Allen Ginsberg, born in Newark, N.J., June 3, 1926, is an American poet and leading apostle of the beat generation.
Supermarket In California
walked down the streets under the trees with a
headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes! – and you, Garcia Lorca,
what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing
the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary
fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy,
and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets?
The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past
blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood
watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?