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With Walt Whitman, Outage, Subdue and Have Dominion


I’m looking for Walt Whitman
Wrapped in freedom-ringing hollow bells
And glory hallelujah smells
Walt Whitman in his Sunday best
All pressed and dressed and double breast
The seas should part at his request

I’m jogging with Walt Whitman
Clad in Nike shorts and shirt and shoes
Walt Whitman is just doing it
Walt Whitman is as right as rain
A little pain a little gain
Indelible but he won’t stain

I’m jamming with Walt Whitman
Rapt in Ray Charles blues and blue suede shoes
All smoke and drink and Vaseline
Denominationally green
The sneering snare and grinning sax
Invidious as heart attacks

I’m cruising with Walt Whitman
Bound for glory in a Chevrolet
With Hemingway and Kerouac
Beside me in an almanac
That fans my generation’s heat
To emulate Walt Whitman’s feat

I’m drinking with Walt Whitman
Steeped in countless forms of alcohol
Walt Whitman weeps we’ve let him down
Walt Whitman buys another round
And lifts his Captain from the ground
They walk away without a sound


After the bombing
we all went out to see to
fathom what we’d been
missing for days on TV
amidst the piles of debris

we found the corpses
of hapless machinery
and plied our shovels
in grunting uncertainty
fearing to arrive too late

under branches bent
on snapping off the power
we depended on
for civilized refinement
and a life of luxury

in hushed whispers we
spoke to passersby as if
our voices might bear
some responsibility
for this great inequity

as if the degree
and very severity
of our misfortune
were owing to some broken
covenant with the heavens

and later trudging
to the grocery store only
to find leavings from
a forecast feeding frenzy
we encountered impotence

rage and misery
until power was restored
to snowbound DC
and we could use the phone to
call and see when it would melt

Subdue and Have Dominion

Alone in the cold
at the bole of a felled tree
stripped of its shadow
by a chattering chainsaw
a three-legged wolf twists free

in wordless protest
snapping at the jaws trapping
its paw overhead
helicopters rattle on
about ranchers’ revenues

and sportsmanship and
the need to cull this eerie
howling startling
the stock they breed for eating
in the image of a god

D J MOSER is a freelance writer who lives in Washington, DC.

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)
To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work). Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where. Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx). Expect a response within one month.

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology. Please submit your poetry by Tuesday in order to be considered for the CounterPunch

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