Strive to change the world in such a way that there's no further need to be a dissident. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art
Rising up from deep within the very core of my being the essence of who I am underneath my public image is the need to find myself someone to admire. Lawrence Ferlinghetti spoke the words the world needed to hear at that exact moment. Best of the Beats because he promoted the rest above himself. Paragon of enlightenment inspirer of a new way of being artistic role model. Ferlinghetti would have loathed such titles based on what little I know about him. He would have frowned if not downright sneered at such fanboy foppery. In the same way many reading or hearing this could be offended by words like humanist, socialist, countercultural, malcontent, protestor, activist, freethinker, nonconformist. In the Coney Island of My Mind —or, more accurately, Exhibition Place— I get to play with words turn image into meaning and back again with enough musicality to form a poetry of concise language and complex thought imagine these words making this world a better place at least for a moment and believe if I say them with clarity and integrity for long enough you may just listen to me.
I have lost my voice. The only word I have ever felt beating in my heart, echoing through my mind has been taken from me. The other prisoners hiss and whisper the words the broken-hearted cannot say out loud and leave me in solitary silence. But I know why. They don't understand the burden I am bound to carry and must keep hidden deep inside. This burden keeps me alive. It gives me passion and purpose and is the only thing I have which is real. If this word trapped in my throat found daylight at the tip of my tongue I would sing and shout, laugh and cry and my sentence would be complete. If I could see her again make love to her slowly and gently if I could say her name once more then I would be free.
Middle-Aged White Men Are Ruining the World
The Saturday bus ride to Morningside is so much better than my weekday drudgery along Sheppard up whichever connecting route presents itself to get me east on Finch to my workplace. Everybody is in a better mood, more courteous more concerned about others around them. They are on their way to fun excursions, or shopping to meet their needs, as well as those of whom they love. The Morningside bus ride south is even better. The bus takes longer to arrive, but the driver wants to chat and be part of the community, part of your day. Everyone makes room for baby carriages and people with canes and each other. But not LAST Saturday. A guy about my age got on the Morningside bus with his two sons. Two stops later, a kind enough looking guy, clearly down on his luck, maybe hadn’t eaten in a while, entreats the driver to let him on the bus without paying. The guy about my age turns to his sons, shakes his head, saying, “The driver let him on the bus for free.” The two sons were at that age where their view of the entire universe was filtered through their father. What an entitled, arrogant, self-righteous, ignorant… What kind of legacy are we leaving behind? What kind of world are we leaving for the children? What else can we teach them other than right or wrong? I wondered how he would feel in the unlikely event either he or one of his sons were in that predicament.
the world tries to tell me I am something I am not and I fight back and I lose so I try to be what they say they want me to be and I succeed on their terms for a moment and then the moment passes so I try to be myself again and I fail and then I try something different and I fail but the failure seems to be the shit I must get through so I can finally grow up so I laugh not a maniacal laugh merely a buffer against the underlying darkness which tries to overwhelm me but I rise try to clean myself up and realize this is the day I become a little more human
…first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was released by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013, and charted on the Toronto Poetry Map. Other publication credits include: Blue Collar Review; The Toronto Quarterly; Spadina Literary Review; Sharing Spaces; Tamaracks; and Tending the Fire. His first full collection, The Other Life, is newly released by Mosaic Press.
©2022 Patrick Connors
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April in The BeZine Blog
- Coalesce—Stories at the Center of the Human Experience
- Finding My Way
- framed in solitude
- Poems from Purpose
- just a thought & 2 more poems after April 26 6pm US EST