Saturday, May 13, 2006


"I saw your childhood face It was the same
face the face of adult America the face we
chose for America the space-race face the
race face the face that sunk a thousand
sampans the face we all love in the Geritol
ads the face of the nation facing the nation"

"Nixon Nixon enigma Nixon your nowhere eyes
tell the true story of America and a picture
of them is worth a thousand false words Are
you 'a real man or a real machine with computer-
brain' Are you the fifty-five-year-old virgin
or are you Machiavelli smiling I think you've
still got that infectious Pink Eye you caught on
the Unamerican Committee what with your yahoo
cohorts now conducting the nazification of California
and other campuses I heard you plainly tell
them on TV to get a little tougher to get a little
rougher on campus and the next day they
murdered one of us to show how tough Thank
you Tyrannus Nix Let him be laid at your door
You waved your soft white hand and the trigger
moved unknown to you yet it moved down
the toilet chain of command The Blue Meanies
are your real army oh my Commander-in-chief"...

"One would think the wind still whispered latin
phrases when whoever wrote our dollar bill took its
not-so-mystic motto from Virgil's Messianic Eclogue but
conveniently skipped the part of the prophesy about
the way the Age would end in Fire"

"Nixon oh Nixon I am not asking you to turn
and live with animals I am not asking you to commune
with trees although 'What times are these when a conver-
sation about a tree is almost a crime because it contains
so many silences about so many crimes' "

"Nixon oh Nixon I saw you on TV last night
again stumbling through Vietnam you just didn't look
like you believed who you were like as if it were all a
strange mad dream you were lost in Moving through
the motions of some nightmare in which you suddenly
found yourself in your pajamas in front of five million
tea-ladies worried whether something was
showing down there Military might must be
disguised to be effective It occurred to me your
warhead was showing My poet's shadow stitched
to thee won't stand many more such bullshit
speeches I had the weird feeling you
were speaking in a completely empty room Alone
with nothing but the War Machine like a toy behind
the pulpit In another age you would have been
a Methodist preacher In this one you're a real
low priest You're a true record of where
winter is today"

"Nixon oh Nixon I stayed up all night writing
this to thee and thine I saw the dawn come up
over San Francisco The Bay Bridge lights sparkled
in the first dawn A dawn wind was rising The guard
was changing in the Presidio Mutiny Stockade Some-
where a Justice Department or FBI hi-fi repairman
was bugging a Berkeley Barb editor At City Hall they
were celebrating the Nineteen-six Earthquake Emperor
Alioto and his Black Urban Affairs Director
whose name was actually Rebel were very much
in evidence but the evidence was all against a quake
It just wasn't going to happen here No shake-
up here and no Revolution either and I have my
director to see to it Souls on ice won't melt"

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Tyrannus Nix?

Photo by Abraham Aronow


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