Ferlinghetti Turns 100!

“Freedom of speech is always under attack

By Fascist mentality, which exists,

In all parts of the world,

Unfortunately.” –Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Lawrence Ferlinghetti (See above) is a poet (think the 1950s Beat generation) and founder (in the 1950s) of San Francisco’s “City Lights” bookstore.  It is one of the country’s best and most famous bookstores –along with NYC’s “Strand” and “Moe’s Books” in Berkeley, California.

Rudyard Kipling: “San Francisco has only one drawback: ‘tis hard to leave.’”  Allen Ginsberg  wrote “Howl” while living in San Francisco.  Jack Kerouac came and went there. His book, “On the Road”, mentioned San Francisco this way: “Everybody wants to get to San Francisco, and what for? In God’s name and under the stars, what for?  For joy, for kicks, for something burning in the night.”

Ferlinghetti was born on 3/24/1919 and will turn 100, in San Francisco at his bookstore, on 3/24/2019. That’s enough verbiage, here is a sample of his writing: “I Am Waiting”, a poem from the book/collection of his poems entitled: “A Coney Island of the Mind”.



I Am Waiting, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


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 fougat

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 alters

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 desire 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 stains 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.





















About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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1 Response to Ferlinghetti Turns 100!

  1. Marc Kuhn says:

    I hope he is a patient man.


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