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28 — Bunch Poem.

THE friend I am happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my
shoulder,
The hill-side whitened with blossoms of the
mountain ash,
The same, late in autumn—the gorgeous hues of
red, yellow, drab, purple, and light and dark
green,
The rich coverlid of the grass—animals and
birds—the private untrimmed bank—the
primitive apples—the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments—the negligent list
of one after another, as I happen to call them
to me, or think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely
pictures,)
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of
men like me,
This poem, drooping shy and unseen, that I al-
ways carry, and that all men carry,
(Know, once for all, avowed on purpose, wherever
are men like me, are our lusty, lurking, mas-
culine poems,)


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Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding,
love-climbers, and the climbing sap,
Arms and hands of love—lips of love—phallic
thumb of love—breasts of love—bellies,
pressed and glued together with love,
Earth of chaste love—life that is only life after
love,
The body of my love—the body of the woman I
love—the body of the man—the body of the
earth,
Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west,
The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up
and down—that gripes the full-grown lady-
flower, curves upon her with amorous firm
legs, takes his will of her, and holds himself
tremulous and tight upon her till he is satis-
fied,
The wet of woods through the early hours,
Two sleepers at night lying close together as they
sleep, one with an arm slanting down across
and below the waist of the other,
The smell of apples, aromas from crushed sage-
plant, mint, birch-bark,
The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he
confides to me what he was dreaming,
The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl, and falling
still and content to the ground,
The no-formed stings that sights, people, objects,
sting me with,


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The hubbed sting of myself, stinging me as much
as it ever can any one,
The sensitive, orbic, underlapped brothers, that
only privileged feelers may be intimate where
they are,
The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over
the body—the bashful withdrawing of flesh
where the fingers soothingly pause and edge
themselves,
The limpid liquid within the young man,
The vexed corrosion, so pensive and so painful,
The torment—the irritable tide that will not be
at rest,
The like of the same I feel—the like of the same
in others,
The young woman that flushes and flushes, and
the young man that flushes and flushes,
The young man that wakes, deep at night, the hot
hand seeking to repress what would master
him—the strange half-welcome pangs, vis-
ions, sweats—the pulse pounding through
palms and trembling encirling fingers—the
young man all colored, red, ashamed, angry;
The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie
willing and naked,
The merriment of the twin-babes that crawl over
the grass in the sun, the mother never turn-
ing her vigilant eyes from them,


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The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripen-
ing or ripened long-round walnuts,
The continence of vegetables, birds, animals,
The consequent meanness of me should I skulk
or find myself indecent, while birds and
animals never once skulk or find themselves
indecent,
The great chastity of paternity, to match the great
chastity of maternity,
The oath of procreation I have sworn,
The greed that eats in me day and night with
hungry gnaw, till I saturate what shall pro-
duce boys to fill my place when I am through,
The wholesome relief, repose, content,
And this bunch plucked at random from myself,
It has done its work—I toss it carelessly to fall
where it may.

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