Neil Gaiman goes up to the counter and orders the Salted Caramel Mocha. While waiting for his order, Gaiman begins a conversation with an elderly woman sitting by the window. She weaves for him a long story, filled with old fears and familiar monsters. The protagonist seems more and more…
The Brothers Grimm go up to the counter and order two hazelnut macchiatos. They sit in a corner and chat up every person who walks by their table, taking copious notes on their conversations. Their coffees are blacker than most people remember them.
George R.R. Martin goes up to the counter and orders a series of incredibly complicated drinks, each more detailed and layered than the last. The barista works for an hour and finally hands them across the counter to Martin, who promptly throws one of them away with little to no explanation. That coffee had been the barista’s favorite.
Daylight burns your sleepy eyes, and
it’s hard to see you dreaming.
You hide inside yourself, and I wonder what you’re thinking.
And everything you’re chasing, it seems to leave you empty.
And it won’t take long to burn through the nothing that you’ve learned and the things you choose to be.
You drown in deeper oceans, inventing new religions.
They smile and stab my back, and I lie and have to laugh…
It’s so hard to be someone, strung-out from today,
and all that you knew slips away…
And you hide in your room
And the light burns away
And you move from the truth—
it’s all so far from you.
This poem by Walt Whitman is one of the greatest poems of American Democracy, equality and self realization ever written. He is striking at the spirit of democracy as it is embodied in humanity. There is no shame in differences and the self in all variations inspires Love; black, white, brown, gay, straight, this religious belief or that, all made equal under the loving, tolerant and open spirit of democracy. Democracy as an ideal that Whitman knew was a work in progress for America, as it still is today, but we continue to march forward in the spirit with which he writes this poem. The best of our country moves this way, it is still alive and has moved more deeply toward Whitman’s America then when it was written. Happy Birthday to Whitman’s America! Happy birthday to the continued ideal of a more perfect living open democracy.
Song of Myself (1892 version)
1I celebrate myself, and sing myself,And what I assume you shall assume,For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.I loafe and invite my soul,I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,Hoping to cease not till death.Creeds and schools in abeyance,Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,Nature without check with original energy.2Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,I am mad for it to be in contact with me.The smoke of my own breath,Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine,My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs,The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind,A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
Not a day goes by that I don’t feel this burn.
There’s a point we pass form which we can’t return.
I felt the cold rain of the coming storm …
All because of you,
I haven’t slept in so long;
when I do, I dream of drowning in the ocean; longing for the shore where I can lay my head down.