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A Supermarket In California Analysis

Author: poem of Allen Ginsberg Type: poem Views: 22

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     What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit-

man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees

with 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 of

your enumerations!

     What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam-

ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives

in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you,

García Lorca, what were you doing down by the


     I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old

grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator

and eyeing the grocery boys.

     I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed

the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my


     I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of

cans following you, and followed in my imagination

by the store detective.

     We strode down the open corridors together in

our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every

frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

     Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors

close in an hour. Which way does your beard point


     (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the

supermarket 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 love

past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent


     Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-

teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit

poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank

and stood watching the boat disappear on the black

waters of Lethe?

                                   Berkeley 1955


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