I am not waiting … by D. A. Pratt

Thinking back to the 1950s,
oddly Kafkaesque in its own way,
I can readily imagine
hearing Ferlinghetti’s voice
reciting the opening of his poem:
“I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder” …
I can readily imagine
connecting the tone of his voice
to Allen Ginsberg’s tone
in the opening words of “Howl”,
“I saw the best minds
of my generation
destroyed by madness …”

Thinking back to the 1950s,
I can readily appreciate
Ferlinghetti’s hopes in “I Am Waiting”,
expressed over and over again,
for a “rebirth of wonder” …

Thinking back to the 1950s,
I can readily imagine
that America was indeed waiting –
waiting for the 1960s to burst out
as it did … I can readily imagine
that in the 1950s it was oddly okay
to be an observer … and oddly okay
to express hopes for something better
by saying “I am waiting”
as Lawrence Ferlinghetti did
in his poem in the “Oral Messages”
portion of *A Coney Island of the Mind* …

Now, fifteen years into
the twenty-first century,
we’re in a different time
and a different place:
“I am waiting” seems simply too passive –
“I am waiting” is far too passive,
even as an expression of hope …

Yes, I could say that I am waiting
for Americans to be so much better
than they have been … I could
even say I am waiting
for Canadians to be better
than they have been lately …
but I’m not … North Americans
show no signs of being better –
and why mention anyone else?
I could make a myriad
of similar statements … but
that would be overly negative …
I could say I’m waiting for
the next volume of My Struggle
by Karl Ove Knausgaard to appear
in English translation (and I am!)
but … but … but I think we need
to think about more important matters …

We can no longer simply say “I am waiting” –
waiting isn’t good enough … waiting
isn’t going to work … time is running out …
hell … they’ve just moved the minute hand
of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight:
what’s to be written? Okay … I wish
the whole damn thing were otherwise …
but it isn’t … it just isn’t …

One Response to “I am not waiting … by D. A. Pratt”

  1. John Dorsey Says:

    This is fantastic.

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