Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers

Native moments - when you come upon me - ah you are here now,
Give me now libidinous joys only,
Give me the drench of my passions, give me life coarse and rank,
To-day I go consort with Nature's darlings, to-night too,
I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight orgies of young men,
I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers,
The echoes ring with our indecent calls, I pick out some low person for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate, he shall be one condemn'd by others for deeds done,
I will play a part no longer, why should I exile myself from my companions?
O you shunn'd persons, I at least do not shun you,
I come forthwith in your midst, I will be your poet,
I will be more to you than to any of the rest.

Walt Whitman, Native Moments from Leaves of Grass, 1855. Photo from The Paradise Garage (legendary 1980s New York gay club) sourced from The Bowery Boys: New York City History

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