16+ Best Lawrence Ferlinghetti Poems You Need To Read

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti is an American poet, painter, social activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. He is the author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration.

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Famous Lawrence Ferlinghetti Poems

The World Is A Beautiful Place

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don’t mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don’t sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t mind some people dying
all the time
or maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn’t half bad
if it isn’t you

Oh the world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey to
with its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen

and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
dancing
and going swimming in rivers
on picnics
in the middle of the summer
and just generally
‘living it up’
Yes
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling

mortician

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 through 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 the American Boy
to take off Beauty’s clothes
and get on top of her
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 waiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Underwear

I didn’t get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear
Have you ever stopped to consider
underwear in the abstract
When you really dig into it
some shocking problems are raised
Underwear is something we all have to deal with
Everyone wears
some kind of underwear
Even Indians wear underwear
Even Cubans
wear underwear
The Pope wears underwear I hope
The Governor of Louisiana wears underwear
I saw him on TV
He must have had tight underwear
He squirmed a lot
Underwear can really get you in a bind
You have seen the underwear ads for men and women
so alike but so different
Women’s underwear holds things up
Men’s underwear holds things down
Underwear is one thing
men and women do have in common
Underwear is all we have between us
You have seen the three-color pictures
with crotches encircled
to show the areas of extra strength
with three-way stretch
promising full freedom of action
Don’t be deceived
It’s all based on the two-party system
which doesn’t allow much freedom of choice
the way things are set up
America in its Underwear
struggles thru the night
Underwear controls everything in the end
Take foundation garments for instance
They are really fascist forms
of underground government
making people believe
something but the truth
telling you what you can of can’t do
Did you ever try to get around a girdle
Perhaps Non-Violent Action
is the only answer
Did Gandhi wear a girdle?
Did Lady Macbeth wear a girdle?
Was that why Macbeth murdered sleep?

And the spot she was always rubbing –
Was it really her underwear?
Modern anglosaxon ladies
must have huge guilt complexes
always washing and washing and washing
Out damned spot
Underwear with spots very suspicious
Underwear with bulges very shocking
Underwear on clothesline a great flag of freedom
Someone has escaped his Underwear
May be naked somewhere
Help!
But don’t worry
Everybody’s still hung up in it
There won’t be no real revolution
And poetry still the underwear of the soul
And underwear still covering
a multitude of faults

in the geological sense –
strange sedimentary stones, inscrutable cracks!
If I were you I’d keep aside
an oversize pair of winter underwear
Do not go naked into that good night
And in the meantime
keep calm and warm and dry
No use stirring ourselves up prematurely
‘over Nothing’
Move forward with dignity
hand in vest
Don’t get emotional
And death shall have no dominion
There’s plenty of time my darling
Are we not still young and easy?
Don’t shout.

The Changing Light

The changing light
at San Francisco
is none of your East Coast light
none of your
pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light
And the light of fog
blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate
to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like
it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o’clock
s weeping the hills

And then the veil of light of early evening

And then another scrim
when the new night fog
floats in
And in that vale of light
the city drifts
anchorless upon the ocean

The Great Chinese Dragon

The great Chinese dragon which is the greatest dragon in all the
world and which once upon a time was towed across the
Pacific by a crew of coolies rowing in an open boat—was
the first real live dragon ever actually to reach these shores

And the great Chinese dragon passing thru the Golden Gate
spouting streams of water like a string of fireboats then broke
loose somewhere near China Camp gulped down a hundred
Chinese seamen and forthwith ate all the shrimp in San Francisco Bay

And the great Chinese dragon was therefore forever after confined
in a Chinatown basement and ever since allowed out only for
Chinese New Year’s parades and other Unamerican demonstrations
paternally watched-over by those benevolent men in
blue who represent our more advanced civilization which has
reached such a high state of democracy as to allow even a
few barbarians to carry on their quaint native customs in our midst

And thus the great Chinese dragon which is the greatest dragon
in all the world now can only be seen creeping out of an
Adler Alley cellar like a worm out of a hole sometime during
the second week in February every year when it sorties out
of hibernation in its Chinese storeroom pushed from behind
by a band of fortythree Chinese electricians and technicians
who stuff its peristaltic accordion-body up thru a sidewalk
delivery entrance

And first the swaying snout appears and then the eyes at ground
level feeling along the curb and then the head itself casting
about and swayingand heaving finally up to the corner of
Grant Avenue itself where a huge paper sign proclaims the
World’s Largest Chinatown

