A Time of Useful Consciousness

At the end of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s  Time of Useful Consciousness (Americus, Book II), there is a notes section at the end of the book (source). From the notes section:

Time of Useful Consciousness,’ an aeronautical term denoting the time between when one loses oxygen and when one passes out, the brief time in which some lifesaving action is possible.

Here is another excerpt from earlier in the book:

The jazz-age Pickle populated for starters by Wobblies, old Haymarket rads, Bughouse Square soapboxers, anarcho-pacifists, newshounds and booksellers and lecturers on serious subjects, con artists and cops, hoodlums on the lam and pols on the make, prostitutes and printers…

Studs Terkel, with Eugene Debs saying “The master class has always declared the wars, the subject class has always fought the battles”–for which he got ten years in the slammer but told the judge “While there is a lower class I am in it, while there is criminal element, I am of it, while there is soul in prison, I am not free.

Here is a poem:

L’heure bleue on the Strip/where time does not exist/except on the wrist of the dealer/and all that glitters is not gelt/and “behind the tinsel is the real tinsel”

And another historical stanza:

In the Trieste Caffe the original beat hangout/where Gert Rude Stein/never said to J. Kerouac “You are all a beat generation”

See also Time of Useful Consciousness (source).

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