A Supermarket In California Revisited

for Allen Ginsberg & Walt Whitman

Where have you gone, Walt Whitman?
And in what ways have I departed from you?
Among the peaches and penumbras, I saw you once,
     alive and aware, as I was aware.
What slippage of time has drawn us apart?
What gap of decades has caused me to forget?
Across the waters, you and I once ventured
to the banks of Lethe, where we would not drink.
Doubling our tax, we paid the boatman
for the ferry of our return journey.

But where are you now, Walt Whitman?
Why can I not recall your kind eyes,
the direction in which your beard once pointed,
in every aisle, the two of us, each singing a different song
but of oneself, we each always sang?
Have the waters which we crossed become the waters
at which I kneel? Have the banks become
my forgetfulness? Have I knelt before
those black waters with cupped hands
and forgotten you, Walt Whitman?


Arise! O Man! (Dreaming)–A Conversation

Arise! O Man,
and thus be counted
among those who speak
with tongues of fire,

who lash about
with whips of Truth
in an age desperate
for filth.

And what will you do,
O Man, O Man,
at the end of day
when vain glory is shed
and weeping is exalted
in a quivering tone?

Think then, O Man,
of that which is bought
by the hand that gives
and that which receives.
Therein lies the purpose to all,
to all who giveth
if they, too, shall receive.

Arise! O Man, with gallant heart,
no matter how lowly of station you are.
For station unto station,
age unto age,
is merely a glimmer of you, O Man!

What shall we call
the song which we sing,
the song which echoes
above the below,
though lowly, we walk,
in every crevasse?

What ramparts are dared
in the hours of dreaming
when all that is not
is not as it seems?

I sing a song of a thousand songs,
of a thousand souls,
each to their own.
A song for each
and a song for them all,
a song for the lowly
and exalted, alike.

To what shall we sing
this battle hymn we dare?
What lies beyond
the word and the tune?
Is there a focus
on which to lay our heads?
Or is the singing
of the song a thing of itself?

Count the words,
O Man, and count
what makes them folly
in the ears of the lustful,
in the ears of the fool.

And lift up the words
above the below
in a shout of fury
from valley to sky!

The dreaming ends not,
O Man of the valley,
even in places
of all-penetrating night.

The dreaming ends not,
O Man in the tower,
for a tower only scrapes,
never blemishes the sky.

How long, O Man,
will the dreaming endure?
How long will the dreaming
be merely a dream?

Fools!  Fools, you are!
Every one of you
who would speak as such!

For there are no dreams
if not for the dreaming.
And there is no dreaming
that has ever ceased to be!
No dreaming is lost,
nor is it gained,

for all is dreaming,
O Man, who would know!