Thursday, June 07, 2012

Lawrence Ferlinghetti :: The Situation in the West followed by a Holy Proposal

Kyrie Eleison Kerista

Dreaming of utopias
where everyone's a lover
I see San Fransisco from my window
thru some old navy beerbottles
The glass is dark
What's it all about
I move the ships about
in my binoculars
like some mad admiral
Dark Dark Dark
we are all shunted into it
a concrete Crete
freeway pinball labyrinth
cars into tunnels
dancers long gone under the hills
kiss kiss in stone boudoirs
the earth a turbine
storing sexual energy
turning and turning into the dark
under the skyscrapers with their time on top
tickertape time tick tick
civilization and its crickets
The dark thread
draws us all in
into the wind-up labyrinth
undischarged sexual energy
not mine the city's
There's the Fairmont phallus
There's the Mark masturbation
There's the Park there's the cement works
There's the Steam Beer Brewing plant
There's the Actor's Workshop
Nothing brewing there these days
There's the Bay there's that Bridge
There's that treasured Island the Navy doesn't need
We need it but we don't need the Navy
Sail Away forever somewhere why don't you
Ah there's the sun again
There's the Hall of Justice blockhouse
personifying itself
Mussolini Modern
There's the sky there's skywriting
chalk on a mirror
What's it all about
Someone trying to trace something up there
Sun solves it
in the mirror
of eternity
A train pulls out of Third Street Station
not going anywhere
discharge of aimless sexual energy
tick tick over the rails
to a coupling in Palo Alto
Life goes on not going anywhere
Time goes on tick tick
what's it all about
find the tick in the labyrêve
of eternity
follow your thread
around the next corner
I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishnamurti meant
Love's a lost tick and desire fails
As we grow older the clatter becomes more complicated
Put your ear to the flesh and you'll still hear it
tick tick over the rails
bearing us away
And there is a time to die
and there is a time to live
but who's got a bad ticker
and what's everything waiting for
Don't tell me they're still Waiting
We've been thru all that already
even the poets dug it
you could almost dear them beginning to think
tick tick
even the painters finally caught on pop pop
Now it's all over maybe
nothing happening anyplace anymore maybe
especially in San Fransisco baby
stranded whales all over the place
elder statesmen poets high and dry
flopping about out of breath
and a labyrinth the worst place of all
for a whale to find himself
How do we get out
where do we go from here
what's the next development
what's around the next corner
why is everything holding its breath
why am I here typing
turned-on in my attic
holding my breath Om Om
tick tick
I've got a good ticker
I'm winding up my thread
but I am no Prince Theseus nor was meant to be
I'll slay no minotaurs in my Attic retreat
with the sword I use to cut my meat
Still I'm always looking for the action
at the heart of things
Must be something shaking somewhere
someone on some rooftop must be loving
in the hot sun
in this labyrinth of solitude
which is neither cold Crete nor hot Mexico
but is still full of solos
gringo pachucos
trying to trace it out
trying to figure out
what it's all about
and why the sun still goes on turning
and still is god to my dog
The sun the sun behold the sun
Great God Sun still riseth
in our rubaiyat
and strikes the towers with a shaft of light
The sun the sun still rules everything
even the sky as we know it
even love as we know it
even life which is nothing but heat
discharge of sexual energy
And there is a time to embrace
and there is a time to refrain from embracing
and the sun goes on cooling
Discharge of undirected sexual energy
and the Cold War gets cooler and desire fails
Other-directed sexual energy
And there is a time to hate
and there is a time to love
and there is a time to keep silence
and there is a time to speak
and two more government scientists throw in the sponge
Mis-directed sexual energy
But is this cooling-off period to string us out forever
How about some love in the cool-cool climate
how about some instant joy
inner-directed sexual energy
let's get hot again baby
I didn't say Shoot I said Fuck
I'm sorry officer don't take me away
I'm sorry Mother
that's the only word that works
It's a word of love daddy
for which there's no refined substitute
even in French
Still I'm trying to refine it
I'm trying to make it holy
I'm trying to make it socially acceptable
even to Cretan cretins lost in a maze
for to fuck is to love again
and we shall rise up again at the voice of a bird
and there is a time to hate
and there is a time to love
so let's everybody love it up
in the sun
which won't burn on forever and ever
That's the solution Comrade
maybe the only one Comrade
Why are you so puritanical Comrade
kicking Allen Ginsberg out of Czechoslovakia
Let's turn on together Comrade
and you too Colonel Cornpone
I'm serious Comrade
I'm serious Colonel Cornpone
let's repeat it together
To fuck is to love again
kyrie eleison hallelujah
A litany like that
means more to us Romans
than any Hail Mary full of grace
though blessed be the fruit of her womb
And don't think you have to lie down abjectly General
for there is a time to kill
and there is a time to kiss
but the tick of hate is loose in the labyrinth
dies irae dies illa illa illa
and ticks carry diseases but kisses carry love
which is also infectious
And there is a time for war
and there is a time for a piece of love
So get ready General
Ready Get Set Fuck
kyrie kyrie hallelujah
By the right flank Fuck
and blessed be the fruit
By the left flank Fuck
and blessed be the fruit
By the rear Fuck
Blessed Blessed Blessed
So kiss thy neighbor in another country
kyrie kyrie kyrie
exchange fucking populations
kyrie kyrie hallelujah
You send us all your women in babushkas
We'll send you all our men wearing neckties
Americans love travel
We love exotic places and people
We dig Chinese chicks we dig Cuban chicks we dig Arab boys
You'll think yours are exotic too
I'm tired of this climate anyway
you're tired of yours
so let's get together on this
let's get down to bare essentials
and have a mass exchange fuck
a fucking real exchange program
an enormous international hardcore Fuck Corps
And nevermind the protocol
and nevermind the quotas
We've all got our own passe-partout
if to fuck is to love again
And nevermind the overpopulation
Contraception can contain
all but love
And blessed be the fruit of transcopulation
and blessed be the fruit of transcopulation
and blessed be the fucking world with no more nations!
hosanna pulchrissima
kyrie kyrie kyrie kyrie hallelujah!

we'll all still have the sun
in which to recognize ourselves at last across the world
over the obscene boundaries!

San Fransisco-London 1964--1965
Read at Royal Albert Hall, London, June 11, 1965

1 comment:

Adam said...

This poem was originally published in chapbook form under the title "To Fuck Is To Love Again (Kyrie Eleison Kerista) - Or - The Situation in the West Followed by a Modest Proposal"

The version I've transcribed here was later added to the fourth printing of Ferlinghetti's "Starting From San Fransisco", which is where I found it.