of afterness unclosed and uncloseable. Relentless!
we sink our swords into a nice fresh monster
which falls slack with chills and, with a moan, flees
resentful, to hell
To the door of my Rockland cottage in the Western night.
Walt Whitman, self-published poet, Civil War army nurse, former editor of the BrooklynDaily Eagle and the New Orleans Crescent, quietly celebrates his 181st birthday on Wednesday, May 31. Since it was Whitman’s contention that planet Earth is a fairly nice place, that life here is remarkably worth living even though it doesn’t rhyme, that sex is particularly more enjoyable than administrative work, and that humanship is best practiced by humans, everyone’s invited. Whitman was a strange one: Rather than dashing, as bright white young men of his day so often did, into the roaring slaughterhouse of American business, he spent his life writing poetry and stories — half his life writing and rewriting Leaves of Grass — and has thus far spent his entire death in New Jersey.