Archive for September 29th, 2019

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Picking Whitman’s Pocket by Philip Dacey

                              “I had my pocket picked in a jam and hurry, changing cars, in Philadelphia.”

I have picked Walt Whitman’s pocket.
Oh, we have all picked his pocket,
put our hands deep into his fibrous dark
and left them there,
no ordinary pickpockets,
left them there so that he could not help but feel them,
though he did not mind,
rather enjoyed the intimacy,
appreciated the compliment
of our thievery.

We were not quick about it,
were slow, like lovers,
the extraction a process of years,
a tender thievery,
our fingers sticky indeed,
their tips so sensitive
they were like eyes reading the finest print.

And before long, he slipped his own hand
into the pocket where our hands burrowed,
his own wrapping around ours
to hold them there, lest we consider
removing and inserting them elsewhere,
so that he became accomplice in this theft of himself,
encouraging us to take what we found there,
for it is what he always wanted,
that his lovers empty him out,
that he be left with nothing,
the perfect baggage
for the open road.


Date: 2012

By: Philip Dacey (1939-2016)