebook, there’s a nice memorial page happening:

Tuli Kupferberg
Tuli you will be dead before you are thirty
Dead before you are forty Tuli
Dead before you hit the water
The Brooklyn Bridge will remember you
…As the man who jumped off the Manhattan Bridge
The Loisaidas will remember you
As you stagger through the streets to score
At the Psychedelicatessen
And Tuli you become an eighty-six year old
Beacon of eternal light
– Ed
mond Chibeau

3 Comments +

  1. Gillian- The memorial for Tuli will be on Saturday, July 17th- Noon- 3PM- St. Marks Church. Second Avenue and 10th Street. I will be attending.

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