I had thought to begin my 4th of July by reading Ginsburg's The Fall of America. It seemed appropriate. But I can't find it. Of course. It will probably reappear in a week or two, when I am trying to find something else. So I turned to another book that happened to be lying nearby. Ferlinghetti's Americus, Book 1. I had bought it absent-mindedly and set it aside for another day.
Reading Ferlinghetti is always rather like falling down Alice's rabbit-hole into the wonderland of history and poetry and words words words, past and future and present intertwined until they are one indistinguishable whole. Americus is about America, Ferlinghetti's America, about memory, but it is about more than that, it is about poetry itself.
In Americus I find memories of Ferlinghetti's earlier poems, fragments that I think come either from A Coney Island of the Mind or perhaps from A Far Rockaway of the Heart. References to Pound, to Whitman, to earlier eras, to past wars, words of other writers weaving in and out of Ferlinghetti's own. An invisible thread connects his verses across the decades, echoing in the mind. It feels like his previous thoughts have been reimagined to burn brightly, in an entirely new way, to light up our present time.