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The first fine dawn of life on earth The first light of the first morning The first evening star The first man on the moon seen from afar The first voyage of Ulysses westward The first fence on the last frontier The first tick of the atomic clock of fear The first Home Sweet Home […]

Totalitarian Democracy: a New Poem

by LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

The first fine dawn of life on earth
The first light of the first morning
The first evening star
The first man on the moon seen from afar
The first voyage of Ulysses westward
The first fence on the last frontier
The first tick of the atomic clock of fear
The first Home Sweet Home so dear
The sweet smell of honeysuckle at midnight
The first free black man free of fright
The sweet taste of freedom
The first good orgasm
The first Noble Savage
The first Pale Face settler on the first frontier
The last Armenian and the last Ojibway in Fresno
The first ball park hotdog with mustard
The first home run in Yankee Stadium
The first song of love and forty cries of despair
The first pure woman passing fair
The sweet smell of success
The first erection and the first Resurrection
The first darling buds of May
The last covered wagon through the Donner Pass
The first green sprouts of new grass
The last cry of Mark Twain! on the Mississippi
The First and Last Chance Saloon
The ghostly galleon of the half-moon
The first cry of pure joy in morning light
The distant howl of trains lost in book of night
The first morning after the night before thinking
The last new moon sinking
The last of the Mohicans and the last buffalo
The last sweet chariot swinging low
The first hippie heading for the hills
The last bohemian in a beret
The last beatnik in North Beach with something to say
The last true love to come your way
The last Wobbly and the last Catholic Anarchist
The last paranoid Lefty
The last Nazi
The first bought vote in the first election
The last hand caught in the last cookie jar
The last cowboy on the last frontier
The last bald eagle with nothing to fear
The last buffalo head nickel
The last living member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
The last Mom and Pop grocery
The last firefly flickerng in the night

The first plane to hit the first Twin Tower
The last plane to hit the last Twin Tower
The only plane to ever hit the Pentagon
The birth of a vast national paranoia
The beginning of the Third World War
(the War Against the Third World)

The first trip abroad by an ignorant president
The last free-running river
The last gas and oil on earth
The last general strike
The last Fidelista the last Sandinista the last Zapatista
The last political prisoner
The last virgin and the last of the champagne
The last train to leave the station
The last and only great nation
The last Great Depression
The last will & testament
The last welfare check for rent
The end of the old New Deal
The new Committee on Unamerican Activities
The last politician with honest proclivities
The last independent newspaper
printing the news and raising hell
The last word and the last laugh and the Last Hurrah
The last picture show and the last waltz
The last Unknown Soldier
The last innocent American
The last Ugly American
The last Great Lover and the last New Yorker
The last home-fries with ketchup-to-go
The last train home at midnight
The last syllable of recorded time
The last long careless rapture
The last independent bookstore with its own mind
The last best hope of mankind
The lost chord and the lost leader
The last drop of likker
The cup that runneth over quicker
The last time I saw Paris Texas
The last peace treaty and the Last Supper
The first sweet signs of spring
The first sweet bird of youth
The first baby tooth and the last wisdom tooth
The last honest election
The last freedom of information
The last free Internet
The last free speech radio
The last unbought television network
The last homespun politician
The last Jeffersonian
The last Luddite in Berkeley
The last Bottom Line and the last of Social Security
The first fine evening calm and free
The beach at sunset with reclining nudes
the lovers wrapped in each other
The last meeting of the Board
The last gay sailor to come aboard
The first White Paper written in blood
The last terrorist born of hate and poverty
The last citizen who bothered to vote
The first President picked by a Supreme Court
The end of the Time of Useful Consciousness
The unfinished flag of the United States
The ocean’s long withdrawing roar

The birth of a nation of sheep
The deep deep sleep of the booboisie
The underground wave of feel-good fascism
The uneasy rule of the super-rich
The total triumph of imperial America
The final proof of our Manifest Destiny
The first loud cry of America über alles
Echoing in freedom’s alleys
The last lament for lost democracy
The total triumph of
totalitarian plutocracy

CODA

Cut down cut down cut down
Cut down the grassroots
Cut down those too wild weeds
in our great agri-fields and golf courses
Cut down cut down those wild sprouts
Cut down cut down those rank weeds
Pull down your vanity, man, pull down
the too wild buds the too wild shoots
Cut down the wild unruly vines & voices
the hardy volunteers and pioneers
Cut down cut down the alien corn
Cut down the crazy introverts
Tongue-tied lovers of the subjective
Cut down cut down the wild ones the wild spirits
The desert rats and monkey wrenchers
Easy riders and midnight cowboys in narco nirvanas
Cut down the wild alienated loners
fiddling with their moustaches
plotting revolution in hopeless cellars
Cut down cut down all those freaks and free thinkers
Wild-eyed poets with wandering minds
Soapbox agitators and curbstone philosophers
Far out weirdos and rappers
Stoned-out visionaries and peace-niks
Exiles in their own land!
O melting pot America!

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI’s latest book of poems, AMERICUS, BOOK I, is now available from City Lights. For more information on Ferlingheitti, see his website at http://www.citylights.com/CLlf.html