Ode to the Beat Generation

by Ed Sanders

Ode to the Beat Generation
for Antonio Bertoli

Hail to the Beat Generation in the Time-Mist!
Hail to the Generation that rocked across the ocean
with a mighty Boat of Books that shook all cities!

                      Beat Beat Beat Beat

Thank God for cameras, o Beat Generation
for they have captured your wild dance forever!
Thank God for mimeograph machines & inexpensive presses
for they have inked your Final Type!
Thank God for the angels in your canvases, O Generation!
And may the candles in your Chianti bottles light up heaven,
o Beats,
and no one ever publish hell again!
Thank God for your Beautiful Loss, o Beat Generation
Thank God for the concept of “Gone”!
They can’t extinguish Gone, no matter how hard they try!
Sacred Gone!  Eternal Gone!  Fishin’ Gone!

Beata Beatus Beatum Beatae

They can’t extinguish the flames of your sandals, O Beat
Generation!
and the Egyptian kohl that outlines your wanton eyes!
They can’t extinguish the bongo drums
at midnight on the Staten Island Ferry
in the Waters of Gone!
nor the crevices and wild appendages insatiate
from Moscow to Moravia to Memphis!

BeatGone BeatBegone BeatGone BeatBegone

The strands of time are like a baklava, o Beat Generation!
So many layers, and laughs, and lines, and Lones!
Creeley typing the stencils for the mimeographed “Howl”
on Rexroth’s typewriter!
Ferlinghetti’s left-wing poems of people tired of repairing
Ezekiel’s wheel for a shot of whiskey!
DiPrima typing “Revolution” across the dead eyes of tyrants!
The dueling economies of Burroughs and Ginsberg!
The broccoli swords of Corso and Gary Snyder
The knowledge of the 1000 year sigh in Joanne Kyger’s genius!

BeatBrain BeatBrine BeatBrawn BeatBoat

I’m not going to talk about your weaknesses
in the River of Kiss-Phantoms, o Beat Generation!
Nor talk about Kerouac’s voting for Nixon one nervous November
nor speak of the cash-starved notebooks of flip-out
in somebody’s archive, or the fields of stunned Sunflowers
surrounded by so many suns
they turn to the actual Sun of Gone
to find Eternity!

Beat Beat Beat Beat

The art of the Road and the art of the Word is the art of the Rose
We hear you! o Beat Generation, down by the sunny marsh
singing for 60 years like the frogs of Aristophanes:
Ecstasy Fondue!  Sax Clover!  Tire-Sandal Soup!

Beat Beat Beat Beat
          Never a sheet so sweet!