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Junkman's Obbligato - Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Letís go

Come on

Letís go

Empty our pockets

And disappear.

Missing all our appointments

And turning up unshaven

Years later

Old cigarette papers

stuck to our pants

leaves in our hair.

Let us not

worry about the payments


Let them come

and take it away

whatever it was

we were paying for.

And us with it.

Let us arise and go now

to where dogs do it

Over the Hill

where they keep the earthquakes

behind the city dumps

lost among gasmains and garbage.

Let us see the City Dumps

for what they are.

My country tears of thee.

Let us disappear

in automobile graveyards

and reappear years later

picking rags and newspapers

drying our drawers

on garbage fires

patches on our ass.

Do not bother

to say goodbye

to anyone.

Your missus will not miss us.

Letís go

smelling of sterno

where the benches are filled

with discarded Bowling Green statues

in the interior dark night

of the flower bowery

our eyes watery

with the contemplation

of empty bottles of muscatel.

Let us recite from broken bibles

on streetcorners

Follow dogs on docks

Speak wild songs

Throw stones

Say anything

Blink at the sun and scratch

and stumble into silence

Diddle in doorways

Know whores thirdhand

after everyone else is finished

Stagger befuddled into East River sunsets

Sleep in phone booths

Puke in pawnshops

wailing for a winter overcoat.

Let us arise and go now

under the city

where ashcans roll

and reappear in putrid clothes

as the uncrowned underground kings

of subway menís rooms.

Let us feed the pigeons

at the City Hall

urging them to do their duty

in the Mayorís office.

Hurry up please itís time.

The end is coming.

Flash floods

Disasters in the sun

Dogs unleashed

Sister in the street

her brassiere backwards.

Let us arise and go now

into the interior dark night

of the soulís still bowery

and find ourselves anew

where subways stall and wait

under the River.

Cross over

into full puzzlement.

South Ferry will not run forever.

They are cutting out the Bay ferries

but it is still not too late

to get lost in Oakland.

Washington has not yet toppled

from his horse.

There is still time to goose him

and go

leaving our income tax form behind

and our waterproof wristwatch with it

staggering blind after alleycats

under Brooklynís Bridge

blown statues in baggy pants

our tincan cries and garbage voices


Junk for sale!

Letís cut it out letís go

into the real interior of the country

where hockshops reign

mere unblind anarchy upon us.

The end is here

but golf goes on at Burning Tree.

Itís raining itís pouring

The Ole Man is snoring.

Another flood is coming

though not the kind you think.

There is still time to sink

and think.

I wish to descend in society.

I wish to make like free.

Swing low sweet chariot.

Let us not wait for the cadillacs

to carry us triumphant

into the interior

waving at the natives

like roman senators in the provinces

wearing poetís laurels

on lighted brows.

Let us not wait for the write-up

on page one

of the New York Times Book review

images of insane success

smiling from the photo.

By the time they print your picture

in Life Magazine

you will have become a negative anyway

a print with a glossy finish.

They will have come and gotten you

to be famous

and you still will not be free.

Goodbye Iím going.

Iím selling everything

and giving away the rest

to the Good Will Industries.

It will be dark out there

with the Salvation Army Band.

And the mind its own illumination.

Goodbye Iím walking out on the whole scene.

Close down the joint.

The system is all loused up.

Rome was never like this.

Iím tired of waiting for Godot.

I am going where turtles win

I am going

where conmen puke and die

Down the sad esplanades

of the official world.

Junk for sale!

My country tears of thee.

Let us go then you and I

leaving our neckties behind on lampposts

Take up the full beard

of walking anarchy

looking like Walt Whitman

a homemade bomb in the pocket.

I wish to descend in the social scale.

High society is low society.

I am a social climber

climbing downward

And the descent is difficult.

The Upper Middle Class Ideal

is for the birds

but the birds have no use for it

having their own kind of pecking order

based upon birdsong.

Pigeons on the grass alas.

Let us arise and go now

to the Isle of Manisfree.

Let loose the hogs of peace.

Hurry up please itís time.

Let us arise and go now

into the interior

of Fosterís Cafeteria.

So long Emily Post.

So long

Lowell Thomas.

Goodbye Broadway.

Goodbye Herald Square.

Turn it off.

Confound the system.

Cancel our leases.

Lose the War

without killing anybody.

Let horses scream

and ladies run

to flushless powderrooms.

The end has just begun.

I want to announce it.

Run donít walk

to the nearest exit.

The real earthquake is coming.

I can feel the building shake.

I am the refined type.

I cannot stand it.

I am going

where asses lie down

with customs collectors who call themselves

literary critics.

My tool is dusty.

My body is hung up too long

in strange suspenders.

Get me a bright bandana

for a jockstrap.

Turn loose and weíll be off

where sports cars collapse

and the world begins again.

Hurry up please itís time.

Itís time and a half

and thereís the rub.

The thinkpad makes homeboys of us all.

Let us cut out

into stray eternity.

Somewhere the fields are full of larks.

Somewhere the land is swinging.

My country Ďtis of thee

Iím singing.

Let us arise and go now

to the Isle of Manisfree

and live the true blue simple life

of wisdom and wonderment

where all things grow

straight up

aslant and singing

in the yellow sun

poppies out of cowpods

thinking angels out of turds.

I must arise and go now

to the Isle of Manisfree

way up behind the broken words

and woods of Arcady.