Lawrence Ferlinghetti says, “Johnny Nolan has a patch on his ass”

Dear Reader,

Johnny Nolan has a patch on his ass

Kids chase him                                                                                                                        thru screendoor summers

Thru the back streets                                                                                                                      of all my memories

Somewhere a man laments                                                                                                                        upon  violin

A doorstep baby cries                                                                                                                and  cries again

like                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a                                                                                                                      ball                                                                                                                                                       bounced                                                                                                                                   down steps

Which helps the afternoon arise again                                                                               to a moment of remembered hysteria

Johnny Nolan has a patch on his ass

Kids chase him

(Lawrence Ferlinghetti. “22”. A Coney Island of the Mind. NY: New Directions, 1978.)

I love the rhythm and story of this poem. I love how it’s derived from only a few words. It made me a Ferlinghetti fan.

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4 Responses to “Lawrence Ferlinghetti says, “Johnny Nolan has a patch on his ass””


  1. 1 fergusrl2007 04/29/2011 at 4:35 am

    I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Ferlingheti in person some years ago and hear him read this very poem.

  2. 2 Faye Quam Heimerl 04/29/2011 at 5:39 am

    Did he read with a New York accent?

  3. 3 hoobie 05/03/2011 at 2:04 am

    @ Faye –

    He is a very good reader but has a strange voice, not exactly squeaky. Check out the CD of _Coney Island of the Mind_ which is him reading with instrumental background music. Well worth the listen.

    http://www.amazon.com/Coney-Island-Mind-Lawrence-Ferlinghetti/dp/B00001IVLH/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1304386132&sr=1-1

  4. 4 Faye Quam Heimerl 05/06/2011 at 4:50 pm

    Yes, I bought this a few years ago and liked it. Will read one of those poems for my June Third Thursday Poetry Open Mic. That month is Ginsberg’s birthday, so I thought we’d go with a stereotypical Beat thing, complete with bongos and such.


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