Sunday, March 05, 2017

City Lights

City Lights Bookstone, San Francisco
Founded in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

—Diane di Prima

Going there for the first time

it was so much smaller then

that crowded downstairs full of poetry

racks of tattered little mags against the wall

those rickety white tables where folks sat reading/writing

Vesuvio’s was like an adjunct office

Arriving again a year later, two kids in tow

Lawrence gave me a huge stack of his publications

“I’ve got books” he said “like other people have mice”

And North Beach never stopped being mysterious

when I moved out here in 1968

that publishing office on Filbert & Grant was a mecca

a place to meet up with my kids if we got separated

during one of those innumerable demonstrations

(tho Lawrence worried, told me I shd keep them

out of harm’s way, at home) I thought they shd learn

whatever it was we were learning—

Office right around the corner from the bead store

where I found myself daily, picking up supplies

How many late nights did we haunt the Store

buying scads of new poems from all corners of the earth

then head to the all-night Tower Records full of drag queens

& revolutionaries, to get a few songs

And dig it, City Lights still here, like some old lighthouse

though all the rest is gone,

the poetry’s moved upstairs, the publishing office

right there now too       & crowds of people

one third my age or less still haunt the stacks

seeking out voices from all quarters

of the globe


—Medusa, reminding you that today, 2pm, Mosaic of Voices presents Kenneth Chacón, Marisol Baca and Michael Bedrano at the new location of Avid Reader in Sac., 1945 Broadway.