Dreams of Walt Whitman
Bodies touching rubbing bodies — to oceans submerged worlds flowing softly into each other. In my dreams, I stand on a cliff and look out at the briney green water, rising and falling, light shattered and casting shadows — Walt Whitman, the young Walt Whitman, stands behind me. The Old Jehovah Poet is absent — this one is a smiling rake, peaceful, tortured, beautiful. He is quiet — though perhaps on the verge of speech — he turns, and walks back from the bluff, through tall grass with the wind blowing. I look down at my dreambody, at my translucent glistening skin and follow.
This is the Death Drive, I think, This is the Darkness That Is Not Darkness, Death without Death, rich imagination, someone said (there is an old woman clipping service working hardily in China at the bottom of the world, odering and reordering the little flits of information that course through air and fiber-optic cable) that Imagination is the Organ of Meaning, as Reason is the Organ of Truth — Imaginative Reconstruction — Empathy — Mirror Neurons firing, howling monkeys howling in unison, a suffering symphony, ahhhh ahhhh there are no rational arguments, Walt Whitman knows this, he tells me this with the sway of his hips — not truth, but meaning — not reason, but imagination — more matter, less art — arms and art — the work of arms — or our unruly emotions, unbroken horses that pull us to and fro — What is this Grassland? What is this Elysian Field? The Shadow of Achilles begs for a drink; A strange heavy sun passes and the shadow is gone — The ocean is gone — Walt Whitman is gone — I am alone in the grass —
There was a dream I once had — right after I first fell in love — I was in a dark place, with loud music, and the dream-confusion was itself confused with some sort of drunken confusionm, aping, and I left with a girl, but I left with the wrong girl — cold — grass blows — chill wind — smell of sea salt — I’ve grown a beard in the mean time — ten and twenty years have passed while I’ve stood out here — am I in the Ripeness of my manhood? Am I the Young Walt Whitman? The stars are now shining through blue daylight — it’s so so strange — spinning, leaving light-streaks in the air, I’m growing dizzy myself — the grass is so tall – I could get lost in these fields — where did she go? she was just here a moment ago —
At the same time that I am standing in the field I am laying on a couch in an psychoanalyst’s office in the Upper West Side of Mannhattan, it is the office I’ve seen in a Woody Allen movie, and the psychoanalyst is Woody Allen, except he has a long white beard and where his eye should be there is an empty hole and he’s wearing a purple sweatband around his forehead and at the same time I’m in this office and in the field of grass I am also twenty-two in North Carolina and I am painting a false room red, floor, walls and ceiling so as to destabilize direction and I am glueing Rorschach InkBlot Print Reproductions to the ceiling and the walls and we are moving a large red couch into the false room and I am laying down on the couch and sinking down into the couch and the grass is bending down, eleven sheaves of grass and the twisting twirling starlight is shattering now into a thousand different colors painting me in the quicklight as I reach around for something to grab onto —
For a minute you’re with me — For a minute I’m holding you again — and then you’re gone and I’m gone and you’re alone out there somewhere — Jack Kerouac said it best when he said that don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear oh I would have held our child in our arms, love, I would have I would have I would have there are waves crashing somewhere nearby there is the quiet whispering howl of wind through the grass, dirt is flying in my eyes and in my mouth the doctor will see you now the doctor will see me now I am sleeping where is Walt Whitman the sea the sea standing looking at the light dappled waters bright on oneside and dark on the other — lapping we are here he is gone she is gone her voice still cries out or doesn’t the telephone ghost-receiver I think I hear her voice but don’t it is merely a perfect representation of her voice (in real time) at least reconstructed by electrical signal lightning in a bottle lightning bugs in a bottle butterflies with eyes on their wings blinking blinking blinking I am lying on a cold table coming out of the anesthesia he is waking up, says the nurse, it’s too soon, says the doctor, the dirt from the field and the lull of the doctor’s voice and the humming of Walt Whitman