The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Before and After #228: Lawrence Ferlinghetti




Trader said...

I did get across him while I was covering a Kerouac exposition in Québec City in the late '80s.

He then already looked like the "After" picture.

Nice man. Very calm. He gave me this impression of being very detached of the human passions.

I think he sold his famous store in San Francisco, City Lights Library, a place where I went a few years later, walking up the stairs, thinking of the Beat authors, Bukowski and many others.

Don't know if he still owns it.

Joe Thompson said...

He is still co-owner of City Lights.

swac said...

I actually read Coney Island of the Mind before I ever got around to On the Road or Howl (I think I was 11 or 12 at the time). That half-grin in the second photo neatly sums up the humour and humanity I found in his writing.

Trader said...

BTW, Ferlinghetti never took the risk of publishing Kerouac.

Oh irony...