A Parade Tirade

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Good night ladies and good night nuns & priests & monks & ministers who never march in peace parades Protestants shouldn’t protest The holy wars are over The only united crusade a fund drive and good night holy ordained ministers who evict peace groups from their premises Onward christian soldiers and good night good grey soldier and good night sweet prince Kennedy your thanksgiving turkey stuffed with Kruschev letters Watch out for pumpkin papers We are all good catholics Let us pray Now I lay me down with sheep Good night father of our country Your sons sleep & feed and good night good captains of industry in Bachrach photos with bay windows covered with insignia of various kinds of supremacy People don’t know what’s good for them We’ll show them Harriet Beecher Stowe was wrong The ice ain’t breakin’ up on the river and good night good night sad cop who turned the hoses on a whole generation and flipped later and good night assinine armistice day parades that nobody under 40 believes in Don’t laugh You should take them seriously Those big phoney scenes which have nothing to do with us The america of the american legion isn’t ours This ain’t 1919 Let them march off a cliff somewhere with their obscene popguns & sinister slogans Call out the horse marines & clean up the mess I didn’t know they piled it that high You won’t get us to run your errands anymore But here comes the band anyway A catch in the throat A lady liberty on a float God save our country’s flag she said and god knows veterans love wars Their eyes have seen the glory When old comrades get together like in the good old days So sweep away the pickets and good day to you Doktor Teller chief steppenwolf who standeth on guard with warheads strategies of overkill Bomb now pay later United there is nothing we cannot do So good night blind flight of black avenging angels (bo-marks of death zeroed on infinity) and good night great mute poets & professors who only stand & wait and good night papa Hemingway who also finked out and good night granpa Ezra and good night reverend Eliot who also fabricated & abdicated Hurry up please it’s time and good night stream of unconscious novelists & non-objecting painters Thou shalt not kill except by complicity and good day Dylan We shall not go gentle into their good night and good day Neruda and good day Ginsberg and good day Fidel He doesn’t want to marry your sister He just wants to socialize and good night good night sweet dreams crazy Karl Marx I too wish the state would wither away (into a world without countries and their great draggy nationalisms and their great draggy governments which are the greatest drag of all and aren’t our idea of communities of love) so good night old comrades The good old days are gone forever so goodbye goodbye death and good morning sun and goodbye senators and good morning heart that wakes at night & hears itself and good morning crocus voices and good morning waterbirds cawing & cawing and good morning lovers south of 14th street about to turn-off the whole evil scene and turn-on beautiful & great where the air is green

 

December 1962

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a poet, playwright, publisher, and activist who helped to spark the San Francisco literary renaissance of the 1950s.

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