POETRY by Ferlinghetti

The First and the Last of Everything
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The first cry of man in the first light
The first firefly flickering at night
The first song of love and forty cries of despair
The first voyage of Vikings westward
The first sighting of the New World
from the crow’s nest of a Spanish galleon
The first Pale Face meeting the first native American
The first Dutch trader in Mannahatta
The first settler on the first frontier
The first Home Sweet Home so dear
The first wagon train westward
The first sighting of the Pacific by Lewis & Clark
The first cry of “Mark Twain!” on the Mississippi
The first desegregation by Huck & Jim on a raft at night
The first buffalo-head nickel and the last buffalo
The first barbed-wire fence and the last of the open range
The last cowboy on the last frontier
The first skyscraper in America
The first home run hit at Yankee Stadium
The first ballpark hotdog with mustard
The last War To End All Wars
The last Wobbly and the last Catholic Anarchist
The last living member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
The last bohemian in a beret
The last homespun politician and the first stolen election
The first plane to hit the first Twin Tower
The birth of a vast national paranoia
The first President to become an international criminal
for crimes against humanity
making America a terrorist state
The dark dawn of American corporate fascism
The next-to-last free speech radio
The next-to-last independent newspaper raising hell
The next-to-last independent bookstore with a mind of its own
The next-to-last lefty looking for Obama Nirvana
The first fine day of the Presidency of Bernie Sanders!
to set forth upon this continent a new nation!

Note: The last line is an exact quotation from the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a poet, activist, publisher, champion of literary freedoms, and teacher to the Beats. His legendary works include, but are not limited to: Coney Island of the Mind and Pictures of the Gone World. He can still be found amongst the stacks of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, the oldest independent bookstore in the United States.