Remembering Beatniks






Beatnik be cool but didn't hide
anger like hippies.
Didn't hide sorrow like yuppies.
Sleeves soaked in tears that
smelt of tobacco and incense.
Consistency, said Emerson,
is for mediocre minds.
Was Emerson a beatnik?
Was Emily Dickenson a beatnik?
Definitely Walt Whitman and Jesus.
To care and not to care.
Whose tears? Did it matter?
Praise be Ferlenghetti.
Praise be City Lights Bookstore.
Praise be San Francisco
before it got gentrified.
Praise be Jack, Allan and Gary,
the poet fools of mere wisdom.
Praise be Bird, Miles, Trane
and Sonny, who still survives
on yoga. Dig that.
I had a hippie guru.
I had a yuppie guru.
Still love them both, but
now I search among cedar roots,
stream beds and roadside ditches
for truth of the cool, for all
that is beat, beatific, angry,
sad and human. You dig?
Bliss is not a separate fix.
Bliss is the mix.