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Allen Ginsberg
1926 - 1997



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A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA

What thoughts I had of you tonight, Walt Witman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache selfconscious 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 w hat penumbras!! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in avocados, babies in tomatoes! - and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing dowm 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 artishokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are you 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 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 passed blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?

A, 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 on the black waters of Lethe?

 

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© 2001 Elena and Yacov Feldman