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?