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Whitman Video Reading

With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea!

WITH husky-haughty lips, O sea!
Where day and night I wend thy surf-beat shore,
Imaging to my sense thy varied strange suggestions,
(I see and plainly list thy talk and conference here,)
Thy troops of white-maned racers racing to the goal,
Thy ample, smiling face, dash’d with the sparkling dimples of the
Thy brooding scowl and murk – thy unloos’d hurricanes,
Thy unsubduedness, caprices, wilfulness;
Great as thou art above the rest, thy many tears-a lack from all
eternity in thy content,
(Naught but the greatest struggles, wrongs, defeats, could make thee
greatest – no less could make thee,)
Thy lonely state – something thou ever seekist and seekist, yet never
Surely some right withheld-some voice, in huge monotonous rage, of
freedom-lover pent,
Some vast heart, like a planet’s, chain’d and chafing in those
By lengthen’d swell, and spasm, and panting breath,
And rhythmic rasping of thy sands and waves,
And serpent hiss, and savage peals of laughter,
And undertones of distant lion roar,
(Sounding, appealing to the sky’s deaf ear-but now, rapport for
A phantom in the night thy confidant for once,)
The first and last confession of the globe,
Outsurging, muttering from thy soul’s abysms,
The tale of cosmic elemental passion,
Thou tellest to a kindred soul.

Bob and Walt

Well I started this thing with Tom Waits but I think Ill finish it with Bob Dylan. Over the past two weeks I have had this poem on my mind. For some reason or another I feel that its appropriate to put here. I feel that this poem is something that Walt would have enjoyed had he had the chance to read it. It speaks to a lot of different topics like many of Walt’s poems and almost barrages the reader with its constant picking at this idea. It celebrates not only the self but a man who Bob admired for his ethos. Just like O, Captain! My Captain! celebrated Lincoln and his legend after death so does the poem Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie help to shine a light on the father of modern folk music. I hope that one of you out there read this and enjoy it as much as I have.

Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie

When yer head gets twisted and yer mind grows numb
When you think you’re too old, too young, too smart or too dumb
When yer laggin’ behind an’ losin’ yer pace
In a slow-motion crawl of life’s busy race
No matter what yer doing if you start givin’ up
If the wine don’t come to the top of yer cup
If the wind’s got you sideways with with one hand holdin’ on
And the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone
And yer train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it
And the wood’s easy findin’ but yer lazy to fetch it
And yer sidewalk starts curlin’ and the street gets too long
And you start walkin’ backwards though you know its wrong
And lonesome comes up as down goes the day
And tomorrow’s mornin’ seems so far away
And you feel the reins from yer pony are slippin’
And yer rope is a-slidin’ ’cause yer hands are a-drippin’
And yer sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys
Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys
And yer sky cries water and yer drain pipe’s a-pourin’
And the lightnin’s a-flashing and the thunder’s a-crashin’
And the windows are rattlin’ and breakin’ and the roof tops a-shakin’
And yer whole world’s a-slammin’ and bangin’
And yer minutes of sun turn to hours of storm
And to yourself you sometimes say
“I never knew it was gonna be this way
Why didn’t they tell me the day I was born”
And you start gettin’ chills and yer jumping from sweat
And you’re lookin’ for somethin’ you ain’t quite found yet
And yer knee-deep in the dark water with yer hands in the air
And the whole world’s a-watchin’ with a window peek stare
And yer good gal leaves and she’s long gone a-flying
And yer heart feels sick like fish when they’re fryin’
And yer jackhammer falls from yer hand to yer feet
And you need it badly but it lays on the street
And yer bell’s bangin’ loudly but you can’t hear its beat
And you think yer ears might a been hurt
Or yer eyes’ve turned filthy from the sight-blindin’ dirt
And you figured you failed in yesterdays rush
When you were faked out an’ fooled white facing a four flush
And all the time you were holdin’ three queens
And it’s makin you mad, it’s makin’ you mean
Like in the middle of Life magazine
Bouncin’ around a pinball machine
And there’s something on yer mind you wanna be saying
That somebody someplace oughta be hearin’
But it’s trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head
And it bothers you badly when your layin’ in bed
And no matter how you try you just can’t say it
And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it
And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head
And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead
And the lion’s mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth
And his jaws start closin with you underneath
And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind
And you wish you’d never taken that last detour sign
And you say to yourself just what am I doin’
On this road I’m walkin’, on this trail I’m turnin’
On this curve I’m hanging
On this pathway I’m strolling, in the space I’m taking
In this air I’m inhaling
Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard
Why am I walking, where am I running
What am I saying, what am I knowing
On this guitar I’m playing, on this banjo I’m frailin’
On this mandolin I’m strummin’, in the song I’m singin’
In the tune I’m hummin’, in the words I’m writin’
In the words that I’m thinkin’
In this ocean of hours I’m all the time drinkin’
Who am I helping, what am I breaking
What am I giving, what am I taking
But you try with your whole soul best
Never to think these thoughts and never to let
Them kind of thoughts gain ground
Or make yer heart pound
But then again you know why they’re around
Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down
“Cause sometimes you hear’em when the night times comes creeping
And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping
And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin’
And you can’t remember for the best of yer thinking
If that was you in the dream that was screaming
And you know that it’s something special you’re needin’
And you know that there’s no drug that’ll do for the healin’
And no liquor in the land to stop yer brain from bleeding
And you need something special
Yeah, you need something special all right
You need a fast flyin’ train on a tornado track
To shoot you someplace and shoot you back
You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler
That’s been banging and booming and blowing forever
That knows yer troubles a hundred times over
You need a Greyhound bus that don’t bar no race
That won’t laugh at yer looks
Your voice or your face
And by any number of bets in the book
Will be rollin’ long after the bubblegum craze
You need something to open up a new door
To show you something you seen before
But overlooked a hundred times or more
You need something to open your eyes
You need something to make it known
That it’s you and no one else that owns
That spot that yer standing, that space that you’re sitting
That the world ain’t got you beat
That it ain’t got you licked
It can’t get you crazy no matter how many
Times you might get kicked
You need something special all right
You need something special to give you hope
But hope’s just a word
That maybe you said or maybe you heard
On some windy corner ’round a wide-angled curve

