Affidavit with Language from Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (Leaves of Grass, 1st ed., 1855)

By: Lukas Bacho

I stop some where waiting for you…. Yet you pretend I have gone!

I’ve scattered my ellipses like breadcrumbs in a public park.

It is 7:32 p.m.… I take refuge in your neck, my ear pressed close to your apple,

Back when I yearn to scrape you clean of seeds.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love.

A man once told me we wish to be filthy as much as we wish to be pure.

You remember what follows…. And I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also.

Behind the fountain a mouth shouts a word…. My brow at your temple…. Now I am praying.

No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.

A seed is planted and I am a toddler again;

My mother is explaining how men and women fit together;

My father is explaining women…. I hear or say or do nothing…. How could I answer the child?


You whisper away the mocking taunt…. We make haste for the trees.

We hear the word again, from another neighbor.

You are incensed by its sound, yet when I say It is you talking just as much as myself

I mean not you but the filthy mouths running circles about ours.

The whirling and whirling is elemental within me, I speak the epithet as ordination,

I marvel at the almost-man I have become despite my youth,

not through derived power but in his own right.

O stranger: I act as the tongue of you and give my repression a good name, a loving name.

I need not reprint it here…. It echoes even now in your phobic ears.

Now I am incontrovertible in the eyes of God!

With my tears I moisten the roots of all that has grown.


You grip me tight beneath the gingko trees…. What is less or more than a touch?

You tell me no one will ever treat me this good. (O devious promise! O imperfect coupling!)

I have said that the soul is not more than the body, the body that touched you and touched me,

The very grip that spent my fatherstuff. Indeed, my soul is filthy as my skin;

I suffered…. I love the strangers who cursed us…. I contradict myself.

If I recognize any truth it shall be the vindication of my body with or inside another;

Legs pulled unto yours, arms lifting me like a princess, it shall be you,

Violent embrace professing its love it shall be you,

Selves curled inside the mouth of my nocturnal captor, it shall be you.

No place in this land is immune to the word.


Shall I make my list of things in the house and skip the house that supports them?

I broke up with you…. I broke down with you…. I am afraid I will see you on the street.

If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles; I lack a key that will turn in the lock.

The boy I love has not touched me in months…. I find comfort in old dead men.

Have I lost my standing in the eyes of God? I myself follow the breadcrumbs….

My words are of a questioning, and to indicate reality. I bid the grass to help me remember—