Electric Review

Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms

“Rivers Dreaming Me”

Ferlinghetti stands at the entrance to City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. Photo by Stacey Lewis. All rights reserved.

On March 24th, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti turns 100 years old. Ferlinghetti’s life includes a vast compendium of accomplishments, none greater or more profound than his founding of the famed City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach in 1953. See my 2013 column on the store’s 60th anniversary here.

In turn, the following pair of poems serve to celebrate Ferlinghetti’s place as elder-statesman of the Beat Generation, celebrating the way he came to inspire throngs of artists throughout the world: At all times imploring us to keep fighting against the forces that oppress free expression.

Rivers Dreaming Me

(On Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th Birthday)

I.

You wrote
A poem once
About old
Italian men
In San Francisco
(talking)
Through the
Half mad
Cathedral bells
(Saint)
Peter & Paul
At the
Dawn hour
Of no
Next Century

(I)
Still hear
The sacred breaths
Of those
Words reverberate
(and)
Still hear
The echoes
Talk to me
In silent rhymes
(when)
I dream

II.

(whose)
Life serves
As a hymn
To Kerouac’s
Mad ones
(this)
Exalted pilgrimage
(back)
To eyes

by John Aiello

March 2019

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2019 by in 2019, March 2019, Poetry and tagged , , .
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