Walt Whitman was a bearded homosexual who had a love for America and all the people living in it. Surely, a different time and place. Walt was kind of a slacker who couldn’t even finish one book. Instead, the procrastinating poet would walk around Brooklyn and get all excited by the sweaty workers laboring in the sun.
Whitman’s senses were open and flowing. The passion that consumed his heart came across as sexually provocative. This lead some people to shy away from Whitman’s prose.
But, hey! Why be sexually conservative? That's no fun.
Whitman's life-long project, Leaves of Grass, captures singing souls and heaving bodies. All the pleasures of the senses. Now that sounds like fun.
To me his poetry is the written ecstasy. The euphoric uninhibited rush I get off a good pill of MDMA. Just look at stanza # 4 from I Sing the Body Electric. Tell me Whitman wasn’t living his own acid house daydreams:
"I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well."
Do you think Walt wrote what was safe or what he felt? Do you think it was safe when he was getting erections over ship-builders in the late 1800’s? No. (It’s probably not safe now either). But that’s what got Allen going. I think some people should lose their minds. A kiss is so much sweeter than a punch in the mouth. And acid is better than violence.