Monday, August 03, 2009

City Lights Illuminati

The pure pleasure of City Lights Books, at Columbus (near Cafe Vesuvio and across from the patina of Zoetrope, reminiscent of the Flatiron Building), Lawrence Ferlinghetti's literary mecca in San Francisco, is encapsulated in this incident from last evening.

Browsing upstairs, in the poetry rack, I spy a vineyard of tasty selections of poetic treats. I page through them. One of them entrances me. Its spare, few words magnetize me. "Christ,/a mirror/in each hand./He multiplies/his shadow./He projects his heart/through his black/visions./I believe!" This from Symbol of the "Mirror Suite" from "Suites," by Federico Garcia Lorca, translated from the Spanish by Jerome Rothenberg. It is Green Integer 31 from Green Integer, Kobenhavn & Los Angeles. 2001.

So, Lorca is born to me, in San Francisco. Lorca is baptized to me here and now, introduced not by water and fire but by sidewalk and stairs on an August Saturday evening in the city of Saint Francis.

The priest of this sacrament is Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his City Lights Books, whose iconic gray on black bags beckon beauty, whose store is a conclave of revelation, one not found on the Internet or World Wide Web electronically but in the tactile tent of this nomad's journey, in the silence of the Kierkegaard leaping heart.

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