Indran Amirthanayagam

Lawrence Unfurling

Let us go down to San Francisco. Let us go down
in March, on the twenty fourth. Let us tell Lawrence
thank you for that Coney Island of the night fantastic,
for publishing the best minds of his generation howling
despite censors, police, legal obscenities. Let us say,
thank you for all the translations, from Spanish, French,
Chinese, British. Thank you for the lights, the sign
on your office window: Open door:  Open heart,
Open mind I reply. What would we be if we had
not read your pocket poets with the neat black
and white borders? Where would our nation,
our world walk, hand in hand, black and white,
gay and straight, if you had not said come out,
come in? You are one hundred. We have become
one not only on the Ferris wheels, not only
in Bar Mitzvahs, at the altar, in the baptismal font.
We have become one, not only walking together,
arms locked, behind the coffin of the hero cut down
before her time. Our time is now. You help us understand
these freedoms we share. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American
and World Poet. Friend. Reporter in the field after
the battle, picking up corpses, preparing for their burial,
and sowing the land again for the next hundred, thousand,
million, billion stars in the night sky. Where
shall we go next? To what distant new home, Lawrence?
Have you got a poem in your pocket, ready for the ride?

Indran Amirthanayagam ( is the author of sixteen books of poems written in English, Spanish, French, Haitian Creole, and Portuguese, most recently in English, Coconuts On Mars (; in Spanish, Ventana Azul and En busca de refugio; in French, The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems and Uncivil War. His first book, The Elephants of Reckoning, won the 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the US/Mexico Fund for Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. His poem “Juarez” won the Juegos Florales of Guaymas, Mexico in 2005. 



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