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This poem is taken from PN Review 69, Volume 16 Number 1, September - October 1989.

A Few Words for Walt Whitman Philip Gross

Too much, all that booming and brawling... When I tried to read your lines
I stumbled in them. Jostled in the ranks, I couldn't stop or follow.
I wouldn't consent to the big sweaty bear-hug of your voice. All too much,

the sour physical tang of it, smoke, ether, blood, all that "old mad joy".
Now I'm writing this, small, in a small black notebook.
                                                              I'm often afraid.

If I glimpse you at all, it's through the breaches between words
when both sides falter, facing for a moment not each other but... what?

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