Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 96th birthday. If you’re unaware of exactly who Lawrence Ferlinghetti is, you can read all about him here.
I pretty much owe my birth as a poet–oh, so many years ago–to my first encounter with Mr. Ferlinghetti’s work (specifically his book A Coney Island Of The Mind) when I was still just a high schoolboy.
Here’s my poem, Grace, which was published almost a year ago in Clapboard House.
Thank you, father, for all that hash when I was
just a high schoolboy; and for all those girls,
their cute little pink feet and silver toe rings
up on the dashboard, Stones on the radio,
calico dresses in the wind, tanned legs, hot
nights, warm flesh, and all those summer
sunstruck mornings waking up with no idea
whose house I was in, whose bed,
and not a second’s thought about how it’s
only Tuesday, smoky and unknowable.
Thanks for the moon reflected in windshield
raindrops, and for midnight mushrooms,
Day-Glo under blacklight, mescaline boogie,
acid rock, and acid.
……………………………But mostly thank you
for ’68: Danny Riley and his floral necktie
finishing up his student teaching,
smiling and handing me books, saying
Oh man, you should read some Ginsberg, or
Brautigan, maybe. No; here, I got it.
For you, Ferlinghetti.