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A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA
web | The Sun Is but a Morning Star
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman,
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
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives
in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! and you,
Garcia 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 Angel?
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 a hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(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 of the 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?
© Allen Ginsberg
© E-publisher LiterNet, 04.07.2010
The Sun Is but a Morning Star. Anthology of American Literature. Edited by Albena Bakratcheva. Varna: LiterNet, 2008-2010