I grew up in the 1950s, in San Diego, went to a Los Angeles university in the 1960s, and am proud to admit that my most memorable professor was Jack Hirshman. Add Hirshman to an early (and frequent) exposure to James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and S. I. Hayakawa, and it isn’t too much of a stretch to learn that my first young-adult visit to a famous landmark in San Francisco was not Carol Doda, but rather the City Lights Bookstore.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a personal local favorite. Back when I could only afford to nurse a single cup of coffee until the wee hours (ten cents a cup), I actually owned at least two volumes of Ferlinghetti’s poetry. Jack Hirshman was honored as Poet Laureaate of San Francisco and before that Lawrence Ferlighetti held the honor.
Does your town or city have a Port Laureate?
Carl Sandburg wrote this little poem:
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
YOU come along … tearing your shirt … yelling about Jesus.
Where do you get that stuff?
What do you know about Jesus
Jesus had a way of talking soft and outside of a few bankers and higher-ups among the con men of Jerusalem everybody liked to have this Jesus around because he never made any fake passes and everything he said went and he helped the sick and gave the people hope.
You come along squirting words at us, shaking your fist and calling us all dam fools so fierce the froth slobbers over your lips… always blabbing we’re all going to hell straight off and you know all about it.