And the great Chinese dragon’s jaws wired permanently agape as
if by a demented dentist to display the Cadmium teeth as the
hungry head heaves out into Grant Avenue right under the
sign and raising itself with a great snort of fire suddenly proclaims
the official firecracker start of the Chinese New Year

And the lightbulb eyes lighting up and popping out on coiled wire
springs and the body stretching and rocking further and
further around the corner and down Grant Avenue like a
caterpillar rollercoaster with the eyes sprung out and waving
in the air like the blind feelers of some mechanical preying
mantis and the eyes blinking on and off with Chinese red
pupils and tiny bamboo-blind eyelids going up and down

And here comes the St. Mary’s Chinese Girls’ Drum Corps and
here come sixteen white men in pith helmets beating big bass
drums representing the Order of the Moose and here comes
a gang of happy car salesmen disguised as Islam Shriners
and here comes a chapter of the Order of Improved Red Men
and here comes a cordon of motorcycle cops in crash helmets
with radios going followed by a small papier-mâché lion fed
with Nekko wafers and run by two guys left over from a
Ten-Ten festival which in turn is followed by the great
Chinese dragon itself gooking over balconies as it comes

And the great Chinese dragon has eaten a hundred humans and
their legs pop out of his underside and are his walking legs
which are not mentioned in the official printed program in
which he is written up as the Great Golden Dragon made in
Hong Kong to the specifications of the Chinese Chamber of
Commerce and he represents the force and mystery of life
and his head sways in the sky between the balconies as he
comes followed by six Chinese boy scouts wearing Keds and
carrying strings of batteries that light up the dragon like a
nighttime freeway

And he has lain all winter among a heap of collapsed paper
lanterns and green rubber lizards and ivory backscratchers
with the iron sidewalk doors closed over his head but he has
now sprung up with the first sign of Spring like the force of
life itself and his head sways in the sky and gooks in green
windows as he comes

And he is a monster with the head of a dog and the body of a
serpent risen yearly out of the sea to devour a virgin thrown
from a cliff to appease him and he is a young man handsome
and drunk ogling the girls and he has high ideals and a
hundred sport shoes and he says No to Mother and he is a
big red table the world will never tilt and he has big eyes
everywhere thru which he sees all womankind milkwhite and
dove-breasted and he will eat their waterflowers for he is the
cat with future feet wearing Keds and he eats cake out of
pastry windows and is hungrier and more potent and more
powerful and more omnivorous than the papier-mâché lion
run by the two guys and he is a great earthworm of lucky life
filled with flowing Chinese semen and he considers his own
and our existence in its most profound sense as he comes and
he has no Christian answer to the existential question even
as he sees the spiritual everywhere translucent in the material
world and he does not want to escape the responsibility of
being a dragon or the consequences of his long horny tail still
buried in the basement but the blue citizens on their talking
cycles think that he wants to escape and at all costs he must
not be allowed to escape because the great Chinese dragon
is the greatest potential dragon in all the world and if allowed
to escape from Chinatown might gallop away up their new
freeway at the Broadway entrance mistaking it for a Great
Wall of China or some other barbarian barrier and so go
careening along it chewing up stanchions and signposts and
belching forth some strange disintegrating medium which
might melt down the great concrete walls of America and
they are afraid of how far the great Chinese dragon might
really go starting from San Francisco and so they have
secretly and securely tied down the very end of his
tail in its
hole
so that
this great pulsing phallus of life at the very end of its parade
at the very end of Chinatown gives ones wild orgasm of a shudder
and rolls over fainting in the bright night street since even
for a dragon every orgasm is a little death

And then the great Chinese dragon starts silently shrinking and
shriveling up and drawing back and back to its first cave
and the soft silk skin wrinkles up and shrinks and
shrinks on its sprung bamboo bones and the handsome
dejected head hangs down like a defeated prizefighter’s and
so is stuffed down again a last into its private place and the
cellar sidewalk doors press down again over the great wilted
head with one small hole of an eye blinking still thru the
gratings of the metal doors as the great Chinese dragon gives
one last convulsive earthquake shake and rolls over dead-dog
to wait another white year for the final coming and the final
sowing of his oats and teeth

Dove Sta Amore

Dove sta amore
Where lies love
Dove sta amore
Here lies love
The ring dove love
In lyrical delight
Hear love’s hillsong
Love’s true willsong
Love’s low plainsong
Too sweet painsong
In passages of night
Dove sta amore
Here lies love
The ring dove love
Dove sta amore
Here lies love

