Joan Gelfand









The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics


“All that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allen Poe


I: The dream within the dream within the dream

What is it, Ferlinghetti,

Taking star turns in my dreams?

Strolling in front of cars

Haunting alleyways, stairways,

Bars? Beating moth like flitting through

San Francisco’s sex fraught avenues? In North Beach

Where XXX marks art and

Nasty commerce collide, intersect Columbus,

Telegraph Hill, Jack Kerouac Way.

You are fog whispering in from the sea

On another sunny day.



Music Dream Seven





“There’s a breathless hush on the freeway tonight,

Beyond the ledges of concrete/Restaurants fall into dreams

With candlelight couples/Lost Alexandria still burns.” *


Ferlinghetti’s words sink, weighted

On the business end of an invisible fishing line,

Dredging last nights’ dream to surface, gasping for air

Shivering like some catfish

Eyes bulging, wet lake water dripping off its scales.

The knife of memory slices open

That dream, finds me on haunted streets,

Instructing small boy:

“You gotta go to the Ferlinghetti school. It’s totally rad

and completely cool.”


II: Ferlinghetti Makes an Appearance

Phantom audience shouts: “Higher! Higher!”

Egg the poets on – after all, they’re not on the wire.

Higher? We spin the memory wheel until there’s my father

Strolling through his own Coney Island

And there he is again winning a goldfish

The clerk hands it over fish circling in plastic bag

Big Daddy pretends

It’s all for the kids.

He needed to win like that fish needed water.








III: The Poet Reconsiders

Is the skill of life just keeping on

All the gears oiled, the doors open?

Even if the past keeps drowning and the knifed open

Dream fish still swims around?


In dream theater Ferlinghetti arrives.

Was it the Regal, the Royal or the Metreon?

I rise to make room for he who started everything

Got the wheel of poetry turning, broke

Open language, letters. Vaporized

While he drifts

Haunting my dreams.


*From “Wild Dreams of A New Beginning” by L. Ferlinghetti





Music/Dream Seven:











My work has appeared in over 80 national and international anthologies and literary journals including Kalliope,, The Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Poetica, Kerem, « You Are Here: Poetry From the Streets of New York, » « Bridging New York, » The Cape Rock, Eureka!, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, gape-seed, Broken Circles and many others.

I am the co-Editor of « Women and the Web: How the Internet Provides Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Women, » as well as the author of two full length poetry collections, « A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams, » (San Francisco Bay Press,) and « Seeking Center, » Two Bridges Press, and an award winning chapbook of short fiction, « Here and Abroad. » I also have a CD, published by Daveland Studios, with original music by Marty Castleberg.

I am a blogger for the Huffington Post, a teacher for Poetry Inside Out, and Poetry Editor for the « J. » Attached here are my author bio and a headshot. I will send you a second e mail with book covers and a link to my CD on iTunes.


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