Al Ortolani was born September 6, 1952, in Huntington, New York, but was reared in Pittsburg, Kansas. A graduate of Pittsburg State University, he became a secondary English teacher in Baxter Springs, Kansas. His poems have appeared regularly in magazines and journals throughout America, as well as in Japan, Canada, and Australia.
The Last Hippie of Camp 50 contains "a number of tough, good, and even funny poems ... I was frequently won over by the poet's intensity, his inventiveness, his eye for irony, and his usually firm footing in the world of concrete particularity."--William Trowbridge, author of Oh, Paradise
"The immigrants, blacks, and pioneers who came to Kansas saw it as a place of opportunity, where through education and hard work one could live unbeholden to the bureaucracies of the places they left. That sense of new beginnings still hangs in the air of the last hippie's world. Al Ortolani has captured it well."--Gene DeGruson
When your are lonely for something
you can't quite put your finger on,
wake the children at midnight,
take them outdoors before the front porch,
push aside the lantana and hollyhock,
and there, like dark globs of muck,
you'll find toads. Startled,
they'll pop against the clapboards
of your home like air-gun corks.
Your children will fight moths
for safe space
inside the flashlight beam,
"Go," you tell them, "look into the shadows.
Separate the geraniums.
The children squeal,
stomping their feet into the hoe-broken earth,
air guns popping off into the vanilla moonlight.
The Last Hippie of Camp 50
by Al Ortolani
5-1/2" X 8-1/2"