But that’s what you need man, and you need it bad
And yer trouble is you know it too good
“Cause you look an’ you start getting the chills

“Cause you can’t find it on a dollar bill
And it ain’t on Macy’s window sill
And it ain’t on no rich kid’s road map
And it ain’t in no fat kid’s fraternity house
And it ain’t made in no Hollywood wheat germ
And it ain’t on that dimlit stage
With that half-wit comedian on it
Ranting and raving and taking yer money
And you thinks it’s funny
No you can’t find it in no night club or no yacht club
And it ain’t in the seats of a supper club
And sure as hell you’re bound to tell
That no matter how hard you rub
You just ain’t a-gonna find it on yer ticket stub
No, and it ain’t in the rumors people’re tellin’ you
And it ain’t in the pimple-lotion people are sellin’ you
And it ain’t in no cardboard-box house
Or down any movie star’s blouse
And you can’t find it on the golf course
And Uncle Remus can’t tell you and neither can Santa Claus
And it ain’t in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes
And it ain’t in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons
And it ain’t in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices
That come knockin’ and tappin’ in Christmas wrappin’
Sayin’ ain’t I pretty and ain’t I cute and look at my skin
Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow
Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry
When you can’t even sense if they got any insides
These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows
No you’ll not now or no other day
Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper mache¥
And inside it the people made of molasses
That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses
And it ain’t in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies
Who’d turn yuh in for a tenth of a penny
Who breathe and burp and bend and crack
And before you can count from one to ten
Do it all over again but this time behind yer back
My friend
The ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl
And play games with each other in their sand-box world
And you can’t find it either in the no-talent fools
That run around gallant
And make all rules for the ones that got talent
And it ain’t in the ones that ain’t got any talent but think they do
And think they’re foolin’ you
The ones who jump on the wagon
Just for a while ’cause they know it’s in style
To get their kicks, get out of it quick
And make all kinds of money and chicks
And you yell to yourself and you throw down yer hat
Sayin’, “Christ do I gotta be like that
Ain’t there no one here that knows where I’m at
Ain’t there no one here that knows how I feel
Good God Almighty

No but that ain’t yer game, it ain’t even yer race
You can’t hear yer name, you can’t see yer face
You gotta look some other place
And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin’
Where do you look for this lamp that’s a-burnin’
Where do you look for this oil well gushin’
Where do you look for this candle that’s glowin’
Where do you look for this hope that you know is there
And out there somewhere
And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads
Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows
Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways
You can touch and twist
And turn two kinds of doorknobs
You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
You’ll find God in the church of your choice
You’ll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it’s only my opinion
I may be right or wrong
You’ll find them both
In the Grand Canyon
At sundown

I Sing The Body Electric Cinepoem

Below is my final project. A cinepoem of Whitman’s I Sing the Body Electric. Hope everyone likes it! Let me know.

I Sing the Body Electric: A Cinepoem

Final Project- Music Is Always Around Me


Final Project: Mashup of Walt Whitman and the War

Whitman and the War

I choose to use Whitman’s I DREAM’D a Dream.  To me this poem represents 9-11.  Whitman’s presentation of this poem seems to me about love of a community , love of a world coming together.  I feel that this is what happened after 9-11.

Where Tara Found Whitman



Ok. So here’s my disclaimer:  I cheated. (technically)

This was supposed to be a video of me reading. I’m in the video, but only my feet can be seen. :) My excuse is two-fold. 1. Whitman told us (via his epitaph) to look for him under our bootsoles. I looked under my moccasins. 2. The old saying that some people come into our lives and leave footprints and we are never ever the same. I think my influence on my students is not my face – but the learning I (hopefully) inspire – about life more than English. Thus, when all is said and done, my footprints have far more impact than the rest of me – that will change, the influence will last forever.

