It's Whitman's 196th birthday or thereabouts, LustSpiel is up since 5½ months, so we have to celebrate in style with the gay parts---only the gay parts---of Whitman's Song of myself.
Selection by Tyler Coates
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are
crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.
Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat
I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet.
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,
I tuck’d my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;
You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle.
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.
The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their long hair,
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.
The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his
knife at the stall in the market,
I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break-down.
Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil,
Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire.
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,
The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish’d and perfect limbs.
The young fellow drives the express-wagon, (I love him,
though I do not know him;)
I beat and pound for the dead,
I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for
Manhattan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding.
I do not press my fingers across my mouth,
I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,
Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.
You my rich blood! your milky stream pale strippings of my life!
Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you!
Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you!
Hands I have taken, face I have kiss’d, mortal I have ever touch’d, it shall be you.
A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me,
The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full.
Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial,
Depriving me of my best as for a purpose,
Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,
Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture-fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow-senses away,
They bribed to swap off with touch and go and graze at the edges of me,
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger,
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while,
Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry me.
You villain touch! what are you doing? my breath is tight in its throat,
Unclench your floodgates, you are too much for me.
His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.
I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.
All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,
I am the man, I suffer’d, I was there.
You laggards there on guard! look to your arms!
In at the conquer’d doors they crowd! I am possess’d!
Embody all presences outlaw’d or suffering,
See myself in prison shaped like another man,
And feel the dull unintermitted pain,
For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and
It is I let out in the morning and barr’d at night.
Not a mutineer walks handcuff’d to jail but I am handcuff’d
to him and walk by his side,
(I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one with
sweat on my twitching lips.)