“A Supermarket in California” – Allen Ginsberg
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 enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families 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 watermelons?
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
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
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 automo-
biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
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
“On a Love Theme by Walt Whitman” – Allen Ginsberg
I’ll go into the bedroom silently and lie down between the bridegroom and the bride, those bodies fallen from heaven stretched out waiting naked and restless, / arms resting over their eyes in the darkness, / bury my face in their shoulders and breasts, breathing their skin, and stroke and kiss neck and mouth and make back be open and known, / legs raised up crook’d to receive, cock in the darkness driven tormented and attacking / roused up from hole to itching head, / bodies locked shuddering naked, hot hips and buttocks screwed into each other / and eyes, eyes glinting and charming, widening into looks and abandon, / and moans of movement, voices, hands in air, hands between thighs, hands in moisture on softened lips, throbbing contraction of bellies till the white come flow in the swirling sheets, / and the bride cry for forgiveness, and the groom be covered with tears of passion and compassion, / and I rise up from the bed replenished with last intimate gestures and kisses of farewell – / all before the mind wakes, behind shades and closed doors in a darkened house / where the inhabitants roam unsatisfied in the night, nude ghosts seeking each other out in the silence.
I just wanted to put these poems out there for your reading pleasure…I’ll probably talk more about them later. I enjoy Ginsberg’s work and was delighted to come across these poems. The second poem is particularly interesting for where we are in the class as it is a response to a portion of “A Song of Myself” where Whitman writes, “I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride / myself, / And tighten her all night to my thighs and lips” (64). (Sorry the format of the second is without line breaks)