A Coney Island of the Mind, 8

Lawrence Ferlinghetti - 1919-
       In Golden Gate Park that day
                                                    a man and his wife were coming along
           thru the enormous meadow
                                                      which was the meadow of the world
He was wearing green suspenders
                                                      and carrying an old beat-up flute
                                                                                                in one hand
     while his wife had a bunch of grapes
                                                       which she kept handing out
                                                                                              individually
                                                               to various squirrels
                                                                                           as if each
                                                                     were a little joke

     And then the two of them came on
                                                    thru the enormous meadow
which was the meadow of the world
                                                          and then
                   at a very still spot where the trees dreamed
               and seemed to have been waiting thru all time
                                                                                     for them
                 they sat down together on the grass
                                                             without looking at each other
                      and ate oranges
                                           without looking at each other
                                                                                  and put the peels
                    in a basket which they seemed
                                                                     to have brought for that purpose
                       without looking at each other

      And then
                     he took his shirt and undershirt off
            but kept his hat on
                                         sideways
                                                        and without saying anything
                fell asleep under it
                                              And his wife just sat there looking
at the birds which flew about
     calling to each other
                                 in the stilly air
       as if they were questioning existence
                                         or trying to recall something forgotten

But then finally 
                     she too lay down flat 
                                                    and just lay there looking up
                                                                                         at nothing
                   yet fingering the old flute
                                                            which nobody played
                       and finally looking over
                                                              at him
              without any particular expression
                                                             except a certain awful look
                        of terrible depression

More by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Americus, Book I [excerpt]


I.

To summarize the past by theft and allusion
With a parasong a palimpsest
A manuscreed writ over
A graph of consciousness at  best
A consciousness of   felt life
A rushing together 
Of the raisins of wrath
Of living and dying
The laughter and forgetting
The maze and amaze of life.

Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....

A Far Rockaway of the Heart, 2

Driving a cardboard automobile without a license
                           at the turn of the century
             my father ran into my mother
                                               on a fun-ride at Coney Island
                  having spied each other eating
                                       in a French boardinghouse nearby
And having decided right there and then
                                         that she was for him entirely
       he followed her into
                                      the playland of that evening
          where the headlong meeting
                                         of their ephemeral flesh on wheels
                    hurtled them forever together 

And I now in the back seat
                                          of their eternity
                                                     reaching out to embrace them