Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti poses on Monday, Jan. 15, 1988 in San Francisco in front of the North Beach bookstore he founded more than 35 years ago. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors accepted 13 of Ferlinghetti’s recommendations on Thursday to change local street names after 15 of San Francisco’s best known artists and writers. (AP Photo)

Saving City Lights

in Coronavirus by

Let the bookstore owner leave
a light.
The only light in the center
of the city.
Setting its timer to turn on

at sunrise.
A good hour to open
your eyes, turn
to the book left-open
on your nightstand.

Pick up where you left-
off. In the story.
In the poem.
In the book
you found,

in a bin
at the bottom
of the circular
The day you found

yourself standing
next to the owner,
Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Who’s still living.
beyond his hundred years

on your bookshelf.
Who hand-wrote
in his New Directions
book Back Roads
to Far Places

“fish float through
the trees eating the seeds
of the sun.”
An image that’s lived
inside you

in hard and city-
lit times.
As well as the lines
on one of the numberless
pages “loneliness

sets its own lamp
Which you tell me
is almost impossible
to feel holding

a small, black and white
book in your hands.
The sun swimming through
the pond. Its shadows
of printed branches.



Gary Margolis is Emeritus Executive Director of College Mental Health Services at Middlebury College. His third book, “Fire in the Orchard” was nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize Poetry. His latest book “Time Inside” is recently published.


On verge of closing, City Lights receives over $365,000 in donations in single day
[SF Gate]

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