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. The goddess Nemesis is knocking at the door…
What are poets for in such an age? What is the use of poetry? If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of Apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic. You have to decide if bird cries are cries of ecstasy or cries of despair, by which you will know if you are a tragic or a lyric poet. Conceive of love beyond sex. Be subversive, constantly questioning reality and the status quo. Strive to change the world in such a way that there’s no further need to be a dissident. Read between the lives, and write between the lines. Be committed to something outside yourself. Be passionate about it. But don’t destroy the world, unless you have something better to replace it.
If you would snatch fame from the flames, where is your burning bow, where are your arrows of desire, where your wit on fire?
The master class starts wars. The lower classes fight it. Governments lie. The voice of the government is often not the voice of the people.
Speak up, act out! Silence is complicity. Be the gadfly of the state and also its firefly. And if you have two loaves of bread, do as the Greeks did: sell one with the coin of the realm, and with the coin of the realm buy sunflowers.
Wake up! The world’s on fire!
Have a nice day!
-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art
This little diversion was lifted out of Amy Goodman's Hour With Ferlinghetti yesterday, well worth the time to sit through today while your chestnuts are roasting by open fires, Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.
It's easy to overestimate the influence of Beat Generation poets and writers on the rebellion of the 1960's and on current Rebel Hearts among us. Surely these 80-somethings (those who are still alive that is, and there are dambed few of them left) did something in their own times, and that something still resonates with us today, but what that something or what that something is is as elusive now as it was then. We try to figure it out.
Christmas time is a good time to remember, or try to remember, when memories fail us, just what it was and what it is we respond to in all the palaver and chaos that forms our contemporary notions of... History.
We look at this scroll being unrolled in public, and the wonder is (most of it) still exists, and the wonder is anybody cares any more. We've moved on. Pixels move us now.
What is this machine called a typewriter, anyway?
Cigarettes? Everybody smoked in those days. Who dares to smoke now?
"Hey, Mac. Gotta light?" My COPD ain't as bad as yours.
And yet, could we or would we have had the rebellion we did, and could or would we have the Rebel Hearts we have today if we had not had those Beat Generation dreamers and dramatic interpreters of those dreams?
City Lights still sells books on Columbus Avenue in San Franciso, still retails revolution.
Books? What are these things called Books of which you speak?
So this is Christmas, and you better Goddamn Merry It Up. Got a long slog ahead of us.
The Village demands no less!
Gonna go have me some posole now.