Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Lawrence Ferlinghetti !

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Today is the birthday of an American poet, painter and liberal activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919). Author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, he is best known for A Coney Island of the Mind (New York: New Directions, 1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of over 1 million copies. Presenting some poems : Being Poet
A Vast Confusion
Sounds of trains in the surf
in subways of the sea
And an even greater undersound
of a vast confusion in the universe
a rumbling and a roaring
as of some enormous creature turning
under sea and earth
a billion sotto voices murmuring
a vast muttering
a swelling stuttering
in ocean's speakers
world's voice-box heard with ear to sand
a shocked echoing
a shocking shouting
of all life's voices lost in night
And the tape of it
someow running backwards now
through the Moog Synthesizer of time
Chaos unscrambled
back to the first
harmonies
And the first light 
Oh you gatherer
Oh you gatherer
of the fine ash of poetry
ash of the too-white flame
of poetry

Consider those who have burned before you
in the so-white fire

Crucible of Keats and Campana
Bruno and Sappho
Rimbaud and Poe and Corso
And Shelley burning on the beach
at Viarreggio

And now in the night
in the general conflagration
the white light
still consuming us
small clowns
with our little tapers
held to the flame 
The Plough of Time
Night closed my windows and
The sky became a crystal house
The crystal windows glowed
The moon
shown through them
through the whole house of crystal
A single star beamed down
its crystal cable
and drew a plough through the earth
unearthing bodies clasped together
couples embracing
around the earth
They clung together everywhere
emitting small cries
that did not reach the stars
The crystal earth turned
and the bodies with it
And the sky did not turn
nor the stars with it
The stars remained fixed
each with its crystal cable
beamed to earth
each attached to the immense plough
furrowing our lives 
Away Above A Harborful
Away above a harborful
of caulkless houses 
among the charley noble chimneypots
of a rooftop rigged with clotheslines 
a woman pastes up sails
upon the wind
hanging out her morning sheets
with wooden pins
O lovely mammal
her nearly naked breasts 
throw taut shadows
when she stretches up 
to hang at last the last of her
so white washed sins 
but it is wetly amorous
and winds itself about her 
clinging to her skin
So caught with arms 
upraised 
she tosses back her head
in voiceless laughter 
and in choiceless gesture then
shakes out gold hair

while in the reachless seascape spaces

between the blown white shrouds 

stand out the bright steamers

to kingdom come 
Constantly Risking Absurdity
Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence.  
Bird With Two Right Wings
And now our government
a bird with two right wings
flies on from zone to zone
while we go on having our little fun & games
at each election
as if it really mattered who the pilot is
of Air Force One
(They're interchangeable, stupid!)
While this bird with two right wings
flies right on with its corporate flight crew
And this year its the Great Movie Cowboy in the cockpit
And next year its the great Bush pilot
And now its the Chameleon Kid
and he keeps changing the logo on his captains cap
and now its a donkey and now an elephant
and now some kind of donkephant
And now we recognize two of the crew
who took out a contract on America
and one is a certain gringo wretch
who's busy monkeywrenching
crucial parts of the engine
and its life-support systems
and they got a big fat hose
to siphon off the fuel to privatized tanks
And all the while we just sit there
in the passenger seats
without parachutes
listening to all the news that's fit to air
over the one-way PA system
about how the contract on America
is really good for us etcetera
As all the while the plane lumbers on
into its postmodern
manifest destiny