I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.1
I am waiting for Walt Whitman to arrive. He is slow on the open road. Dazzled by wildflowers and the
enthusiasms of people moving to and from cities, shouting hellos.
I am waiting for Walt Whitman to lift me up. I am searching for the right words and he seems to have so
many of them. I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.2
Sticks and stones. I write and sometimes heaven pours out but mostly the words are gravel paving a
hard path. I can’t fear what I love. I will not fear what I love.
Still, a greedy man in my head holds sway over the cells, sparks and synapses. He is the chemist who
turns my brain into an empty room. He is just a man, I tell him.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.3
I have been here before, empty-handed and begging. Walt, Walt. Say allons to me. The words I write are
premixed, packaged, shelved. Or they are stuttered, muffled, silenced by the greedy chemist.
I write anyway. I will not fear what I love.
I will love the words, choked as they are in the back of my throat. I will love them and feed them. I will
teach them about justice and forgiveness. I will give them room to play. I will let them breathe.
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the
passing of blood and air through my lungs,4 I am writing.
1Whitman, Walt. “Song of the Open Road.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 July 2015.
2“Song of the Open Road.”
3Whitman, Walt. “Song of Myself (1892 version).” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 July 2015.
4“Song of Myself.”
On my way out for a hike on a volcano, I stopped to read your words and they stopped me in my tracks. The sounds of birds, lizards in the trees, the call of the beautiful outdoors all faded. I love what you have written here. As you know, I feel much of the same but your poetry says all of that and more. You seamlessly weave Whitman into your thoughts and I love your use of repetition. I feel with this stream of consciousness that you’ve let me into your thoughts. Thank you xo
I made lizards fade?! Damn. That might be the highest compliment. I so want to be where you are right now, most especially to say thank you. I feel like I cheated since I pulled Walt’s words into half this poem but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. Love you, miss you, can’t wait to read your words again.
I want you to be here right now too. Just ’cause. You’re so sweet. And you definitely did not cheat! I am still writing, small things mostly. I post them, I just don’t link up to anything anymore. It’s quite freeing, if a bit slack.
I haven’t read too much of Walt Whitman’s poetry, other than the one about the learned astronomer, but I really liked this. As Silverleaf said, you worked in Whitman’s words really well. 🙂
Oh, you must read some more Whitman! It takes some patience, I’ll admit. Lots of exclamations and passion but so progressive for his time. I like glimpsing history through his eyes too. Thanks for the kind read and comments, Michael.
This is so creative! It reads like stream of consciousness, but with a deft poetic touch.
Thanks, Nat! I miss being on your grid,. (That sounds weird, doesn’t it? Hah.) Appreciate your encouragement and thoughtful read.
You’ve stumbled onto a new form – pep talk patchwork poetry? Funny how we both went to other poets for inspiration. Sometimes it’s necessary though.
Hah! Pep talk patchwork poetry. Like I said to Silver, I feel like I cheated by using so much Whitman but it helped me get out of this funk. Now I’ve got to re-read some Levine. Worked with him a bit when I was at KR but haven’t read anything since. Thanks, Nate.
This is such a different take on writing and writer’s block. I love it! And? You did it!!
Thanks, Stacie! I felt like I was just bulldozing through that block. Gah. <3
Whitman does it for you. I remember reading his writing in my college days. Then, along came those bombastic Russians. Even reading in translation was seat-of-the-pants exciting. Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov” is the current blast from the past. Thanks to you, Whitman’s back on the list.