By Walt Whitman
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your
feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops,
work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating,
drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you
be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better
O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted
nothing but you.
I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no
imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will
never consent to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better,
God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-
figure of all,
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its
nimbus of gold-color'd light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it
streams, effulgently flowing forever.
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon
yourself all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries,
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in
mockeries, what is their return?)
The mockeries are not you,
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk,
I pursue you where none else has pursued you,
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the
accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or
from yourself, they do not conceal you from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if
these balk others they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed,
premature death, all these I part aside.
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good
is in you,
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits
As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like
carefully to you,
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than
I sing the songs of the glory of you.
Whoever you are! claim your own at an hazard!
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are
immense and interminable as they,
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of
apparent dissolution, you are he or she who is master or
mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements,
pain, passion, dissolution.
The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest,
whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided,
nothing is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what
you are picks its way.
While there we decided that we really could not leave Vegas without playing at least a couple of slot machines, so I won -- wait for it -- $1.25, thus allowing us to break even. Lesley had lost about $100 the night before at the card tables so I was just as glad not to have gambled. We were still full from breakfast so instead of lunch we had Ben & Jerry's and wandered into a few of the shops in Treasure Island, where the kids bought pirate toys.
After one more ride down the strip, we headed toward L.A., stopping at the onetime ghost town of Calico which is now a restored tourist trap but at least didn't cost anything to visit. There's a good collection of artifacts and most of the buildings are original, though they now house shops selling contemporary Old West collectibles, candles, candy, etc. It was worth spending an hour visiting, but I'd advise anyone with more travel time to look up the locations of actual (non-renovated) ghost towns, which are surely much further off the highway than convenient Calico.
In case anyone is wondering why there aren't more reports on Native American sites in this trip account, it's for similar reasons of time and accessibility during our rush down I-40 and I-15. Even at reservation visitor centers and at the Grand Canyon, the museums and shops are geared for tourists, and you don't get much of a sense of contemporary Native American life beyond what can be gleaned from conversations with people working there; real Navajo culture can't be assimilated at a roadside stand filled with beadwork and pottery, though we did enjoy what we saw.
We made it to L.A. in the early evening (yes, we were singing "Ventura highway in the sunshine..." as we drove in, though we watched 'The Fellowship of the Ring' most of the way in the car). We went out for dinner at the mall in Northridge because we were too tired to look for anything more exciting. Driving to the Foleys' house felt like a sort of homecoming at this point, as this makes four times in three years we've stayed with them, in every season now -- first for family weddings and now to see the babies resulting from those weddings. Because we knew our friends had concert tickets for the evening, we drove around and did some sightseeing in the Valley near CSUN. The kids, who were completely fried from staying up much too late in Vegas, became insanely rambunctious, so after awhile we went back to the house to throw in laundry and get organized for the Fourth of July.
Star Trek: The Experience upstairs, Quark's Bar downstairs!
From the sublime to the ridiculous: the entrance to the Star Trek Experience (Quark's Bar downstairs, the extravaganza upstairs). A Trekkie fantasy in the middle of a city built entirely for entertainment, where parking is free, drinks are cheap and the swimming pools are incredible...