Allen Ginsberg Saves His Beard

As remembered by Naropa’s first poetry student, Sam Kashner

Sam Kashner

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Within a few weeks Allen had regrown his beard. He kept it more closely cropped, but he was beginning to look like a member of the Russian mafia.

[Chögyam Trungpa] Rinpoche was coming over. He lived in a beautiful Georgian-style mansion that his followers called the Wedding Cake House.

A gray Mercedes pulled up outside Allen and Peter [Orlovsky]’s apartment. The Vajra guards were the first to leave the car. They were the young security officers who protected Rinpoche wherever he went. Dressed in identical-looking black suits and carrying walkie-talkies, the Vajra guards were students of Rinpoche’s who were given some training in martial arts and meditation to aid in their awareness of all potential situations.

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