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.

 

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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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