Closer yet I approach you;
What thought you have of me, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance;
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born.
Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry -Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
"I say we had better look our nation searchingly in the face, like a physician diagnosing some deep disease." - Democratic Vistas
"Look for me under your bootsoles."
On Long Island, they moved my clapboard house
Across a turnpike, & then felt so guilty they
Named a shopping center after me!
Teen-agers call me a fool.
Now what I sang stops breathing.
It was only when everyone stopped believing in me
That I began to live, again-
First in the thin whine of Montana fence wire
Then in the transparent, cast off garments hung
In the windows of the poorest families,
Then in the glad music of Charlie Parker.
At times now,
I even come back to watch you
From the eyes of a taciturn boy in Malibu.
Across the counter at the the beach concession stand,
I sell you hot dogs, Pepsis, cigarettes-
My blond hair long, greasy, & swept back,
In a vain old ducktail, deliciously
Out of style.
And no one notices.
Once, I even came back as me,
An aging homosexual who ran the Tilt-a-Whirl
At county fairs, the chilled paint on each gondola
Changing color as it picked up speed,
And a Mardi Gras tattoo on my left shoulder.
A few of you must have seen my photographs,
For when you looked back,
I thought you caught the meaning of my stare:
A Kosmos. One of the roughs.
Leave me alone.
A father who's outlived his only child.
To find me now will cost you everything.
-Larry Levis (1946-1996)
Happy Independence Day . . . enjoy it while it lasts.