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  • Date :
  • 5/31/2011

A Supermarket in California


(Allen Ginsberg)


What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the

streets 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


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 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?

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