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Ferlinghetti, 1919-2021 Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

23 February 2021

On a somber sunny day in San Francisco, we mourn the passing of its first poet laureate, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, at the age of 101.

City Lights Bookstore. The banners in the top windows proclaim: Open Doors, Open Minds, Open Books, Open Hearts.

He founded City Lights Bookstore in 1953, a bookstore you could never leave empty-handed, and spun it into a paperback publishing house.

He was a poet and a painter. For many years, Rose Pistola restaurant gave away a bright yellow postcard with nothing but this one poem of his written on it:

Recipe for Happiness in Khabarovsky or Anyplace

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafè in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups

One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you

One fine day.

We've kept that postcard framed in our dining room where we have enjoyed one fine day after another with someone who loves us.

That poem was how Ferlinghetti paid for a lunch there once, along tree-lined Columbus Avenue, in the sun, finished off with an espresso, no doubt.

We only wish not-necessarily-beautiful we could have been there.

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