The Rambler

Broklyn 1979

Posted in Modern Couplets by Erik Lloyd Olson on March 14, 2010

Whitman, thou shouldst be living at this hour,

riding the Brooklyn subway or its cabs,

not tending wounds, but picking at the scabs

that crust our lives and turn our lifeblood sour.

The lusty laborers you knew now cower

in factories, kitchens, offices, or labs.

Their furtive hearts behind the concrete slabs

might yet find courage in your loving power.

O Walt, who reached into all secret places

unjudgingly and celebrated all,

now in this air-conditioned shopping mall

where buyers mingle masked, their features glossed,

discern our tender flesh and frightened faces

and whisper where our dignity was lost!

Judson Jerome


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