Treasures in the Dust

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,…”
I try to stop thinking about the sad fate of my nation by trying to clean out my clutter, metaphorically trying, trying, trying to bring clarity to a nation mired in the clutter of lies.
On my overwhelmed bookshelf, three little booklets from The Pocket Poets Series published by City Lights that I’ve been carrying around since the 60s. An image of the cover of my little copy of HOWL and other poems by Allen Ginsberg shows up here, except I have 16th printing and not the first, which probably is worth something.
The other two in the old Pocket Book Poets Series I have are Pictures of the gone world by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Poems of Humor and Protest by Kenneth Patchen — neither one a first edition either. I will take them with me on my next more; they’ve become icons, magic carpets into my personal past, reminders that the more things change, etc.
The other book that emerged from bookcase clutter, pages yellowed and crumbling, is a 1945 original edition of “The Wayside Willow,” signed and dated by all of the members of the 1945 Klub Polski at Columbia University who translated and published the anthology.
I don’t have time to read through it now. I’m not done with enough of the clutter. But I will, soon. Poland is a country that was, many times, swept up in the tsunami of others’ histories and still managed to survive and to produce powerful writers from those painful processes. It’s in my blood.

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