Long Live the Legacy of Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause he almost lived forever;
And Jersey Boys—Allen and Amiri—
lyricized Coltrane’s “Welcome” to
croon with rhythmic cadences
of Kaddish at the big convocation…

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause I bought his lil hardcover black bible with the
Red front from a Boston bookstore going out of business

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause I took him home to Harlem and he taught me to
Haunt Strand and the two bookstores in walking distance

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause I took his bible to Mama Harriet’s home up
in Auburn and she blessed it with bulletproof prayers

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause I never left home without him—
right back pocket—right cheek round; busted
binding; ruined with red writing in its margins

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause he protected me from punims on
platforms and poles of A, B, C and D trains
Lurking 5 minutes away from my door

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause I obeyed his cool commandments
reading and rereading them over and over on ‘Trane
train trips long and short—night or day—sun or snow

Ferlinghetti might have been
God ‘cause he rewarded this darker brother in from
the kitchen, warehouse, factory floor for speaking up,
acting out, writing between the lines—And kissing no
rings and things…

Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. He is Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurge and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and CA Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan. He is Co-Chair of the NY Chapter National Writers Union (NWU). Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.