When the myth dies, history is born!
When man dies, the poet is born!
After a lot of generations: burned, lost and found, a new generation is born: the Beat Generation! The word Beat has an ancipite meaning : defeated or blessed? Or both?
Lawrence Ferlinghetti had a good, fantastic and brilliant insight, when he published ” Howl”, despite the indictment and then the prison, because of the content, sometimes considered obscene and antisocial by official criticism, of the long, prosodic, narrative, psychelic poem, structured on a Jazz- Bebop rhythm, written all in one breath, by the young and singular AEDO of Paterson, New Jersey, embodying all the Spirit of the majestic American Bard of democracies, of individual and collective freedoms, simplicity, visionary lucidity, justice, truth and wisdom, in the magical instantaneous action: Walt Withman.
Bravely, Ferlinghetti, as editor, gave wings to “Howl” , to fly everywhere and the verse of the incipit:” I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”, continues to flow throughout the world, beyond the pages, perhaps more in Europe than in America and its natural, realistic, icastic representation still echoes rebellion, sorrow and happiness of that genetation,
in our mind, in our heart, like a Mantra, the same Mantra that Guru Allen sang from the unstable stage built on the warm sand of the dunes, which on the second day collapsed on itself, in the two incredible, mythical nights of Castel Porziano, to appease the crowd of hippies, hipsters, beatniks, freaks, communists, anarchists, libertarians, who went there hoping to find musicians instead of poets, music and concerts instead of poetry and readings.
Ferlinghetti represents the cleanest part of that kinda writers, painters, musicians, poets of the now famous “Beat” period.
In one of his poems, ” Big Fat Hairy vision Of Evil”, translated and published, by Fernanda Pivano, in 1964, on her anthology, “Poesia degli ultimi americani”, “Poetry of the last Americans”, he shows, in a peculiar way, his point of view, about the world and the whole creation, the dychotomy between good and evil and writing as follows, he establishes and declares, his poetics.
” Evil evil evil/world is evil/ life is evil/ all is evil/ if I ride the horse of hate/ with its evil hooked eye/ turning world to evil/ evil is death warmed over/evil is Live spelledb backward/ evil is Lamb burning bright/ evil is love fried upon a spit/ and turned upon itself/” and keeping on:
“Naked lunch is evil lunch/ because it is the brunch of hate/ I am not ready to eat it/I am not that hungry/ I am afraid/ I cannot run forever“.
From a strictly formal approach,
It is important to note that in this poetic construct, there is no sign of interpunction and monhemies, morphemes and phonemes, flow on the white meadow, following the course of a primordial fluid, without any external contamination:almost a stream of consciousness.
Is he talking about William Burroughs Seward II and his novel, “The naked lunch“? Maybe he is referring to the originins of evil in the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve were naked, when they ate the forbidden fruit, making a mortal transgression.
However, he never is ambiguous, never belongs to evil and its roots and seems to agree with Agostino D’Ippona’s idea, well known as: “Privatio boni”, that is :” Evil is an absence of good”.
The well- behaved, multifaceted and gentle poet of San Francisco, rather than an anglosaxon influence, has a Latin, Mediterranean feeling, certainly due to his Italian descent.
The end is already contained in the principle! Death does not exist! Death is born with life! Man, instinctively knows all this, but intellectually, does not accept this condition of the ephemeral in infinity and therefore is forced to exorcise the fateful event, to drive it away.
Hamlet’s anguish pervades the many generations over the centuries, until this day
and when the final moment comes, no one is happy, ready to receive it, prepared to go, toward infinity and beyond.
Perhaps running the risk of appearing a little bit narcissist, at this point, I would like to quote myself, with the four verses of the last stanza of the fifth song, of my book,” Ora e Plutonio”, ” Now and plutonium”,
written in 1986 and published in 2010, by Nuova Cultura, New Culture, Rome.
” I grandi uomini sanno sin da piccoli/
il loro cammino, e non ridono, non piangono, / eterei camminano senza Patti col tempo:/ eterei anche sulla nuda terra.”/
” Great Men know from an early age/ their path, and they do not laugh, they do not cry, / ethereal they walk without pacts with time:/ ethereal even on bare earth. “/
And Ferlinghetti was a great man, poet, artist, publisher, philanthropist, always ready to sacrifice himself for the others, without sparing himself.
His extensive artistic and human work has represented and represents a significant moment in american alternative culture.
A giant of the creative, eclectic, visionary culture, of his time!
His City Lights Bookstore will continue to be a Melting Pot of races, of ideas, of creativity, for future generations.
His breath will remain unscathed, even now that he is no longer here: the last of the Beat Generation…
the last of the Mohicans, in the earthly and celestial prairies.
Ferlinghetti had the ability to ironize about death, abou his death and with some verses of the poem ” The man who rode away”, written long ago, 1962, he shows how he imagines his departure.
” Above Taos now/ I peer to the crack/ of your locked door/ Dead Lawrence/ and there indeed I see/ they’ve got you now at last/ safely stashed away/ locked away from the light/ of your dear sun/ in the weird great dark/ of your little/ shuttered shrine/ with the dark brown cover…your tin phoenix tacked to a tree/ drops in a giftshop window/ a mistral wind / rattles the pine needles of your bones”/
What else? “Death shall have no dominion”, Dylan Thomas. ” Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi.”, Cesare Pavese…
Death, death, Death has lost her memory…
We are going to go where we already are ,right now, but we do not realize we are here and there: two eyes in the same EYE…
sailing aimlessly, in this passing life, I had the pleasure and the honour of meeting Lawrence Ferlinghetti personally, in 1979, at Castel Porziano ( International poetry festival – Italy) and his image, after about half a century, still remains in my mind, petrified, fresh as a rose just bloomed in the virgin lawns of spring, warm as the myriads of grains of dust, lifted from his feet on his way to a “DOVE”, already here now, clear and metaphysical, in his noble person, in his true pure surreal verses, and life…
” Horse will puke on me
Poop his baked potatoes out of me
in death’s insanity
and I will eat that naked lunch
That turns me into him
In the death of that god
which is consciousness itself
ah but I will not look out
before that date
Thru Horse’s fur windows
and vomit landscapes!
Rome, 28/02/ 2021