Searching Out Walt Whitman

I am searching you out, Walt Whitman,
for I've lost all confidence.
If you were here, could you find
the same hope in Camden, New Jersey?
A pulsing red light warns
jet after jet; the bridge, like a dinosaur's back,
casts dark shadows on the water.
On a night when any poor schmuck
could do violence to himself,
Walt Whitman, your voice is a light glowing against the rocks
where love and desire slap themselves silly.



Are you walking the streets tonight,
muttering to yourself under the cold night sky,
where like some ancient Buddha
you know how to turn the stars
back to wonder? I know your ghost
still drifts like a dirty angel through this town.
We need you again, Walt Whitman, your voice
rising like smoke after a war,
your wild beard headed down to the river, maybe,
a whole continent held gently under one arm.

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