by Paul Corbeil
After Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I write in the Poet’s wooden rocking chair
upstairs in San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore where
beat poetry lives still, in an old rocker, arms worn bare
the smooth varnish of its youth gone, much like my own

Here sat Kerouac
here sat Ginsberg
here sat Ferlinghetti
here I sit, now. And I wait.

For these sages to tell me why
for the memories of the chair’s inhabitants
that must still infuse this sacred wood
to share their secrets, to be inspired

I am still waiting
when I start to write
and write and write and lose track
of black and white, of hard lines, of rules

Day dims. Dusk sets in
stairs creak under unsteady footfalls
other patrons are pilgrimaging here
So I say goodbye to Ferlinghetti

Goodbye to his dry wit sharpened Sorbonne time
goodbye to the courage that published Ginsberg’s “Howl”
goodbye to the palpable desire to be heard and

Goodbye to my waiting

PHOTO: Poet’s Chair at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, California, by Julie Jordan Scott, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On January 22, 2017, I wrote the first stanzas of this poem seated in the very chair that I described within the poem, longhand in a blank “City Lights” journal. I could not think of how to end the poem, but felt the literal magic of the bookstore that day, as well as the presence of the poets that came before me. When I saw Silver Birch Press’ tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I knew then that I had a finish. For in that chair, I waited for inspiration. And now, I have found it.

Corbeil Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Corbeil is an emerging poet. Paul’s poetry is found on Twitter @LoverDesArt and Medium where Paul is a contributing writer for Assemblage publications at