Walt Whitman in 1989

(1992)
"Walt Whitman in 1989" is a song with music by Chris DeBlasio and poetry by Perry Brass. It is part of the AIDS Quilt Songbook.  Perry Brass wrote this poem on September 18, 1989 in Orangeburg, New York "for a generation taken by our war."
Walt Whitman in 1989
by Perry Brass

Walt Whitman has come down
today to the hospital room;
he rocks back and forth in the crisis;

he says it's good we haven't lost
our closeness, and cries
as each one is taken

He has writen many lines
about these years: the disfigurement
of young men and the wars

of hard tongues and closed minds.
The body in pain will bear such nobility,
but words have the edge

of poison when spoken bitterly.
Now he takes a dying man
in his arms and tells him

how deeply flows the River
that takes the old man and his friends
this evening. It is the River

of dusk and lamentation.
"Flow." Walt says. "dear River,
I will carry this young man

to your bank. I'll put him myself
on one of your strong, flat boats,
and we'll sail together all the way
through evening."

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