Howl and Other Poems1955What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit-man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the treeswith a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images,I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming ofyour enumerations!What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam-ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wivesin the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you,García Lorca, what were you doing down by thewatermelons?I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely oldgrubber, poking among the meats in the refrigeratorand eyeing the grocery boys.I heard you asking questions of each: Who killedthe pork chops? What price bananas? Are you myAngel?I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks ofcans following you, and followed in my imaginationby the store detective.We strode down the open corridors together inour solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing everyfrozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doorsclose in an hour. Which way does your beard pointtonight?(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in thesupermarket and feel absurd.)Will we walk all night through solitary streets?The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses,we'll both be lonely.Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of lovepast blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silentcottage?Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quitpoling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bankand stood watching the boat disappear on the blackwaters of Lethe?
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