I cheated one more time. This video was supposed to be in Camden. This video was filmed in my classroom at Timber Creek High School in Erial, NJ. My excuse, again, is two-fold. 1. Whitman didn’t stay in Camden either in his later life. He traveled to many places in NJ – one of which was Timber Creek (the actual creek…but still!). 2. This poem for me had to be in a classroom. When I think about “The Unexpress’d”, I think about my students and the potential they hold to change the world, be the next Whitman, and begin to express themselves – and expression that remains unexpress’d until they send it into the world.

Full text of the poem in Whitman’s own writing: (from whitmanarchive)

the unexpressd

Jennica’s Final Project (Dr. Singley’s class)

Final Paper presentation

Final Paper

Song of the Open Road Cinepoem

Click here to view the embedded video.

Where Michael Found Whitman – Cinepoem “The Wound-Dresser”

Finally posted!

So, I know it seems like I’m cheating, but I found Whitman in my kitchen. I was going to go to Camden and just pick a random spot, but that didn’t seem honest. I read all of our assignments at my kitchen table where I do my work. I’ve written before that there are times when it seems as though Whitman is talking through the page, and there were instances when it seemed as though he was sitting across the table from me letting out whatever words reached his tongue in that moment.

So anyway, I chose “The Wound-Dresser” because it reminds me of some of my patients.

The Wound-Dresser


AN old man bending I come among new faces,

Years looking backward resuming in answer to children,

Come tell us old man, as from young men and maidens that

love me,

(Arous’d and angry, I’d thought to beat the alarum, and

urge relentless war,

But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d and I

resign’d myself,

To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch

the dead;)

Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions, these


Of unsurpass’d heroes, (was one side so brave? the other

was equally brave;)

Now be witness again, paint the mightiest armies of earth,

Of those armies so rapid so wondrous what saw you to tell us?

What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics,

Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what

deepest remains?


O maidens and young men I love and that love me,

What you ask of my days those the strangest and sudden

your talking recalls,

Soldier alert I arrive after a long march cover’d with sweat

and dust,

In the nick of time I come, plunge in the fight, loudly

shout in the rush of successful charge,

Enter the captur’d works–yet lo, like a swift-running river

they fade,

Pass and are gone they fade–I dwell not on soldiers’ perils

or soldier’s joys,

(Both I remember well–many the hardships, few the joys,

yet I was content.)

But in silence, in dreams’ projections,

While the world of gain and appearance and mirth goes on,

So soon what is over forgotten, and waves wash the imprints

off the sand,

With hinged knees returning I enter the doors, (while for

you up there,

Whoever you are, follow without noise and be of strong


Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,

Straight and swift to my wounded I go,

Where they lie on the ground after the battle brought in,

Where their priceless blood reddens the grass the ground,

Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d


To the long rows of cots up and down each side I return,

To each and all one after another I draw near, not one do

I miss,

An attendant follows holding a tray, he carries a refuse pail,

Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, empties, and

fill’d again.

I onward go, I stop,

With hinged knees and steady hand to dress wounds,

I am firm with each, the pangs are sharp yet unavoidable,

One turns to me his appealing eyes–poor boy! I never

knew you,

Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if

that would save you.


On, on I go, (open doors of time! open hospital doors!)

The crush’d head I dress, (poor crazed hand tear not the

bandage away,)

The neck of the cavalry-man with the bullet through and

through I examine,

Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet

life struggles hard,

(Come sweet death! be persuaded O beautiful death!

In mercy come quickly.)

From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,

I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the

matter and blood,

Back on his pillow the soldier bends with curv’d neck and

side-falling head,

His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on

the bloody stump,

And has not yet look’d on it.

I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep,

But a day or two more, for see the frame all wasted and


And the yellow-blue countenance see.

I dress the perforated shoulder, the foot with the bullet-


Cleanse the one with a gnowing and putrid gangrene, so

sickening, so offensive,

While the attendant stands behind aside me holding the tray

and pail.

I am faithful, I do not give out,

The fractur’d thigh, the knee, the wound in the abdomen,

These and more I dress with impassive hand, (yet deep in

my breast a fire, a burning flame.)


Thus in silence in dreams’ projections,

Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals,

The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,

I sit by the restless all the dark night, some are so young,

Some suffer so much, I recall the experience sweet and sad,

(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d

and rested,

Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)

jens 2009-12-13 16:49:11

We had the opportunity to visit Walt Whitman’s first house that he owned.  He did not own his first home until much later in life and this was the home that he passed away in.  I had no idea what I was in for when we went to see his house.  I thought it would be run down and in distress from being so old.  I also thought of regular museums where things might be in glass containers.  I was thinking that we would walk in the halls of the house and peek our heads into the rooms that Whitman lived in.

I was in shock when I could actually stand next to the rocking chair that he sat in.  We were actually allowed in the rooms of the house.  How rare????  I along with my classmates were probably amazed that we were actually standing in the rooms right next to Walt Whitmans articles that he used.  We stood right next to his bed, his kitchen table and stove among so many other of his belongings.  It was wonderful, of course we could not touch the items but it was great to be able to stand in the same places and Whitman himself.

The last of the tour was the backyard.  It, to me, looks like it did when Whitman lived there.  I think it was great that we were given this opportunity to see Whitman’s house as it was when he was alive and lived there.