Under My Bootsoles (#?)

Uncategorized Add comments

This is a poem by the poet Ai.  I found it particularly interesting to post this week as we are beginning to discuss Walt Whitman’s legacy.  I’m interested in other  opinions of this poem as, having now studied Whitman fairly extensively, I am not quite sure how I feel about his role in it.  And sorry about the double spaces…I couldn’t figure out how to format it better.




“Heaven and earth

What else is there?”

said Walt Whitman in your dream,

then he smiled at you

and disappeared,

but you wanted him to come back.

You wanted to tell him that there was more.

there was the hardsell

you had to give yourself to stay alive

HIV positive five years

and counting backward to the day

your other life was stripped

bare of its leaves

at the start of the war of disease

against the body.

You don’t have AIDS,

yet, you know it’s coming

like a train whose whistle

you can hear before you see it.

When you feel the tremors

of internal earthquake,

will you do the diva thing?

Will you Rudolf Nureyev your way on stage,

so ravaged and dazed

you don’t know who you are,

or commit your public suicide in private,

windows open wide

on the other side

where your father, Walt is waiting

to take you in his arms

like a baby returning there on waking,

beside the picnic basket

in the long grass,

where the brittle pages of a book

are turning to the end.

Leave a Reply

Wordpress Themes by Natty WP.
Images by koop viagra desEXign.
Skip to toolbar