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Lawrence Ferlinghetti quotes Showing 1-30 of 58

“If you're too open-minded; your brains will fall out.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Americus, Book I
“Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Poetry is a naked woman, a naked man, and the distance between them.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art
“Recipe For Happiness Khaborovsk Or Anyplace'

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafe in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups.

One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you.

One fine day.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Fuck Art, let's Dance!”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Don't bow down to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology
“We have seen the best minds of our generation destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Wild Dreams of a New Beginning
“I feel there is an angel in me' she'd say
'whom I am
constantly shocking”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“I didn’t know that painters and writers retired. They’re like soldiers – they just fade away.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“It was a face which darkness could kill
in an instant
a face as easily hurt
by laughter or light

'We think differently at night'
she told me once
lying back languidly

And she would quote Cocteau

'I feel there is an angel in me' she'd say
'whom I am constantly shocking'

Then she would smile and look away
light a cigarette for me
sigh and rise

and stretch
her sweet anatomy

let fall a stocking”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Pictures of the Gone World
“I once started out
to walk around the world
but ended up in Brooklyn,
that Bridge was too much for me.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind
“I am waiting for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe for anarchy”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind
“The art has to make it on its own, without explanations, and it’s the same for poetry. If the poem or the painting has to be explained, then it’s a failure in communication.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
it was like this when
we waltz into this place.
A couple of papish cats
is doing an Aztec two-step

And I says
Dad let's cut
but then this dame
comes up behind me see
and says
you and me could really exist

Wow I says
Only the next day
she has bad teeth
and really hates
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“[in the true mad north] of introspection,
where 'falcons of the inner eye'
dive and die, glimpsing in their
dying fall, all life's memory of existence.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind
“The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don't mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don't sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind some people dying
all the time
or maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn't half bad
if it isn't you

Oh the world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey to
with its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen

and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
and going swimming in rivers
on picnics
in the middle of the summer
and just generally
'living it up'
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Almost every truly creative being alienated & expatriated in his own country”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Wild Dreams of a New Beginning
“Don't patronize the chain bookstores. Every time I see some author scheduled to read and sign his books at a chain bookstore, I feel like telling him he's stabbing the independent bookstores in the back.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Poetry is the shortest distance between two humans.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art
“I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth...

without taxes”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“I have seen giraffes in junglejims
their necks like love
wound around the iron circumstances
of the world.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“Cast up
the heart flops over
gasping 'Love'

a foolish fish which tries to draw
its breath from flesh of air

And no one there to hear its death
among the sad bushes
where the world rushes by
in a blather of asphalt and delay”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind
“Let us arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
and live the true blue simple life
of wisdom and wonderment
where all things grow
straight up
aslant and singing
in the yellow sun
poppies out of cowpods
thinking angels out of turds.
I must arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
way up behind the broken words
and woods of Arcady.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“I once started out to walk around the world but ended up in Brooklyn.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind
“Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of day
performing entrechats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind
“The locust continues
to devour the world
Hunger persists
Love lurches on
listing to starboard
like a ship in a bottle
Human longing goes on
Loneliness a curse
Innocence persists
Ignorance persists”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Time of Useful Consciousness
tags: life, time
“I wish to descend in the social scale.
High society is low society.
I am a social climber
climbing downward
And the descent is difficult.
(- Junkman’s Obbligato)”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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