Saturday, April 14, 2007

They Come In All Colors, One Size Fits All...

Remember the ending lines of Allen Ginsberg's "A Supermarket in California"? Ginsberg imagines turning to Walt Whitman, and asking:

    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?

If you're listening to Ginsberg read these lines on your iPod as you stroll down, say, Michigan Avenue's glitzy shopping zone, and find yourself thinking of the America we have now, and what Walt Whitman would think of it, you may catch yourself mentally rewriting the opening of "Song of Myself" thusly:

I celebrate my wealth, and sing my wealth;
And what I consume you can't consume;
For every item belonging to me cannot belong to you...

Trust me. It could happen.