from “A Coney Island of the Mind” (Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

August 17, 2009

20

The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where I first
                        fell in love
                                  with unreality
Jellybeans glowed in the semi-gloom
of that september afternoon
A cat upon the counter moved among
                                       the licorice sticks
                    and tootsie rolls
            and Oh Boy Gum

Outside the leaves were falling as they died

A wind had blown away the sun

A girl ran in
Her hair was rainy
Her breasts were breathless in the little room

Outside the leaves were falling
                              and they cried
                                                  Too soon! too soon!

*

Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind is one of those cult classics I never got around to reading. So when I saw it at the Vine Street Warehouse Booksale over the weekend for a couple bucks, I had to pick it up. The lady taking money did one of those raised eyebrow “oh boys,” holding it at arm’s length as if looking at an embarrassing photograph from her Woodstock days. “That sure takes me back,” she said as she took my two bucks. I felt a little lame coming to it so late, at 35, well past any season of youth in which it might have knocked me down. Still, it was a fun read, even for a late-comer.

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