Seascape With Sun And Eagle

Freer
than most birds
an eagle flies up
over San Francisco
freer than most places
soars high up
floats and glides high up
in the still
open spaces

flown from the mountains
floated down
far over ocean
where the sunset has begun
a mirror of itself

He sails high over
turning and turning
where seaplanes might turn
where warplanes might burn

He wheels about burning
in the red sun
climbs and glides
and doubles back upon himself
now over ocean
now over land
high over pinwheels suck in sand
where a rollercoaster used to stand

soaring eagle setting sun
All that is left of our wilderness

To The Oracle At Delphi

Great Oracle, why are you staring at me,
do I baffle you, do I make you despair?
I, Americus, the American,
wrought from the dark in my mother long ago,
from the dark of ancient Europa–
Why are you staring at me now
in the dusk of our civilization–
Why are you staring at me
as if I were America itself
the new Empire
vaster than any in ancient days
with its electronic highways
carrying its corporate monoculture
around the world
And English the Latin of our days–

Great Oracle, sleeping through the centuries,
Awaken now at last
And tell us how to save us from ourselves
and how to survive our own rulers
who would make a plutocracy of our democracy
in the Great Divide
between the rich and the poor
in whom Walt Whitman heard America singing

O long-silent Sybil,
you of the winged dreams,
Speak out from your temple of light
as the serious constellations
with Greek names
still stare down on us
as a lighthouse moves its megaphone
over the sea
Speak out and shine upon us
the sea-light of Greece
the diamond light of Greece

Far-seeing Sybil, forever hidden,
Come out of your cave at last
And speak to us in the poet’s voice
the voice of the fourth person singular
the voice of the inscrutable future
the voice of the people mixed
with a wild soft laughter–
And give us new dreams to dream,
Give us new myths to live by!

Oh You Gatherer

Oh you gatherer
of the fine ash of poetry
ash of the too-white flame
of poetry

Consider those who have burned before you
in the so-white fire

Crucible of Keats and Campana
Bruno and Sappho
Rimbaud and Poe and Corso
And Shelley burning on the beach
at Viarreggio

And now in the night
in the general conflagration
the white light
still consuming us
small clowns
with our little tapers
held to the flame

Away Above A Harborful

Away above a harborful
of caulkless houses
among the charley noble chimneypots
of a rooftop rigged with clotheslines
a woman pastes up sails
upon the wind
hanging out her morning sheets
with wooden pins
O lovely mammal
her nearly naked breasts
throw taut shadows
when she stretches up
to hang at last the last of her
so white washed sins
but it is wetly amorous
and winds itself about her
clinging to her skin
So caught with arms
upraised
she tosses back her head
in voiceless laughter
and in choiceless gesture then
shakes out gold hair

