Me & Walt

Me & Walt

I’m reading Whitman on the 22-Fillmore,
so tired I could miss my stop

& ride to Fillmore at Broadway,
look down at the bright & blue Marina

glistening at noon. I could plant myself
on the grass at Marina Green, unwrap

my tuna tuna on whole wheat, sip
my Diet Coke, maybe nap

in the sunlight. I’d commune
with the lawn, be at one with every atom

of every blade of grass, feel deep & abiding
connections with animal, vegetable,

mineral, then return to my job a little late
but with renewed appreciation

for the interdependence of all souls.
What really happens is, I exit the bus

and dodge a dealer hustling crack
in front of McDonald’s.

At my building, I wave a magnetized ID
across a pad & the front door

buzzes open. I unlock my office door
with a nonreproducable key, and before

before taking off my coat or
opening the blinds, I boot up

& log on: dependence on the machine,
the network, departmental applications.

Incessant information, mechanization,
lies and half-truths, all reducible

to a microchip—the human element
once, now twice removed. I can’t start

from Paumanok, I can’t cross Brooklyn Ferry,
I don’t hear America singing. I hear America

crashing in on itself, shooting up, barfing up,
living down and out under the freeway,

the body electronic, transmitted via cable, satellite,
gigabit fiber, a spear of summer grass

on a screen in the privacy
of our own rooms.

What are you looking for?