Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Six Degrees of San Francisco

I recently returned from a trip to San Francisco.

And San Francisco is home to City Lights.

City Lights was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin. It remains one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States.

City Lights was the first to publish the Beat poets (Jack Kerouac coined the term "Beat Generation," describing the down-and-out status of himself and his peers during the post-war years).

The term Beatnik as in Beat Generation, is a loose synonym of Hippie.

And I am a Hippie Mom. 

And this Hippie Mom is also a poet.

Here are my first two published poems:


Pet Therapy Part I

He gave the young woman a kiss.

Pet Therapy Part II

He gave the old woman a puppy.


Yay. Uh huh.  Right.  

Good news is I don't write much poetry anymore.  You can probably see why.

Not only am I published, I've made money writing poetry.  

Years ago I won the poetry slam at The Original Sub Shop and shared a cash prize of $7 dollars and some change.  A friend and I were sitting at a table when the slam was announced.  For fun we decided to enter. My friend, let's call her Carolyn, wrote about hommus, and I wrote about abortion.  We combined the two poems into one and my friend read it in that exaggerated, annoying drawn out voice that all the poets use.  Yes, hommus and abortion--sure winners every time.

And that friend, Carolyn, was with me in San Francisco.

Where we saw City Lights.

And City Lights has published many of the books of Charles Bukowski.

And here is a poem by Charles Bukowski:


B kind
B a good listener
B able to engage in physical combat
B a lover of classical music
B a tolerator of children
B a good horseplayer
B an agnostic
B generous on the freeways of the world
B a good sleeper
B not fearful of death
B unable to beg
B able to love
B able to feel superior
B able to understand that too much education is a fart in
in the dark
B able to dislike poets and poetry
B able to understand that shit is necessary
B aware that in every life a little bit of shit must fall
B aware that a hell of a lot more shit falls on some more
than on
B aware that many dumb bastards crawl the earth
B aware that the human heart cannot be broken
B able to stay away from movies
B able to sit alone in a room and feel good
B able to watch your cat cross the floor like a miracle
B able to recognize bullshit even when you hear it from
B ukowski

But wait. Aren't you supposed to be writing the raw and often ridiculous details of the trips to San Francisco that have marked life-changing events, you say.  Yes, I am.

But I can't let April go by without a tribute to National Poetry Month.  

Just not possible for this Hippie Mom.

posted at Humor-Blogs


sage said...

City Lights is a wonderful bookstore, but $3.50 for a poem don't pay the rent (of course, it's more than I've made on poetry)

musingwoman said...

>>B able to stay away from movies

But, why??


I totally fell in love with San Francisco when I was there last November for a conference. It was magical, and fun, and amazing. I have been to that book store as well:)

Candice said...

What a coincidence. I'm a poet as well.

Roses are red

violets are blue...

Why aren't they fucking violet? That's what I want to know

Deep, right?

ReformingGeek said...

2B or not 2B? What about 2A and 2C and all the other letters? They may feel left out.

Yep. That's why I'm not a poet.

I'll have to check out that bookstore next time I'm there.

VE said...

I remember that bookstore!

The Self-Deprechaun said...

This was a very poetic and playful entry, Hippie Mom!

Bee said...

B awesome.

One of the places I dream to go to one day is San Fransisco. So far I can't get my husband to take to Wisconsin. Jerk. ;o)

Chris Wood said...

Good one from Chuck - excellent.

Independent bookshops are superb, no question.

Jocelyn said...

I often have trouble liking poetry (I am the World's Worst English Teacher that way), but Bukowski ROCKS ("It's better to be driven around in a red Porsche than to own one"). So do your poems. You are totally my kind of poet.

Here's the level of my personal poetry: when you started out by noting that SF is the home of City Lights, I immediately thought this post was going to be about Journey and "when the lights, go down, in the city."

Ann's Rants said...

Thanks for stopping by my VLAAG! Nothing I love more that poetry and hommos..wait I mean pita and hommos



bernthis said...

I hear no mention of a bra burning in that poem although now that I think about it it is more than likely Mr. Bukowski didn't have a rack.

Tribe said...

When Carrie and I went to SF quite some while ago, it was the biggest thrill for me to see the City Lights bookstore. It was a rush for me.