while in the reachless seascape spaces

between the blown white shrouds

stand out the bright steamers

to kingdom come

Autobiography

I am leading a quiet life
in Mike’s Place every day
watching the champs
of the Dante Billiard Parlor
and the French pinball addicts.
I am leading a quiet life
on lower East Broadway.
I am an American.
I was an American boy.
I read the American Boy Magazine
and became a boy scout
in the suburbs.
I thought I was Tom Sawyer
catching crayfish in the Bronx River
and imagining the Mississippi.
I had a baseball mit
and an American Flyer bike.
I delivered the Woman’s Home Companion
at five in the afternoon
or the Herald Trib
at five in the morning.
I still can hear the paper thump
on lost porches.
I had an unhappy childhood.
I saw Lindbergh land.
I looked homeward
and saw no angel.
I got caught stealing pencils
from the Five and Ten Cent Store
the same month I made Eagle Scout.
I chopped trees for the CCC
and sat on them.
I landed in Normandy
in a rowboat that turned over.
I have seen the educated armies
on the beach at Dover.
I have seen Egyptian pilots in purple clouds
shopkeepers rolling up their blinds
at midday
potato salad and dandelions
at anarchist picnics.
I am reading ‘Lorna Doone’
and a life of John Most
terror of the industrialist
a bomb on his desk at all times.
I have seen the garbagemen parade
in the Columbus Day Parade
behind the glib
farting trumpeters.
I have not been out to the Cloisters
in a long time
nor to the Tuileries
but I still keep thinking
of going.
I have seen the garbagemen parade
when it was snowing.
I have eaten hotdogs in ballparks.
I have heard the Gettysburg Address
and the Ginsberg Address.
I like it here
and I won’t go back
where I came from.
I too have ridden boxcars boxcars boxcars.
I have travelled among unknown men.
I have been in Asia
with Noah in the Ark.
I was in India
when Rome was built.
I have been in the Manger
with an Ass.
I have seen the Eternal Distributor
from a White Hill
in South San Francisco
and the Laughing Woman at Loona Park
outside the Fun House
in a great rainstorm
still laughing.
I have heard the sound of revelry
by night.
I have wandered lonely
as a crowd.
I am leading a quiet life
outside of Mike’s Place every day
watching the world walk by
in its curious shoes.
I once started out
to walk around the world
but ended up in Brooklyn.
That Bridge was too much for me.
I have engaged in silence
exile and cunning.
I flew too near the sun
and my wax wings fell off.
I am looking for my Old Man
whom I never knew.
I am looking for the Lost Leader
with whom I flew.
Young men should be explorers.
Home is where one starts from.
But Mother never told me
there’d be scenes like this.
Womb-weary
I rest
I have travelled.
I have seen goof city.
I have seen the mass mess.
I have heard Kid Ory cry.
I have heard a trombone preach.
I have heard Debussy
strained thru a sheet.
I have slept in a hundred islands
where books were trees.
I have heard the birds
that sound like bells.
I have worn grey flannel trousers
and walked upon the beach of hell.
I have dwelt in a hundred cities
where trees were books.
What subways what taxis what cafes!
What women with blind breasts
limbs lost among skyscrapers!
I have seen the statues of heroes
at carrefours.
Danton weeping at a metro entrance
Columbus in Barcelona
pointing Westward up the Ramblas
toward the American Express
Lincoln in his stony chair
And a great Stone Face
in North Dakota.
I know that Columbus
did not invent America.
I have heard a hundred housebroken Ezra Pounds.
They should all be freed.
It is long since I was a herdsman.
I am leading a quiet life
in Mike’s Place every day
reading the Classified columns.
I have read the Reader’s Digest
from cover to cover
and noted the close identification
of the United States and the Promised Land
where every coin is marked
In God We Trust
but the dollar bills do not have it
being gods unto themselves.
I read the Want Ads daily
looking for a stone a leaf
an unfound door.
I hear America singing
in the Yellow Pages.
One could never tell
the soul has its rages.
I read the papers every day
and hear humanity amiss
in the sad plethora of print.
I see where Walden Pond has been drained
to make an amusement park.
I see they’re making Melville
eat his whale.
I see another war is coming
but I won’t be there to fight it.
I have read the writing
on the outhouse wall.
I helped Kilroy write it.
I marched up Fifth Avenue
blowing on a bugle in a tight platoon
but hurried back to the Casbah
looking for my dog.
I see a similarity
between dogs and me.
Dogs are the true observers
walking up and down the world
thru the Molloy country.
I have walked down alleys
too narrow for Chryslers.
I have seen a hundred horseless milkwagons
in a vacant lot in Astoria.
Ben Shahn never painted them
but they’re there
askew in Astoria.
I have heard the junkman’s obbligato.
I have ridden superhighways
and believed the billboard’s promises
Crossed the Jersey Flats
and seen the Cities of the Plain
And wallowed in the wilds of Westchester
with its roving bands of natives
in stationwagons.
I have seen them.
I am the man.
I was there.
I suffered
somewhat.
I am an American.
I have a passport.
I did not suffer in public.
And I’m too young to die.
I am a selfmade man.
And I have plans for the future.
I am in line
for a top job.
I may be moving on
to Detroit.
I am only temporarily
a tie salesman.
I am a good Joe.
I am an open book
to my boss.
I am a complete mystery
to my closest friends.
I am leading a quiet life
in Mike’s Place every day
contemplating my navel.
I am a part
of the body’s long madness.
I have wandered in various nightwoods.
I have leaned in drunken doorways.
I have written wild stories
without punctuation.
I am the man.
I was there.
I suffered
somewhat.
I have sat in an uneasy chair.
I am a tear of the sun.
I am a hill
where poets run.
I invented the alphabet
after watching the flight of cranes
who made letters with their legs.
I am a lake upon a plain.
I am a word
in a tree.
I am a hill of poetry.
I am a raid
on the inarticulate.
I have dreamt
that all my teeth fell out
but my tongue lived
to tell the tale.
For I am a still
of poetry.
I am a bank of song.
I am a playerpiano
in an abandoned casino
on a seaside esplanade
in a dense fog
still playing.
I see a similarity
between the Laughing Woman
and myself.
I have heard the sound of summer
in the rain.
I have seen girls on boardwalks
have complicated sensations.
I understand their hesitations.
I am a gatherer of fruit.
I have seen how kisses
cause euphoria.
I have risked enchantment.
I have seen the Virgin
in an appletree at Chartres
And Saint Joan burn
at the Bella Union.
I have seen giraffes in junglejims
their necks like love
wound around the iron circumstances
of the world.
I have seen the Venus Aphrodite
armless in her drafty corridor.
I have heard a siren sing
at One Fifth Avenue.
I have seen the White Goddess dancing
in the Rue des Beaux Arts
on the Fourteenth of July
and the Beautiful Dame Without Mercy
picking her nose in Chumley’s.
She did not speak English.
She had yellow hair
and a hoarse voice
I am leading a quiet life
in Mike’s Place every day
watching the pocket pool players
making the minestrone scene
wolfing the macaronis
and I have read somewhere
the Meaning of Existence
yet have forgotten
just exactly where.
But I am the man
And I’ll be there.
And I may cause the lips
of those who are asleep
to speak.
And I may make my notebooks
into sheaves of grass.
And I may write my own
eponymous epitaph
instructing the horsemen
to pass.

