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soich and reccoinoitter

Posted to Poetry and Politics

A Supermarket In California

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, Garcia¢ 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 cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an 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 the 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 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 Lethe?

Copyright Ó 1984 by Allen Ginsberg, from COLLECTED POEMS 1947-1980, p. 136

When critics allow their bland homilies & retread ideas to pass for poetry, then readers- especially those who are young, & those in future generations, are due for some bad things. Inertia is a powerful force- when things, or poets, or critics, start to avoid the art in art, the spiral gathers force & a slip-sliding they all go.
Amongst the biggest sliders have been the Academics- largely DWMs- but we’ve seen that DWFs can be just as bad, & know that the ‘Outsiders’ are no better. Yet they all are published, lauded, alibied for, & worst of all- imitated. APC has done a lousy job of correcting this, & other, ills in the past- thus the situation perpetuates: that is their intention- both of the bad poets & the worse critics! Let’s hope readers wise up & choose to make their intention one not fulfilled too much longer- & that’s no fallacy!

from: On American Poetry Criticism;
& Other Dastardly –Isms
Slopes Slippery, Spirals Downward, & The Cliché As Fulfillment:
Forché, Rich, Hall, & Stafford
by Dan Schneider, 10/4/01