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Poem of the Propositions of Nakedness.

30 — Poem of The Propositions of Nakedness.

RESPONDEZ! Respondez! Let every one answer! Let all who sleep be  
 waked! Let none evade—not you, any  
 more than others!
Let that which stood in front go behind! and let  
 that which was behind advance to the front  
 and speak!
Let murderers, thieves, tyrants, bigots, unclean  
 persons, offer new propositions!
Let the old propositions be postponed! Let faces and theories be turned inside out! Let  
 meanings be criminal as well as results!  
 (Say! can results be criminal, and meanings  
 not criminal?)
Let there be no suggestion besides the suggestion  
 of drudgery!
Let none be pointed toward his destination!  
 (Say! do you know your destination?)
Let trillions of men and women be mocked with  
 bodies and mocked with souls!
  [ begin page 317 ]ppp.00237.325.jpg Let the love that waits in them, wait! Let it die,  
 or pass still-born to other spheres!
Let the sympathy that waits in every man, wait!  
 or let it also pass, a dwarf, to other spheres!
Let contradictions prevail! Let one thing con- 
 tradict another! and let one line of my poem  
 contradict another!
Let the people sprawl with yearning aimless  
 hands! Let their tongues be broken! Let their  
 eyes be discouraged! Let none descend into  
 their hearts with the fresh lusciousness of  
Let the theory of America be management, caste,  
 comparison! (Say! what other theory would  
Let them that distrust birth and death lead the  
 rest! (Say! why shall they not lead you?)
Let the crust of hell be neared and trod on! Let  
 the days be darker than the nights! Let  
 slumber bring less slumber than waking-time  
Let the world never appear to him or her for  
 whom it was all made!
Let the heart of the young man exile itself from the  
 heart of the old man! and let the heart of the  
 old man be exiled from that of the young man!
Let the sun and moon go! Let scenery take the  
 applause of the audience! Let there be  
 apathy under the stars!
  [ begin page 318 ]ppp.00237.326.jpg Let freedom prove no man's inalienable right!  
 Every one who can tyrannize, let him tyran- 
 nize to his satisfaction!
Let none but infidels be countenanced! Let the eminence of meanness, treachery,  
 sarcasm, hate, greed, indecency, impotence,  
 lust, be taken for granted above all! Let  
 poems, judges, governments, households,  
 religions, philosophies, take such for granted  
 above all!
Let the worst men beget children out of the worst  
Let priests still play at immortality! Let death be inaugurated! Let nothing remain upon the earth except  
 teachers, artists, moralists, lawyers, and  
 learned and polite persons!
Let him who is without my poems be assas- 
Let the cow, the horse, the camel, the garden-bee  
 —Let the mud-fish, the lobster, the mussel,  
 eel, the sting-ray and the grunting pig- 
 fish—Let these, and the like of these, be  
 put on a perfect equality with man and  
Let churches accommodate serpents, vermin, and  
 the corpses of those who have died of the  
 most filthy of diseases!
  [ begin page 319 ]ppp.00237.327.jpg Let marriage slip down among fools, and be for  
 none but fools!
Let men among themselves talk obscenely of wo- 
 men! and let women among themselves talk  
 obscenely of men!
Let every man doubt every woman! and let every  
 woman trick every man!
Let us all, without missing one, be exposed in pub- 
 lic, naked, monthly, at the peril of our lives!  
 Let our bodies be freely handled and examined  
 by whoever chooses!
Let nothing but love-songs, pictures, statues, ele- 
 gant works, be permitted to exist upon the earth!
Let the earth desert God, nor let there ever hence- 
 forth be mentioned the name of God!
Let there be no God! Let there be money, business, railroads, imports,  
 exports, custom, authority, precedents, pallor,  
 dyspepsia, smut, ignorance, unbelief!
Let judges and criminals be transposed! Let the  
 prison-keepers be put in prison! Let those  
 that were prisoners take the keys! (Say!  
 why might they not just as well be trans- 
Let the slaves be masters! Let the masters  
 become slaves!
Let the reformers descend from the stands where  
 they are forever bawling! Let an idiot or  
 insane person appear on each of the stands!
  [ begin page 320 ]ppp.00237.328.jpg Let the Asiatic, the African, the European, the  
 American and the Australian, go armed against  
 the murderous stealthiness of each other! Let  
 them sleep armed! Let none believe in good- 
Let there be no living wisdom! Let such be  
 scorned and derided off from the earth!
Let a floating cloud in the sky—Let a wave of  
 the sea—Let one glimpse of your eye-sight  
 upon the landscape or grass—Let growing  
 mint, spinach, onions, tomatoes—Let these  
 be exhibited as shows at a great price for  
Let all the men of These States stand aside for a  
 few smouchers! Let the few seize on what  
 they choose! Let the rest gawk, giggle  
 starve, obey!
Let shadows be furnished with genitals! Let  
 substances be deprived of their genitals!
Let there be immense cities—but through any of  
 them, not a single poet, saviour, knower, lover!
Let the infidels of These States laugh all faith  
 away! If one man be found who has faith,  
 let the rest set upon him! Let them affright  
 faith! Let them destroy the power of breed- 
 ing faith!
Let the she-harlots and the he-harlots be prudent!  
 Let them dance on, while seeming lasts! (O  
 seeming! seeming! seeming!)
  [ begin page 321 ]ppp.00237.329.jpg Let the preachers recite creeds! Let the preach- 
 ers of creeds never dare to go meditate upon  
 the hills, alone, by day or by night! (If one  
 ever once dare, he is lost!)
Let insanity have charge of sanity! Let books take the place of trees, animals, rivers,  
Let the portraits of heroes supersede heroes! Let the manhood of man never take steps after  
 itself! Let it take steps after eunuchs, and  
 after consumptive and genteel persons!
Let the white person tread the black person under  
 his heel! (Say! which is trodden under  
 heel, after all?)
Let the reflections of the things of the world be  
 studied in mirrors! Let the things them- 
 selves continue unstudied!
Let a man seek pleasure everywhere except in  
 himself! Let a woman seek happiness  
 everywhere except in herself! (Say! what  
 real happiness have you had one single time  
 through your whole life?)
Let the limited years of life do nothing for the  
 limitless years of death! (Say! what do  
 you suppose death will do, then?)
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