A Coney Island of the Mind, 8

- 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

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

A Coney Island of the Mind, 11

    The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves
           is not the same wild west
                                                   the white man found
It is a land that Buddha came upon 
                                               from a different direction
    It is a wild white nest
                              in the true mad north
                                                               of introspection
           where ‘falcons of the inner eye’
                                                             dive and die
                     glimpsing in their dying fall
                                                  all life’s memory
                                                               of existence
               and with grave chalk wing
                                                draw upon the leaded sky
      a thousand threaded images
                                                  of flight

It is the night that is their ‘native habitat’
  these ‘spirit birds’ with bled white wings
          these droves of plover
                              bearded eagles
                                           blind birds singing 
                                                             in glass fields
  these moonmad swans and ecstatic ganders
                                                                       trapped egrets
                                                   charcoal owls
                                                                       trotting turtle symbols
  these pink fish among mountains
                                                       shrikes seeking to nest
                       whitebone drones
                                                   mating in air
                among hallucinary moons
And a masked bird fishing
                                          in a golden stream
     and an ibis feeding
                                   ‘on its own breast’

           and a stray Connemara Pooka 
                                                           (life size)

And then those blown mute birds 
                                            bearing fish and paper messages
       between two streams
                                  which are the twin streams
                                                                           of oblivion
           wherein the imagination
                                             turning upon itself
             with white electric vision
                                           refinds itself still mad
                            and unfed
                                            among the hebrides