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  • POEM: A Supermarket In California by Allen Ginsberg (1/18/2006 10:47:00 PM)

    There seems to be confusion about the correct lines of this poem.Like many beat poets, Ginsberg worked a lot with the line placement. Ginsberg plays with enjambment and endstops as a matter of humour in this poem. As I know it it should be:

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

  • POEM: A Supermarket In California by Allen Ginsberg (1/18/2006 10:36:00 PM)

    Suggestion: Maybe you should re-examine this poem and edit it a bit to add finesse. It feels a bit like a rant not a work of art. With a little work you could make this quite poetic.

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