Wandering New York City on a Benzedrine Binge, Dreaming of Walt Whitman


I walk down the streets of New York,
the massive moon hanging picking classical guitar, or maybe strumming porcine Floyd and I want nothing but loving grass, its supple comfort on my face, and my beard to live like Walt’s -
a man’s beard is his manhood, the pubic hair of the face, facial Samsonism;
mine grows like a teenage gymnast.
I look to the moon and ask for rain and beers and I get breasts, great and swinging down from endless Consumerism and advertisements
and I’m dreaming of American bards walking in supermarkets, a stark juxtaposition: romanticism and capitalism, dreaming of you through tear-soaked dollars.


This poem is really about you Walt, you whose poetic loins burned with agony and love and gave birth
to the words that begat me, living breathing firmament over once-empty lovely endless plains and mountains that stretched up to find answers and I am captured, caged in the expanse of language, here with all the other writers.
There’s Ginsberg and Kerouac pouring out poetry and prose in their massive geysers of unabashed and naked love of something or nothing but surely everything, genitals out for all to see,
and there’s Shelley lying with Byron on a cloud of opium and dreaming of lovers and of each other, while Keats is somewhere being beautiful and Coleridge is bathing in sacred rivers of laudanum and floating off
and Hemingway’s gone probably boxing with swordfish and somewhere Faulkner’s mustache is challenging his mouth to a drinking competition and Vonnegut’s swallowing Pall Malls by the pack
Yeats is still longing for his Helen and Eliot’s got his nose turned up in discontent, or at least I think that’s what he means, and everyone’s here and this is all one massive turning cyclone of language.
In the midst of all this genius,
I’m stuck in standstill, nose-first in my notebook, struggling to catch individual words and nail them to my page like Walt nailed himself to green leaves to absolve me of my sins, so that I may see the words turning before me
and there is Ginsberg again, telling me to let go of myself and my fantasies
and I’m back on the dead concrete, surrounded by skyscrapers.


I swear this poem is for you Walt and I swear this isn’t entirely bullshit;
this is my pitiful yawp and I give it to you and place it in your beard and hope it grows infused into your hairs and grows long with them, until it touches the ground and then blends into the grass like you once did.
I think this is just beard envy, Walt –
But you never gave me your beard, instead you gave me your blood
and I remember when I watched you falling from my face and spilling over my hands absorbing into the dirt.
That day in the woods behind my father’s house while big brother ripped poems from my notebook and tore them up you were looking up at me, blood-red Walt, iconic American bard messiah of the once-beautiful country,
and dad was passed out with a bottle of Jack while big brother played soccer with my liver but I was lost in you, in visions of your beard reaching out in one sad, endless grasp.


Ginsberg this aberration was once yours and you wandered these streets in benny-bright stupors with massive, enumerable angels singing of Moloch and you knew that this was holy, everything is holy,
but I want so badly to hide my face behind quintessential stereotypical manliness and coarse brown hairs, to wear my bliss on my face like thick, curly lovers,
such superficial comfort, as if a beard could teach me how to handle my whisky,
how to chug life and embrace the burning holes in my throat.

Sam Lewis