History Of The Airplane

And the Wright brothers said they thought they had invented
something that could make peace on earth
(if the wrong brothers didn’t get hold of it)
when their wonderful flying machine took off at Kitty Hawk
into the kingdom of birds but the parliament of birds was freaked out
by this man-made bird and fled to heaven

And then the famous Spirit of Saint Louis took off eastward and
flew across the Big Pond with Lindy at the controls in his leather
helmet and goggles hoping to sight the doves of peace but he did not
Even though he circled Versailles

And then the famous Yankee Clipper took off in the opposite
direction and flew across the terrific Pacific but the pacific doves
were frighted by this strange amphibious bird and hid in the orient sky

And then the famous Flying Fortress took off bristling with guns
and testosterone to make the world safe for peace and capitalism
but the birds of peace were nowhere to be found before or after Hiroshima

And so then clever men built bigger and faster flying machines and
these great man-made birds with jet plumage flew higher than any
real birds and seemed about to fly into the sun and melt their wings
and like Icarus crash to earth

And the Wright brothers were long forgotten in the high-flying
bombers that now began to visit their blessings on various Third
Worlds all the while claiming they were searching for doves of
peace

And they kept flying and flying until they flew right into the 21st
century and then one fine day a Third World struck back and
stormed the great planes and flew them straight into the beating
heart of Skyscraper America where there were no aviaries and no
parliaments of doves and in a blinding flash America became a part
of the scorched earth of the world

And a wind of ashes blows across the land
And for one long moment in eternity
There is chaos and despair

And buried loves and voices
Cries and whispers
Fill the air
Everywhere

Dog

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn’t hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit’s Tower
and past Congressman Doyle
He’s afraid of Coit’s Tower
but he’s not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog’s life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
barking
democratic dog
engaged in real
free enterprise
with something to say
about ontology
something to say
about reality
and how to see it
and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
his picture taken
for Victor Records
listening for
His Master’s Voice
and looking
like a living questionmark
into the
great gramaphone
of puzzling existence
with its wondrous hollow horn
which always seems
just about to spout forth
some Victorious answer
to everything

People Getting Divorced

People getting divorced
riding around with their clothes in the car
and wondering what happened
to everyone and everything
including their other
pair of shoes
And if you spy one
then who knows what happened
to the other
with tongue alack
and years later not even knowing
if the other ever
found a mate
without splitting the seams
or remained intact
unlaced
and the sole
ah the soul
a curious conception
hanging on somehow
to walk again
in the free air
once the heel
has been replaced

London Crossfigured

crossfigured
creeping with trams
and the artists on sundays
in the summer
all ‘tracking Nature’
in the suburbs
It
could have been anyplace
but it wasn’t
It was
London
and when someone shouted over
that they had got a model
I ran out across the court
but then
when the model started taking off
her clothes
there was nothing underneath
I mean to say
she took off her shoes
and found no feet
took off her top
and found no tit
under it
and I must say she did look
a bit
ASTOUNDED
just standing there
looking down
at where her legs were
not
But so very carefully then
she put her clothes back on
and as soon as she was dressed again
completely
she was completely
all right
Do it again! cried someone
rushing for his easel
But she was afraid to
and gave up modelling
and forever after
slept in her clothes

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