2.24.2021 – wait forever for

wait forever for
a renaissance of wonder
perpetually

Lawrence Ferlinghetti obituary – Click there

Poet whose outlook spanned anarchism, ecology, publishing and the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco

(From the above obit) Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, artist, activist and founder of San Francisco’s famous City Lights Bookstore, who has died aged 101 of interstitial lung disease, was the least “beat” of the Beat Generation. In addition to a political commitment that blended anarchism and ecology – he loathed the motor car, calling it “the infernal combustion engine” – he had an instinctive business sense, founded on the philosophy of small is beautiful. City Lights, which he started in partnership with the magazine editor Peter Martin in the early 1950s, is still among the most welcoming of shops, with its tables and chairs, sheaves of magazines, and signs saying: “Pick a book, sit down, and read.”

Pick a book, sit down, and read.

That is what Lawrence Ferlinghetti said.

Pick a book, sit down, and read.

What more could you want to have written in your own obituary some day?

Oh I know, there should be lots of things in your obit.

But still.

Still.

“The signs in his bookstore read, Pick a book, sit down, and read.”

That isn’t too bad.

I know it’s bad form to imagine one’s own obituary and try to choose what good thing might be said about you.

Or even to hope that good things might be thought about you once you are gone.

You can’t really control what people think I guess.

Jim Harrison wrote that, just once, he wanted to win an award for his poetry that he had heard about prior to being told he had won the award.

Mr. Harrison enjoyed winning awards.

He just didn’t like saying, “Who are you again?” when the award was presented.

Thinking this one through.

I don’t plan on having a gravestone.

Ashes in the sea is where my mind is going.

I did want to have my ashes tossed off the Mackinac Bridge but my wife keeps asking, “By who?”

And it’s just too cold.

But if I was going to have a tombstone, I would ask that “Pick a book, sit down, and read.” be carved on it.

Maybe have a little bench.

Maybe if I can talk my wife into tossing me off the pier at South Beach on Tybee Island, I can get a brass plaque on one the pier benches.

Pick a book, sit down, and read.

I’d put that right there with Conrad Aiken’s “Cosmos Mariner – Destination Unknown” in Savannah’s St. Bonaventure Cemetery.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti has died.

Some time today, pick a book, sit down, and read.

Today’s Haiku is lifted from Mr. Ferlinghetti’s poem:

I Am Waiting

I am waiting for my case to come up   
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting   
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier   
and I am waiting   
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming   
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona   
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored   
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find   
the right channel   
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth   
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed   
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered   
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did   
to Tom Sawyer   
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting   
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again   
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn   
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting   
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

“I Am Waiting” from A Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti”

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