I Sing the Light Bulb Electric
Rob Woutat

It is time to explain myself — let us stand up:
I, Walt Whitman, of Manhattan the Son, out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
    Over the rooftops barbarically yawping,
I am the Poet of the Body and of the Soul,
    Of women no less than men,
    Of men no less than women,
You are all the same to me, me perturable.

What do you sing, Walt Whitman?
I sing the light bulb electric, the three-way switch I sing,
I sing the aching pent-up flow from tubes florescent,
    (A.C., D.C, you are all one to me.)
Three hundred watts erupting from the sockets in my walls,
Breaking forth, illuminating all,
Chairs no more than tables, table no more than chairs;
Three hundred watts engirth me and I respond to them;
And if the socket does not do fully as much as the bulb?
And if the socket were not the bulb, what is the bulb?

Allons! Singing the song of the broad-axe, the switch blade,
Mingling with Brooklyn ferries, from Paumanok to India,
Singing the song of the door jamb, the traffic jam,
I chant of lilac blooms and dressing wounds and powerful Western
    Fallen Stars,
Of thrushes and populous cities am I, of whatever clings to boot soles,
    Of pismire the kin, the base of all metaphysics,
    Metaphysically base, (You mean as much to me as I to you).

I am the Poet of the body and I am the Poet of the Soul,
But mostly of the Body, of men no less than women, of women no less than men,
I, indiscriminate, cataloging the occupations of children of Adam
    Caressing the Calamus root,
The arms, the legs, the nostrils, heels, shins, necks, lobes, thighs,
The eyes ears nose and throat, the lungs, kidneys, muscles, cells,
Auricles, ventricles, clavicles —
No less than I of you are you of me,
No less than you of me am I of you,
You, ventricles, squishing, pumping, you are all a part of me,
I, a part of you, hoping to cease not before you, hoping you do not
    Cease before me.

A child, hankering, gross, mystical, nude, said What the hell are you,
    Old Man? Grabbing me with both hands;
How can I answer the child? — I, a blade of grass, an aggregation
    Of glands, a Brooklyn Ferry, a grain of sand incorporating multitudes,
    Intranslatable, incomprehensible,
Preferring men no less than women
Preferring women no less than men.
(Do I repeat myself?)

Luring, baiting, propagating, spying
On naked bathers by Ontario’s shores am I;
No more, no less than mounds of feces,
I am of the stuff for theses.

© Rob Woutat
Contact: rwoutat[AT]tscnet.com
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