Thursday, April 13, 2006

Reading: Ferlinghetti. (Poetry).

It is so strange to look back and see the path you took to fall in love with someone, twisting and curving behind you, a trail of smoke and memories. I can vaguely remember reading a Ferlinghetti poem for an art history class, but I remember nothing else about it save that he was the author. The way I might fall in love with a guy that I only vaguely remember meeting months before, and I can only remember that I met him, nothing more. With Ferlinghetti it would take seven years before I picked up A Coney Island of the Mind (how that came to pass is another story, for another time) and gradually fell into the rhythm of his words. It was the title that called to me, and the poems themselves, Autobiography in particular, that drew me in deeper into this "circus of the soul." That was the beginning. Then I found European Poems and Transitions: Over all the Obscene Boundaries. I read it, late one night, and I dreamed of Paris, where I've never been. I was lost in his words, wandering through the cities of the poems in my dreams, gently drifting into that slow, endless free-fall that is love.

And then came A Far Rockaway of the Heart. Written some forty years after A Coney Island of the Mind, it feels like an echo, not a faint memory, but a deeper, richer, more emotionally reverberating sound than the previous book. I have been reading it and re-reading it; my favorite poems are so beautiful I feel my heart cracking wide open as the words seem to rise from the page and embrace me. Every night before I sleep I have to read about his parents falling in love or the young people in the Piazza della Rotunda who are deaf to everything except "the distant roaring of their futures." And when I read these poems I hear the distant roaring of my own future, and dream of the life and love that I hope is waiting ahead.

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