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Reading “25” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Poetry Lunch S5E11

Reading “25” from Pictures of the Gone World by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights Books.


This poem feels like a wry romp through an overgrown field, that has flowers for you to smell and wonder at but also those annoying burr-like seed pods that stick to everything with a million bits of dry dusty grass clinging. I appreciate the humor behind the stark eyeing up and down of the human condition. The poem starts with you, inside you, as intimate and personal as it gets: being born. But quickly it veers out to encompass more and more people, and with each step an assumption of comfort is stripped away. It gets uncomfortable quick, making you think of all those actively less fortunate and then calling out the unavoidable privilege one must have if they can think about people dying — it means you yourself aren’t dying.

Then it swings out further to people in charge, and society at large, and careens from there into day to day feelings and thinkings and doings. By page three the poem feels like a city kid after school balancing on a concrete parking lot barricade, teetering a bit and joyfully about to jump. Which it does, all the way through love to death. Because in case you thought you weren’t dying, you actually are. We all are.


Link to purchase

Get the book: Pictures of the Gone World.