February 26th, 2021

sunbeam on me

40 years ago tonight




So that guy a couple of days ago in that postcard with Ginsberg was Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  He'd just died.

I'd already had him on my mind, having caught a glimpse of the spine of one of his little books, Back Roads to Far Places, on my shelf the other day, and thinking I might pull it out, though I rarely look at books any more.  You could even say he was on my mind when I posted that card from Coney Island, given that what he is best known for, besides the bookstore I've been showing postcards of, is his book of verse that crossed over into broader popular culture.  A little like when people I knew who didn't read fiction were nonetheless reading The Color Purple, people who didn't so much read poetry still often had read, and even had a copy of, A Coney Island of the Mind.  If you're vaguely curious about poetry, it's a fine volume to crack.

If I weren't including Harvey Fierstein in my twitter feed, I might not have yet heard the word--- as he put it:  "Ferlinghetti gone."  The guy was 101, so no spring chicken--- and maybe he didn't exactly call it in the famous poem in which he says, at the end of the world being a beautiful place if, that it's right in the middle that along comes the smiling mortician, for it was surely closer to the end that it happened to him.  Although when it happens, of course, it's the end, whenever.

I was glad to know the news, vs. finding out months later, but it hit me as these things hit folks sometimes, and my day was immediately derailed.  I wrote my boss and my second/assistant-me that I would be in and out at best, and apart from a long voice meeting in Discord with the IT head, I mostly took the day to read and feel me some Larry.  Best reason for a holiday I'd had all pandemic, really.  Somehow.

My first thought about this post was to write it in the style of a Ferlinghetti poem.  And maybe I'll do a Ferlinghetti-type poem soon.  But what I have is a narrative I want to tell bits of, from that night 40 years ago, which was also the birthday of the first woman I'd sleep with, a few months later.  And I wanted to give you more narrative than would have been in the poem.

I was just over halfway into my freshman year Collapse )

It was quite a night.

Turned out it wasn't a slice of life I could later run off to be a part of, ongoingly.  When I got to the city, it was queerness and intimacy and a friendship cluster and the rudiments of making a living that I'd be negotiating.  Along with a girlfriend who didn't want to be a lesbian.  That was a lot.

You can maybe get, though, why, when I found it many years later, I stuck the poster for the reading that I'd grabbed off a phone pole into a cheap frame, and have kept it around.