Life On A B-I7

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Ferlinghetti Rails

Sunday, November 10, 2019

I wrote this poem while I was on my “Southern Tier” bicycle tour. I also kept a journal on the tour, you can read the journal by clicking on the Archive Link at the top of this page and selecting “Southern Tier 2019.”

I picked up a copy of “A Coney Island of the Mind” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in a small used bookstore in Silver City, NM. It’s a compendium of poems taken from Ferlinghetti’s earlier works. I’ve been reading it as I have crossed the country. His poetry is deep and has an intellectual bent. He was an accomplished scholar. His contemporaries called him a “beat” poet, which he denied. I agree with his contemporaries. One poem in particular grabbed me. His poem #2 from the 1955 work, “Pictures of the Gone World.” It grabbed me because I have a very different view of life. This poem, that I call “Ferlinghetti Rails” (for reasons you will easily recognize, but also for the intentional pun) is an attempt to present my view. Please forgive me for taking such liberty.

Ferlinghetti Rails

“Love comes harder to the aged.”

I beg to differ.

I don’t want to

“run out on a rusty spur.”

I want to be in the “Saloon car”

with the lovers, “laughing and waving,”

rushing past the spur

where the rails ended

and the aged sit.

Someone has to show the passengers

in the Saloon car

how to live.

Brad Adkins