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Syndic Literary Journal

Mock Confessional

Narrated by Bill Wolak

New Jersey

Mock Confessional

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Fish-sky at morning

and why should I

tell the world about it

It’s not the kind of news

makes headlines down here

Anyway I hear people are wondering about me

and I’ve written this to clear the air

especially since

people who read my books

don’t read other books

I’m sometimes known as the creator

of the immortal line

‘When I was a boy I was my father’

I generally feel like kissing someone

when I’m asleep

I don’t like sweet wine and cigarettes

police and bitchy women

Otherwise I’m amenable

To what goes down out her

I know I’ll never amount to anything

I don’t want to amount to

which is not say I’m without ambition

Sometimes I feel a fluttering in me

and I may sometime fly into the sun

wearing wax wings

I have a feeling I’m falling

on rare occasions

but most of the time I have my feet on the ground

I can’t help it if the ground itself is falling

I sometimes wonder what my totem animal is

In any case I’m not a crow or a grey fox

I may be somewhere between a centaur

and Sancho Panza’ ass

I know a good thing when I see it

and intend to survive

even if it means being a survivor

I have strange dreams sometimes

but they are not half as weird as

what I see walking down the street

I never did like people who walk like

They’re on their way to a party

When I’m at cocktail parties


I usually don’t say what I am thinking

which results in the usual drunkenness

I can’t help it if Catholic priests

won’t accept my confession

that I consider the Immaculate Conception

a cock-and-bull story

and always viewed the world as mons veneris

After all Father

there must have been plans

for more than two Comings

If this sounds like bright cocktail chatter

remember I’m drinking out of desperation

I believe in the Revolution

in its double-edged image

but maybe yours is not mine

I refuse to confess to the boys

or the ladies in the bathroom

What could they be up to

which I am not up to

Why don’t we all just dance and sing

and let the appendages hang out where they will

Let’s forge on to simpler things

The last time I saw Paris

was in the winter of 1967

when I had to sleep in a windowless room

in a street whose name I’d rather not remember

since I insisted in staying in the same hotel

I’d stayed in as a student a century ago

which now was made over into a mattress factory

Some days I just don’t know what to make of things

Other days I’m sure I have the solution to everything

the little key that will fit everything

and turn everything to my own alchemy

if not the wooden key that mayors give you

Well I’ll have to begin again

It seems my personal life is a complete

mystery even to myself

though I’m a raving success in the field

While I’m catching the high fly

a worm has succeeded in eating

a hole in my soul

When I reach down to mend it

I find a cocoon in my crotch

which becomes a butterfly as I watch

While I’m zipping up

it flits to my heart

And the world begins again

With a lurch it starts whirling once more

with its little supercargo of flesh

The race horses in their slots

take off again

but the big board registers Tilt

when someone like the government

jiggles the machine

and my key won’t fit my own door anymore

but there is still no sign I’m not an artistic triumph

I’ve proved that already with my fearless pen

though now it may run dry

and I have to dip it in some body fluid to continue

of which there are only two symbolic choices;

blood or water

The moving finger writes in both

and fumbles on

but leaves its indelible traces

only in one

which makes me wonder

if I really choose to me immortal

Excuse me for a moment

There’s another butterfly

lighted on my fly

and my metamorphosis

may not be done

though now I am’old’

and am my son




Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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